GIS Cookbook: Background - Background Information about Presentations and Finishing 
Keywords: Presentation, Cartographic design, finishing, details professional, layout
Category: Datums
Software: ArcView 3.2

Background: A map can be defined as a graphic depiction of all or part of a geographic realm in which the real world features have been replaced by symbols. (Clarke, 2001)

Once you have created, analyzed, and altered the content of your map to your satisfaction. It is time to make a layout which will put your map into context and explain its content and significance to the map reader. It is important that the map layout be a self contained unit, it should be self explanatory even when it is being used to supplement another document. Therefore your main map image needs to be supplemented by certain cartographic elements to make the map self sufficient. The main cartographic elements are; the title, neatline, scale bar, legend, inset map, and north arrow.

The Cartographic Elements (Clarke, 2001)


It is important to include all the Cartographic elements to make your map presentation complete. Adding all the Cartographic elements will give the map reader all the information he or she needs to understand the map and its context. This will complete your map presentation. After this you will be ready to print and present your map.

NOTE: (There are many nuances and specifics to map presentations, who your target audience is, what your goal is etc… There is a plethora of literature on map presentation and the best way to go about it. These recipes are just a simple, get it done quick, guide to presenting your map. We suggest you do some outside reading if you want to maximize the effectiveness of your map presentation. Hope this helps)

If this is your first time using the presentation features of your mapping software, we highly recommend that you read chapter 7 of Getting Started with Geographic Information Systems, by Keith Clarke (Prentice Hall, 2001). Also see: Making Maps with GIS and Professor Keith Clarke's Home Page

Pros: The presentation packages provided in ArcView 3.2 are useful tools for the presentation of your spatially referenced information to a larger audience. You can provide all the information needed to make your map presentation a useful tool. Large presentation size maps posters can be developed incorporating everything from tables to charts, graphics maps and images. Furthermore the presentation of your information in a spatial context will add credibility to your research by putting within real world scale and context. Adding of the different cartographic elements make the map entirely accessible to the map reader.

Cons: The presentation part of this package is very comprehensive. However this creates a problem. It is very difficult to come up with an error free presentation. There is always room for improvement. It is easy to have too much, or too little information. It is also easy to have a ineffective presentation due to cartographic inconsistencies. Eg. Having attention drawn to the wrong elements, having something’s too big and others to small, or too light or too dark etc.. . The only solution to this problem is trial and error. So keep at it and you will come up with a great presentation.

Authored by: Benjamin N. Sprague Modified: 11/17/03


Copyright © 2002-2014 by Regents of University of California, Santa Barbara
Cookbook: Ben Sprague, Ethan Sundilson, Carlin Wong, Sam Ying