Add and symbolize bombing missions

Before beginning any mapping project, it's important to consider your map's purpose and medium. What kind of information are you mapping? Who is your intended audience? Will you include ancillary content, such as charts or captions, to provide context? Will the map be updated with new information as time goes on? The answers to these questions will inform the cartographic practices and visual language you use.

First, you'll start creating a map that shows bombing missions during the Vietnam War. While your map might be of interest to history enthusiasts or people who experienced the war firsthand, your primary audience is people who aren't experts and will need some context and explanation for what they're seeing. Because the data is historical, it's not likely to be updated in the future, so you won't need to worry about updating the map after you finish.

Create a project and change the coordinate system

Your first step is to download your data. The original bombing missions dataset is in the form of a comma-separated values (CSV) file with latitude and longitude information for more than 1 million missions flown. Once you've downloaded the data, you'll begin a new project in ArcGIS Pro. This project will eventually contain all the data for your Vietnam War bombing missions map. In the project, you'll create a blank map and change its coordinate system to one that's focused on your area of interest (Southeast Asia).

  1. Download the Missions CSV file to your Desktop or Documents folder. (The file contains more than a million missions, so it may take a few minutes to download.)
  2. Open the CSV file using a program that can read tables, such as Microsoft Excel or a plain text editor.

    Each row of the CSV file represents a mission that was flown. The file's columns contain information about each mission, such as the military that flew the mission, the latitude and longitude of the mission, and the date of the mission. (If you opened the file in Microsoft Excel or a similar program, you may need to expand the length of each column to read the column names.) This file has been cleaned up from the original file that is available on the Vietnam page of Dates have been standardized and entries without coordinate data have been removed. As such, your map won't show every mission flown during the war, but it will show most of them.

    You'll use the latitude and longitude columns to convert the CSV file into a spatial dataset that can be displayed in ArcGIS Pro. Later in the project, you'll also use the simplified date column (which contains only the month and the year of each mission) to create a time series chart that shows how many missions were flown during different time periods over the course of the war.

  3. Close the CSV file. (If you're prompted to save the file, choose Don't Save.)
  4. Open ArcGIS Pro. If prompted, sign in to your ArcGIS account.

    If you don't have ArcGIS Pro or an ArcGIS account, you can sign up for an ArcGIS free trial.

    This lesson was most recently tested for ArcGIS Pro 2.7. If you're using a different version of ArcGIS Pro, you may encounter different functionality and results.

    You can use a number of templates when creating a new project. You're creating a map, so you'll start with the Map template.

  5. Under Blank Templates, click Map.

    Map template

  6. In the Create a New Project window, name your project Vietnam War Bombing Missions. Choose a location to save the project, or accept the default location in your ArcGIS folder.
  7. Click OK.

    You've created your project, which includes a map, a geodatabase, a file folder, and a toolbox. You'll use the default map to show the bombing missions and pertinent reference information. Because you eventually plan to add another map of hexagon bins to show where bombing missions were concentrated, you'll give this map a unique name to distinguish it.

  8. In the Contents pane, double-click Map.

    Map in Contents pane


    If you can't find the Contents pane, it may not be open. To open it, on the ribbon above the map, click the View tab. In the Windows group, click Contents.

    The Map Properties window appears.

  9. In the Map Properties window, in the General tab, change the name of the map to Bombing Missions.

    Map name

    You can also use this window to change the coordinate system for the map. A coordinate system is the mathematical process by which the three-dimensional world is flattened onto a two-dimensional map. Because there is no way to transform the spherical planet into a flat surface without some distortion, there are a large number of coordinate systems that distort certain areas or aspects of the map in order to keep other areas or aspects more accurate.

  10. In the Map Properties window, click the Coordinate Systems tab.

    The default coordinate system is WGS 1984 Web Mercator (auxiliary sphere), which distorts the shape and size of landmasses to show the spherical world as the rectangle you're used to seeing. To minimize distortion, you'll choose a projected coordinate system centered on your study area: Vietnam.

  11. In the search box, type Asia South and press Enter.
  12. In the list of results, expand the Projected Coordinate System, Continent, and Asia tabs. Click Asia South Albers Equal Area Conic.

    Asia South Albers Equal Area Conic coordinate system

  13. At the bottom of the Map Properties window, click OK.

    The changes you made to the map name and coordinate system are applied. Depending on the default extent of your map, the map may appear more distorted than before.

