Super noob: Best GIS solution(s) for this goal

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10-05-2022 05:13 PM
a_gunslinger
New Contributor II

VERY new to GIS.  Started with ArcGIS.  Now using QGIS and experimenting with Google maps as well.  Here is my task.  We have an alumni map that was created long ago in Adobe Illustrator that shows all the alumni that have graduated from ou program over last 20 yrs and where they are now.  In Illustrator it was bascially adding a new marker to the appropriate location on a vector map.  

This map gets printed as a 5x8' poster annually showing our gradtuates in continental US.  Im looking to automate this using a spreadsheet with the alumni first job coordinates placed on a US map.  Works pretty well in QGIS.  So the autmoation on geo location done. But getting it to our print format/styl/design is problematic.  However, our end goals are:

  1.  Only show US locations, so single map of US.
  2.  Being able to export is as a high resolution graphic for a printer
  3.  Customize the look.

Struggling with them all, but slowly getting the hang of styls and cosmetics.

So my gestalt questions are:

  1.  Am I using the wrong tool for the job (ie using complex javasript programmming when all I need is a caluclator)
  2.  Better ways or tools to accomplish this?

Interesting slant: in trying to larn and accomplish this Im interested enough to learn more if I can.  I wouldnt mind using a tool that is a complex tool requiring much learning.  Unfortunately, my timeline will not allow that easily.   So if I can save time learnign about other/better tools to use, and to weed out tools and approaches that wont work - that would really help.

Any and all input welcome.  Appreciate the patience.

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6 Replies
Katherine_Clark
MVP Regular Contributor

Admittedly I don't know anything about QGIS, but it sounds like you could just have a map and layout in ArcGIS or ArcMap, and the put the points feature layer or shapefile in that map. Since you've already figured out how to update that point layer, the rest shouldn't really need any additional work after you create the layout template.

Simply researching "ArcGIS layouts" should get you in the right direction, I hope....

a_gunslinger
New Contributor II

Thanks for the reply!  That info is encouraging.  Is there a good place to find lots of templates for say "just US" that can be downloaded?  See a lot of templates for complex scenerios, but wasnt sure if there was soemwhere like an Envateo Themforest for maps.  Thanks again.

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Katherine_Clark
MVP Regular Contributor

You can simply add a basemap and set the extent to show to United States.

If you're able to share an example of what you need the final product to look like, I can maybe suggest additional resources to help. 

Katherine_Clark
MVP Regular Contributor

Also, will you be using ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro to make these maps?

a_gunslinger
New Contributor II

Im exploring all otpions.  All the GIS apps have a steep (but interesting) learning curve.  I considered other options like Google Maps, Mapbox, etc.  

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SaraJLD
Occasional Contributor

If I was going to do this scenario and use the quickest way to setup in ArcGIS Pro, I would probably:

  • Add a shapefile of the United States > Set it to have a clear/transparent fill with a black order. This way, you can see the outlines of the region, but the map should automatically zoom to the area
  • Upload the table as a CSV to ArcGIS Pro > right-click on the table in the Content pane > choose Display XY data --> This will automatically render your points on the map
    • After this, I would right-click on the layer > Export Data > save it as a new/separate layer. Displaying the XY data is kind of a "temporary" layer. So it may go away after leaving the project. Exporting it will save the information
  • Style the map as needed!
  • Export the Map as a PDF or PNG > ArcGIS Pro has a way to adjust the resolution to make higher/lower depending on if you need more details, or if you need a lower resolution to save storage.

That's the way I would probably recommend to do it in ArcGIS Pro!

Google Maps (Google My Maps) is also a good option if your organization uses Google accounts - you can still render the data by XY coordinates. There isn't as much available for design customization, but the nice part is that it is WAY easier to pass ownership around. So if someone else wants to continue the project, you can give them ownership rights. 

I hope that helps!

 

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