Making Great Maps with ArcGIS: Large Scale Map Design

Large Scale: city scale, district scale, etc.

Ok I’m trying another Cartography session, hoping this may give tips on data organization.


Map Use

  • urban areas – immense amount of data,
  • map analysis – level of detail is a challenge while still making map readable
  • base map – context
  • special purpose maps (trails and transit)


  • multiple sources – skewed or missing data – most likely have to add in attributes
  • “best” data

Map Design

  • features
  • labels
  • more space
  • more realism – balance the level of abstraction with the level of realism
  • more precision

Examples: World topographic map

– proceed to show us how to get various cartographic effects in ArcInfo

Thoughts: I am not a Cartographer, nor am I interested in becoming one…but I would like to see one on our team as I think it’s a gap we have right now.  The examples shown are very clean and beautiful, I can appreciate the work that goes into the design but I’ll probably be staying away from the Cartography sessions for the rest of the conf. as it gets pretty detail-oriented, something I don’t need.

Meeting with ESRI Product Engineers concerning Section 508, CLF, and Accessibility

So I had a bit of a “meeting” with various esri developers and Ihab, our esri canada developer to talk about the problems and solutions concerning accessibility within our group and the federal gov’t in general.

My general impression was that it wasn’t really on their radar.  Well actually it’s more of an impression, that’s pretty much what they said to me 🙂  I explained how currently we have developed our accessible template using the .NET ADF and that we are developing Flex applications now but we are still serving up the .NET template as the accessible option.  They said in all honesty they are concentrating on the new technology platforms – Flex and Silverlight and not much more development will be done on the ADF.  Also they said about 3 years ago they heard alot about accessibility from both the US and Canadian gov’t agencies, but since then it has been pretty quiet.

This would pretty much match what is going on at EC, wasn’t it 3 years ago that everyone got nervous about web-mapping accessibility and realized that there weren’t any standards to address it?  Which is basically one of the reasons I ended up here, we needed a solution.  Accessibility isn’t going away, and we are finally close to a formalized set of best practices and guidelines for web-mapping application that can brought to Treasury Board.  So after explaining what some of those best practices will most likely be and how they will affect a Flex app or a JavaScript app etc. I will follow up with the contacts I made concerning how exactly we plan to make our web-mapping applications accessible and what I think esri could do to help.  It’s not their fault that accessibility is not on their radar, it is up to us as clients to let them know what we need, and admittedly we haven’t known what was needed up to this point.  I think the excitement over Google, Bing, mashups web 2.0 etc etc etc has led to an accessiibility oversight…but I am here to correct that!

They were actually pretty surprised at some of the measures we would have to take to ensure an accessible site, and I got alot of the same comments and questions I get all the time about how accessibility has to catch up to the current technology in order to be viable or how accessibility isn’t possible in general, if you know me, then I’m sure I’ve talked (complained?) about these viewpoints with you already.  Then you also already know that this is where I go into my lecture on Progressive Enhancement…of which I will spare you right now 🙂

Anyways, Ihab was a big help, and the contacts have been made.  I will follow up when I get back to the office.

The United Nations: Climate Change and the Environment

Panel Discussion

This discussion went off topic a bit from GIS-related questions, and onto a heated discussion of the use of carbon credits in Kenya but it remained interesting nonetheless.  Climate Change has not really been on our groups list of priorities since a certain gov’t came into power a couple years ago (am i allowed to say that? uhoh.) but the panel of experts were able to discuss what the UN is doing worldwide with GIS in order to showcase both the problems and solutions of Climate Change.

Right now I’m just going to provide you with links, as I haven’t eaten in the last 10 hrs…and the screen is getting blurry.

Global Adaptation Atlas

UNDP – Adaptation learning mechanism

WMO climate service – targeted towards agriculture and meteorology

Challenges for collaboration – who has the access to information NGO’s private public

Hadley Center – develop models for IPCC, now doing training courses in Africa, forecasting and prediction

The Greenbelt Movement

Shortrun prediction? 5yrs instead of 10-20-30 and on a national level

How can GIS help change the situation?

  • This is a political crisis
  • alerting people to impact in a personal way through visualization using GIS