Add the CSV file of bombing missions as a point layer

Next, you'll create a layer that shows bombing missions during the Vietnam War. You'll use the spatial data from the CSV file you downloaded to create a point layer.

  1. On the ribbon, click the Map tab. In the Layer group, click the top half of the Add Data button (the icon).

    Add Data button

  2. In the Add Data window, browse to the location where you saved the CSV file and double-click it.

    If you downloaded or moved the file after starting ArcGIS Pro, the file might not appear in the correct location until you click the Refresh button in the Add Data window.

    The missions.csv file is added to the Contents pane under Standalone Tables.

  3. On the ribbon, click the Analysis tab. In the Geoprocessing group, click Tools.

    Tools button

    The Geoprocessing pane appears.

  4. In the Geoprocessing pane, search for XY Table and click the XY Table To Point (Data Management Tools) tool.

    The XY Table To Point tool appears.

  5. For Input Table, choose missions.csv.

    The X Field and Y Field parameters automatically populate with the Longitude WGS84 and Latitude WGS84 columns from the table. The Coordinate System parameter is updated with GCS_WGS_1984. This parameter is used to indicate the coordinate system of the locations stored in the table. The names of the X and Y fields tell you that this is the correct choice.


    GCS_WGS_1984 is a geographic coordinate system. When you add the layer to the map, ArcGIS Pro automatically projects it into the map's projected coordinate system. To learn more, see Geographic vs Projected Coordinate Systems.

  6. For Output Feature Class, change the output name to Bombing_Missions.

    XY Table To Point tool parameters

  7. Click Run.

    Because the CSV file contains more than a million rows, the tool may take several minutes to run. When it finishes, a layer called Bombing_Missions is added to the Contents pane. The layer will be stored in your project's default geodatabase. Next, you'll zoom to Vietnam, where most of the points are located.

  8. Hold the Shift key and draw a box around the dense collection of points to zoom to it. (Alternatively, you can zoom to the points using your mouse's scroll wheel.)

    Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia

    Even zoomed in, the points are so densely clustered that they completely cover almost all of Vietnam, as well as neighboring Laos and Cambodia.

Symbolize the mission points

The default symbol style causes coincident or adjacent points to overlap each other, obscuring geographic patterns in the data as well as contextual information such as country borders and major cities. To better depict the data, you'll change the size, color, and transparency of the point symbols to better emphasize areas of high-density bombings, while de-emphasizing isolated missions.

  1. In the Contents pane, click the point symbol for the Bombing_Missions layer.

    Default symbol

    The Symbology pane appears with a gallery of preset symbol options.

  2. In the symbol gallery, click Circle 1.

    This symbol will be the starting point for your customized symbol. You'll modify it to effectively depict densely clustered point data.

  3. Near the top of the Symbology pane, click Properties and click the Layers tab.

    Layers tab

    The symbol has only one layer (a Shape marker), which comprises both its fill and outline. First, you'll change the color of the symbol to a deep purple, which will cause it to pop out compared to most backgrounds—a fitting way to emphasize the most important part of your map.

  4. For Color, click the default color and click Color Properties.

    Color Properties

    The Color Editor window appears. You can use this editor to create a custom color by mixing red, green, and blue values, or by inputting a hex number. While you can experiment with colors until you find one you like, for the purpose of this exercise you'll use the hex number 4C0073, which corresponds to deep purple.

    You'll also make the points almost completely transparent. While extremely high transparency will make individual points almost imperceptible, when hundreds or thousands of points are bunched together, they will appear like a solid block of purple. High transparency will emphasize denser clusters of bombing missions while de-emphasizing individual missions.

  5. For HEX #, type 4C0073. Change Transparency to 98% and press Enter.

    Color Editor parameters

  6. Click OK.

    The changes are applied to the Symbology pane. (It may appear as though no color has been selected, but that is only due to the high transparency.) The outline color is set to black, but the outline width is set to 0 pt. No outline will draw on these symbols.

    Before you apply your changes to the map, you'll also make the point symbol smaller. A smaller symbol will help with displaying such a dense agglomeration of bombing missions.

  7. Change Size to 1.3 pt.

    Symbol size

  8. At the bottom of the Symbology pane, click Apply.

    Symbolized Bombing_Missions layer

  9. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click Save to save the project.

