#WednesdayWisdom and Amazing Cartography – Awesome Retro-Style US Resources Map

Here’s a little #WednesdayWisdom and a fine cartography lesson – enter the retro-style US natural resources map. Spend a little time wandering around this web map and you’ll soon see why it took the creators over 100 hours to build. The webmap from Esri displays generalized land use data forming a brightly colored backdrop for point symbols representing mineral and energy sources. It truly is an awesome example!

Awesome Retro-Style US Resources Map

We discovered this gem in the Esri “Maps We Love” resource collection where Esri map makers and GeoGeeks share the most amazing maps they’ve discovered from user and from ArcGIS Online. If you need some cartography tips and inspiration for your next webmap, web app or web service, spend some time looking around here.

About the retro natural resources map:

The shapes that form the background come from the USDA CropScape database, but look hand-drawn. The massive USGS Mineral Resources data is filtered to show a reasonable amount of points that are nicely distributed using Esri’s cartographic representation. Esri shared some of the steps involved in creating this beauty:

  • Reclassify the USDA CropScape raster layer using the categories in the legend. Resample to 15 km cells using majority rule. Convert the layer to polygons. Smooth the output using the Smooth Polygon tool.
  • Group USGS Mineral Resources data into high-level categories such as “precious metals” or “gemstones.” Use a definition query to filter map features and reduce density.
  • Utilize cartographic representations in ArcMap to develop vector symbols in the symbol editor. Use the Disperse Markers tool to distribute the symbols and reduce crowding.
  • The analysis on this map is all about filtering and generalizing the detailed data to a level that works for the small-scale map display. Limit the USGS minerals data to high-level categories to keep the map clear and reduce the number of symbols necessary.
  • Note: Making the smoothed land use polygons was a long, manual process.

View the Map HERE: The US, her natural & industrial resources

View the “Live” map HERE

A reminder; for a handy way to organize, save and share your favorite maps from ArcGIS Online be sure to give our Mapfolio for ArcGIS Online a try. the app is available for free in the ArcGIS Marketplace




GEOspatial Evangelist & CMO

Geographer, GIS professional, writer, and fan of all things mobile.

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