GEOG 486
Cartography and Visualization

Lesson 5 Lab


Lesson 5 Lab

Flow Mapping with Customized Projections

In Lesson 5, we discussed map projections and projection characteristics. We also discussed how to choose a map projection based on your map's intended location, scale, and purpose. It can be challenging, however, to really understand how the choice of a projection alters your map without trying it out for yourself. In Lab 5, we will be creating three map layouts that visualize flight data as flowlines. This ties together both of the topics in Lesson 5 (flow mapping, projections), and provides a practical demonstration of the influence of map projections in small-scale thematic mapping.

For good measure, we will design each of these map layouts as advertisements: encouraging creative design and adding emphasis to the importance of map purpose and audience in choosing projections for maps. Recall from this week's required reading, Mark Monmonier's discussion of Maps that Advertise. Your challenge this week is to create map layouts that are both scientifically-appropriate and engaging to your intended customers - the readers of your maps.

Lab Objectives

  • Create three advertisements for London Heathrow Airport (LHR) using flight origin-destination data.
  • Select and customize map projections based on each map’s purpose and overall design.
  • Use appropriate visual variables to symbolize background data and flowlines.
  • Create well-designed layouts with appropriate legends and text elements.

Overall Lab Requirements

For Lab 5, you will use the provided data to create three different map layouts, each of which is an advertisement for LHR airport.

  • For each map, you should choose and customize an appropriate map projection.
    • Each layout must use a different projection. For layout #2, which contains four maps, you may use the same projection for all maps.
  • Include a written reflection (250+ words); use the following questions to guide your writing:
    • For each map layout, which projection did you choose, how did you customize it, and why?
    • Include a screenshot of the projection customization window (Visual Guide Figure 5.18) for each map layout (3 screenshots in total).

Map Requirements

Layout One: Highlight the distance a flight from Heathrow can take you
  • Create a map that highlights distance – how far a customer can go via Heathrow’s non-stop flights.
  • Classify and visualize flight paths based on their length (e.g., short haul vs. long haul). Use sensible units and at least three classes.
Layout Two: Highlight that Heathrow can fit anyone’s schedule
  • Use the flight path data that has been pre-segmented into time blocks: Morning (7am-noon), Afternoon (noon-5pm), Evening (5pm-10pm), and Night (10pm-7am).
  • Design with category and hierarchy; visualize daily counts of flights during each time block.
  • Combine these four maps (one per time block) into one balanced layout with an appropriate legend.
Layout Three: Highlight that Heathrow flies to desirable locations
  • Create a world map that shows all flight paths to and from London Heathrow (LHR). Symbolize as appropriate.
  • Add and symbolize tourism data (included as its own layer) to demonstrate that flights from LHR take customers to popular tourist destinations.
    • Instead of using the tourism data, you may symbolize a relevant field from the Natural Earth (boundary file) data on your map.

Lab Instructions

  1. Download the Lab 5 zipped file (485 KB). It contains:
    • A project (.aprx) file to be opened in ArcGIS Pro.
      • This file contains boundary, flight, and tourist data – the focus here is on design; you will not need to upload any new data of your own.
      • Flight data coordinates use the datum WGS 1984.
    • Data Sources:
      • Arrival/Departure flight data source:
      • Boundary data source: Natural Earth
      • Tourism Data: UNWTO (World Tourism Organization)
  2. Extract the zipped folder, and double-click the blue (.aprx) file to open ArcGIS Pro.
    • You should see the starting file, with all data included. See the Lab 5 Visual Guide for additional guidance.

Grading Criteria

A rubric is posted for your review.

Submission Instructions

  • You will have three map layout PDFs to submit. Please use the naming conventions outlined below—each should be in 8.5 x 11-inch (Portrait or Landscape) design.
    • LastName_Lab5_Layout1.pdf
    • LastName_Lab5_Layout2.pdf
    • LastName_Lab5_Layout3.pdf
  • Include your write-up/reflection as a separate PDF.
    • Lab Write-up: LastName_Lab5_WriteUp.pdf
      • Remember that this document should include screenshots of the projection customization window for each projection used.
  • Submit the three map layout PDFs and one write-up (also PDF) to Lesson 5 Lab.

Ready to Begin?

Further instructions are available in the Lesson 5 Lab Visual Guide.