The new symbol makes it easier to discern patterns in the bombing missions. Throughout Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, there are specific areas of particularly high-density bombing. The sinuous lines of bombings that connect big clusters likely correspond to transportation networks or supply lines, which were heavily targeted during the war. There are also big clusters in central Laos and southeastern Cambodia. You'll learn more about these clusters later.

For now, you've accomplished your goal of depicting the hundreds of thousands of bombing missions in a legible, more understandable way. Next, you'll add, symbolize, and label reference data from ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World to better contextualize the bombing missions.

Add and symbolize countries

Previously, you added and symbolized a layer that showed a large number of bombing missions during the Vietnam War. Currently, the only reference data on the map is the default Topographic basemap. This basemap is alright, but it contains more information than you need and has a color scheme that clashes with your purple missions. You'll add a layer of world countries that you can symbolize to better complement your missions. Then, you'll create a layer that shows countries that comprise your area of interest: Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, where the majority of missions occurred. You'll symbolize this new layer to draw attention to the focus area.

Add and symbolize a layer of countries

First, you'll add a layer that shows the countries of the world. You'll symbolize the countries with a gray color scheme to emphasize your purple bombing missions.

  1. If necessary, open your Vietnam War Bombing Missions project in ArcGIS Pro.
  2. On the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Layer group, click the top half of the Add Data button (the icon).

    The Add Data window appears. You can choose to add data from your project, ArcGIS Online, or your computer. The layers in ArcGIS Living Atlas are hosted on ArcGIS Online.

  3. Under Portal, click Living Atlas.

    Living Atlas option

    The window displays some of the layers available in ArcGIS Living Atlas, but not all. You'll search for a layer of world countries.

  4. In the search bar, type World Countries and press Enter. Scroll through the list of results until you find World Countries (Generalized) by owner esri_dm.

    If you see multiple results named World Countries (Generalized), choose the first one that you find.

    World Countries (Generalized) layer

  5. Click the layer to select it and click OK.

    The layer is added to the map.

    World Countries (Generalized) default symbology

    The default orange symbology isn't particularly appealing. Additionally, the basemap is still visible.

  6. In the Contents pane, uncheck the box next to World Topographic Map to turn off the basemap.

    If your map also has a World Hillshade layer, do not turn it off. Terrain was a key component of the Vietnam War and will give your map a more realistic appearance.


    If your map does not have a World Hillshade layer, open the Add Data window and choose Living Atlas. Search for and add the World Hillshade tile layer owned by esri.

  7. If necessary, click the arrow next to World_Countries_(Generalized) to display the layer's symbol. Click the symbol to open the Symbology pane.

    You'll symbolize countries with a plain gray symbol that has thick borders, emphasizing the division between countries. To better emphasize country borders, you'll add a glow effect.

  8. If necessary, in the Symbology pane, click Properties. If necessary, click the Layers tab.

    The default symbol has two layers: one for the outline (also called stroke) and one for the fill.

  9. Click the fill layer to select it.

    Fill layer

  10. Click the menu for Color and click Color Properties.
  11. In the Color Editor, for Color Model, choose Grayscale. Change Gray to 225 and change Transparency to 40%.

    Color Editor properties for countries

  12. Click OK.

    The fill color for the countries is now a semi-transparent gray color. The outline is still orange. Rather than change the outline layer to a single, plain color, you'll add multiple outline layers that you'll symbolize with a gray gradient of colors, imitating a glow effect around country borders.

  13. At the top of the Symbology pane, click the Structure tab.

    Structure tab

    This tab allows you to add, remove, and manage symbol layers and their effects. You'll add two more outline (or stroke) layers in addition to the one that already exists.

  14. Under Layers, click Add symbol layer and choose Stroke layer.

    Add symbol layer (Stroke layer)

  15. Add another stroke layer and confirm that you have three stroke layers in total.
  16. Return to the Layers tab. If necessary, select the first (topmost) stroke layer on the list of layers. Open the Color Editor for the layer (click the Color menu and click Color Properties).
  17. In the Color Editor, change Color Model to Grayscale. Change Gray to 45 and Transparency to 60%. Click OK.
  18. In the Symbology pane, change Width to 0.05 pt.

    First stroke layer parameters

    This layer is the topmost stroke layer, so it'll be thinner and darker than the others.

