GEOG 486
Cartography and Visualization

Lesson Project Tasks


Lesson 4 Project Maps

  1. Create a map layout with a series of four maps (all on the one layout) comparing the four classification methods we covered: equal interval, quantile, natural breaks and standard deviation, using the same data (i.e. for the same year) in each map. Design the layout and data frames to best illustrate to the map reader how different classifications can dramatically alter the appearance of the same data.
  2. Create a 2nd map layout with a series of four maps (all on the second layout) comparing four different years of burglary rate data. Design the map to best illustrate change (or lack thereof) in burglaries across the four years you use. I recommend using the same classes (i.e. same numerical class breaks) in each map to aid in comparisons for the map reader. For example see Unemployment map at this link. It uses the same classes (even the same legend) for all the years/data frames of data even though the range and distribution of the data across that range changes year to year.

Both map layouts should:

  • include legends and headings as appropriate
  • include a title (describing purpose), scale bar and north arrow as you see appropriate
  • include color schemes that aid in the communication of the purpose of the map
  • be on 8.5" x 11" pages (oriented as either landscapes or portraits)


  • You do not need to include the street and stream data. Those layers are included for reference and to demonstrate the bits of the lesson that have to do with the coordinate system of the layout and layer files. If you want to include them you can, but make sure they don't interfere with the reading of the map (e.g. local roads looking like census tract divisions).
  • Maps using the standard deviation classification method are labeled with standard deviation groupings by default. You can change or append the labels to the actual break points of the data values to fit with the other classification methods (for the legend). This is done in the symbology tab.

Export Instructions

When your layouts are complete, export the following two versions of each layout:

  1. Export both as a PNG (this will be submitted to the Map Gallery and used for sharing your work with your classmates)
    • File > Export Map...
    • Navigate to the appropriate lesson folder.
    • Name it "LASTname_FIRSTinitial_L4_Map1" and "LASTname_FIRSTinitial_L4_Map2" (using your name).
    • Save as type: PNG.
    • In the expanded Options menu, on the General tab, set the Resolution to 100 dpi (Recall 72 dpi is suggested for online images, but 100 dpi will make the images a bit larger when viewed at full size. This will be useful for viewing each other's work.)
    • On the Format tab, make sure the Color Mode is set to 24-bit True Color.
    • Click the Save button.
  2. Export your layouts as PDFs (this will be submitted to Canvas and used for feedback and grading)
    • File > Export Map...
    • Navigate to the appropriate lesson folder.
    • Name it, like above, "LASTname_FIRSTinitial_L4_Map1" and "LASTname_FIRSTinitial_L4_Map2"(using your name).
    • Save as type: PDF.
    • In the expanded Options menu, on the General tab, set the Resolution to 300 dpi (Recall 300 is most commonly used for print.  I will be commenting on the images onscreen, but the increased resolution will allow me to zoom in more, and allow you to print your map, if interested.)
    • On the Format tab, place a checkmark in the boxes to "Convert Marker Symbols to Polygons" and to "Embed All Document Fonts."
    • Click the Save button.

Submission Instructions

Note: I will only publish your maps for each other to see after all students have turned in work, and possibly after you receive feedback. If you do not want me to publish your map, please let me know, but also remember that we are all here to learn and improve no matter where we are or what skills we have learned. Sharing work will help you learn about your own work, provide opportunity for further feedback, provide exposure to work of others, and provide opportunity to give feedback to others. Thank you for participating!

Submit your work via the Create Submission link at right (must be logged in to see link). You will have to create two different submissions: One for the first layout, and a second one for the second layout.

Repeat the above bullets for the second map layout, showing burglaries over time.

  1. Select Lesson 4 Map 1 for Assignment Type.
  2. Enter name for Author.
  3. Enter title of map.
  4. Under Map Image File, browse for the PNG file version of your Lesson 4 classification map. Click Upload.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Submit the PDF of your map to Canvas  > Modules > Lesson 4 > Lesson 4 Assignment

Reminder - Complete all of the Lesson 4 tasks!

You have reached the end of Lesson 4! Double-check the to-do list on the Lesson 4 Overview page to make sure you have completed all of the tasks listed there before you begin Lesson 5.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them to the Lesson 4 Discussion Forum.