Map Design Fundamentals

This course is one of the ESRI Online training that we were required to complete for this course.


Maps are very important tools in communicating many different things in all disciplines. There are several mapmaking fundamentals that are important to make sure that these maps are legible. This includes using the correct symbology, colors, and proper labels. The map needs to have proper visual weighting of elements that are delivered, including contrast, and focus. With the basic fundamental knowledge, a professional map can be created, allowing clear communication with anyone that wants to read the map.

Analysis Procedures

To show mapping fundamentals, an example site of potential petroleum valve sites in Texas. This map shows environmentally sensitive areas and the bald eagles nests that need to be avoided. These symbols need to be easy to read. These symbols were changed in color and size to make the map easier to understand. Transparency can be used to make data present, but not overwhelming. Labels can be added either in or outside of a feature with several different formats, like halos, that make them easy to read.


Figure 2: Potential Valve Development Locations Juxtaposed with Eagles Nest Locations

Figure 2: Potential Valve Development Locations Juxtaposed with Eagles Nest Locations

Application and Reflection:

This lesson is very basic, but a critically important reminder how people look at and percieve colors. If a map is too busy, people are unable to read it clearly, and can result in errors in scientific analysis. I do a lot of science communication work. It is of the utmost importance to make sure that maps aren’t complicated, and show one or two major themes. A good map can say much more than words.

Certificate of Completion

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