  19. Following the same procedure, give the second (middle) stroke the following parameters:
    • Color Model: Grayscale
    • Gray: 96
    • Transparency: 90%
    • Width: 3 pt
  20. Give the third (bottom) stroke the following parameters:
    • Color Model: Grayscale
    • Gray: 96
    • Transparency: 95%
    • Width: 7 pt
  21. Once all three stroke layers have been symbolized, click Apply.

    Symbolized World Countries (Generalized) layer

    The plain gray fill emphasizes the bombings, while the three-stroke outline makes national boundaries stand out.

Create a layer for the area of interest

Next, you'll further emphasize the three countries of particular interest to your map: Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. As your map already indicates, these three countries received the vast majority of bombings. To elevate these countries in the visual hierarchy of your map without overwhelming the bombing missions data, you'll change the outline of your focus area to a purple glow that complements the existing symbology. To change the symbols for only your focus area, you'll duplicate the countries layer and filter it to show only Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

  1. In the Contents pane, right-click the World_Countries_(Generalized) layer and choose Copy.
  2. Right-click the Bombing Missions map item and choose Paste.

    Copy and paste the World Countries (Generalized) layer

    A copy of the layer is added to the pane, above the Bombing_Missions layer. You'll move the copy so that it doesn't obscure the missions.

  3. Drag the copy below the Bombing_Missions layer, but above the original World_Countries_(Generalized) layer.

    Next, you'll change the copy's name and filter it to show only Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

  4. Double-click the copy to open its Layer Properties window. On the General tab, change the name to Focus Countries.

    Rename the copy

  5. Click the Definition Query tab.

    A definition query is an expression that you create using values and fields within a layer's data to filter or select specific attributes of that layer. For instance, if you wanted to display only Vietnam in the Focus Countries layer, you'd create a query clause that said Country is Equal to Vietnam. You want to display three countries—Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia—so you'll create three query clauses, one for each country.

  6. Click New definition query.

    New definition query button

  7. Use the menus to create the query clause Country is Equal to Vietnam.

    Vietnam definition query

  8. Click Add Clause and add the query clause Or Country is Equal to Laos.

    For query clauses beyond the first, you're given the option to begin the clause with And or Or. And means that the features selected by the query must conform to both clauses, while Or means that the features conform to only one or the other. No country can be both Vietnam and Laos at once, so Or is the appropriate choice.

  9. Add a third clause: Or Country is Equal to Cambodia.

    Final definition query

  10. In the Layer Properties pane, click OK.

    The definition query is applied to the layer. All features that fail to meet the criteria you specified are hidden. It's currently difficult to tell whether your query was successful, because the original layer of countries is still active.

  11. In the Contents pane, uncheck the box next to the World_Countries_(Generalized) layer to turn it off.

    Focus area countries

    While the layer contains only the countries that are most relevant to the map, they're still depicted as three separate features. When highlighting your map's area of interest with a glow effect, it'll be better to have the effect only border the area as a whole, not the national boundaries within it. You'll merge the three features into one with the Dissolve geoprocessing tool.

  12. Open the Geoprocessing pane (on the Analysis tab, click Tools). In the search box, type Dissolve. Click the Dissolve tool.

    Dissolve tool

  13. For Input Features, choose Focus Countries. For Output Feature Class, confirm that the output location is the project's geodatabase (Vietnam War Bombing Missions.gdb) and change the output name to Focus_Countries_Merged.

    Dissolve tool parameters

    The remaining fields allow you to dissolve only certain features based on specific fields or statistics. You want to dissolve all features in the layer, so you'll leave these parameters unchanged.

  14. Click Run.

    The tool runs and the layer is added to the map. The new layer contains Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, but the boundaries between the countries are dissolved so that only a single feature remains.

  15. Turn off the original Focus Countries layer.

Highlight the area of interest

Next, you'll symbolize the dissolved feature layer to give it a purple gradient that will emphasize the area without clashing with or overwhelming the bombing missions. Although the gradient will mostly appear around the border, you'll use existing gradient effects for the symbol's fill to represent it.

  1. Open the Symbology pane for the Focus_Countries_Merged layer. If necessary, click Properties and go to the Layers tab.

    The symbol has the three stroke layers you created earlier, which you'll turn off so they don't overlap with the stroke layers for the World Countries (Generalized) layer. Then, you'll adjust the settings for the fill layer to create a purple gradient near the border.

  2. Uncheck the boxes next to the three stroke layers to turn them off. Click the fill layer to select it, then click the layer's menu and choose Gradient fill.

