I gave the latter presentation again in October 2017 at the annual NACIS (North American Cartographic Information Society) conference in Montreal.
The Journey from Raster to Vector Basemaps with ArcGIS
Esri customers are watching companies like Mapbox dazzle the cartographic world with vector tile mapping and wondering when the benefits of vector tiles will be within reach. Now they are! In late 2016, Esri removed the “beta” label from their vector tiles, and vector tiles can now be authored by anyone with ArcGIS Pro and published to ArcGIS Online. Vector tiles offer enormous promise: high-resolution graphics, client-side rendering, significantly smaller storage and bandwidth needs, and the ability to apply multiple styles to a single tileset. With all these benefits, what do you need to know before taking steps to leave your raster basemaps behind? I recently developed a vector tile basemap for the City of Seattle, and I’ll share what I learned, good and bad. Topics include: paradigm shifts in basemap organization; technical details; best practices; workflow; advice on working efficiently; and lots of tips, tricks, bugs, and stumbling blocks.
I’m raising money for vital non-profits by selling beautiful and striking map art decals for your phone. I created six designs, each inspired by a different cause that’s under attack right now. All proceeds from each design will go to a non-profit working for that cause. I’m supporting:
I selected non-profit organizations that are fighting on a national level, to have the greatest effect. All of them have a rating higher than 90/100 on Charity Navigator, indicating low overhead, good financial management, and transparency (except Black Lives Matter, which doesn’t make enough income to be rated).
This fall, I attended my second NACIS (North American Cartographic Information Society) conference, which has become a highlight of my year. One talk I found particularly inspiring was John Nelson‘s presentation on Firefly Cartography. I could explain what that means, but an image makes it pretty clear.
I was excited to make my own firefly map. At the same time, I was knee-deep in roads data for my employer, the City of Seattle, and had been wondering about the public staircases I noticed there. So I seized on that theme, and created this map in a few hours, using only ArcMap.
As John noted, glowing things have a white center surrounded by opaque color, then increasingly transparent color. I didn’t take the time to make perfect gradient icons in Illustrator; instead I just repeated the layer several times in ArcMap. The staircases are classified by length, so longer stairs are greener and brighter.
After I finished I was pleased with the look, but I wanted to take it a step further and make it really glow, not just look like it was glowing. So, I had it printed on glass!
It’s easier than you might think – you can order glass prints from Shutterfly (promo codes are usually available for a discount off the list price). Now my map truly glows.
I created this map for the Finance and Administrative Services department, who wanted to make the case for limiting horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs on certain streets during a busy construction month.
Seattle Public Utilities invests in many projects to protect and improve the environment, and they showcase key projects on their website. I created a series of small static maps to show the location of each current project, and also developed a standard color palette and style guide for creating these maps.
I created a series of 74 static maps for the Washington Poison Center to help them communicate the scope of their work to legislators, hospitals, and other stakeholders. I also created a near-real-time dashboard for their call center to help highlight unusual trends.
In 2016, NACIS members collaborated in a project called MapLift, to give a boost to the FixWikiMaps project (which adds maps to Wikipedia pages that have poor or no maps). My contribution was for the Essoeira Province page.
I took a Skillshare course called Map Making: Learn to Communicate Places Beautifully. This is my favorite project from the course, which uses a map style to communicate my deep connection with my car, and how it felt like a history-rich island of solace. (Unfortunately, I no longer have the car.)