    Unchecked stroke layers and gradient fill layer

    First, you'll change the leftmost color on the gradient, which represents the color closest to the border of the feature. This color will be the darkest color in the gradient to emphasize the border around the area of interest.

  3. In the Appearance section, for Colors, click the left color menu (not the gradient menu) and choose Color Properties.

    Color Properties

    You'll use the same deep purple color you used for the missions. Unlike the missions, the gradient fill won't overlap with many other features, so increasing its transparency will cause it to appear much lighter than the missions (and prevent the gradient from concealing them).

  4. In the Color Editor, change Color Model to RGB. Change HEX # to 4C0073 and Transparency to 90%.

    Color Editor for the leftmost gradient color

  5. Click OK.

    Next, you'll change the rightmost gradient color. You'll use the same color, but increase the transparency to 100 percent, causing the gradient to fade away completely as it extends from the border.

  6. In the Symbology pane, for Colors, click the right color menu and choose Color Properties.
  7. In the Color Editor, change HEX # to 4C0073 and Transparency to 100%. Click OK.
  8. In the Symbology pane, click Apply.

    Default gradient pattern

    The color looks good, but the gradient's pattern has problems. Because you're using the fill layer to set the gradient, the default pattern causes the gradient to spread across the entirety of the feature. Additionally, the default interval (the rate at which the color changes from the first gradient color to the last) is low, causing the gradient to look unnatural. You'll reduce the size of the pattern and increase the gradient interval for a more natural effect that only appears around the feature's border.

  9. In the Symbology pane, click Pattern to expand it.
  10. Change Interval to 12. Change Size to 12%.

    Gradient pattern

  11. Click Apply.

    Final gradient pattern

  12. In the Contents pane, turn on the World_Countries_(Generalized) layer.

    When the world countries are turned back on, the light purple gradient becomes darker because of the gray countries symbol under it. You'll adjust the layer transparency of the focus countries to make the gradient appear lighter.

  13. In the Contents pane, click the Focus_Countries_Merged layer to select it. On the ribbon, click the Appearance tab. In the Effects group, set Transparency to 60.0%.

    Layer Transparency

    The area of interest is now more subtly highlighted on the map.

    Final focus area symbology

    The hillshade layer is still visible, but it is fainter than before, since it is partially hidden by the gray countries layer. You'll adjust its display so it can appear crisper.

  14. In the Contents pane, drag and drop the World Hillshade layer to place it above the World_Countries_(Generalized) layer.

    The hillshade now completely hides the country borders and coastlines.

  15. With the World Hillshade layer selected, on the ribbon, click the Appearance tab. In the Effects group, change Transparency to 20.0%. For Layer Blend, choose Multiply.

    Transparency and Layer Blend properties on the ribbon

    The hillshade and borders now both appear clearly. The Multiply option allows both the hillshade and country borders to be visible and crisp at the same time. The 20% transparency prevents the hillshade layer from being too dark and overpowering the map.

    Hillshade with multiply blend mode

  16. Save the project.

You've contextualized your bombing missions with data about the countries in the area where the mission occurred. You also symbolized the countries with an unobtrusive gray color and highlighted the focus area with a purple gradient. Next, you'll add reference data for cities.

Add, symbolize, and label reference data

Previously, you added a layer of countries to contextualize your bombing missions. Next, you'll add major cities. Cities are often important to include in any kind of political map (such as a map about a war). For your map in particular, you'll want to show whether major population centers and national capitals received most of the bombing. You'll add and symbolize this layer, then add labels to all of your reference layers.

Add and symbolize a layer of cities

You'll find data for world cities on ArcGIS Online. You only want to show large or politically important cities, so you'll filter the layer with a definition query to show only national capitals or cities with a population above 500,000. You'll then symbolize the cities based on three city types: capitals, major cities, and minor cities. With this type of symbology, the importance of each city will be clear from a glance.

  1. If necessary, open your Vietnam War Bombing Missions project in ArcGIS Pro.
  2. On the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Layer group, click the top half of the Add Data button
  3. In the Add Data window, under Portal, click ArcGIS Online.

    Searching in ArcGIS Online will provide you with wider search results than ArcGIS Living Atlas, although the data you find there may not be authoritative.

  4. Search for World Cities owner:esri_dm and add the World Cities layer.

    World Cities default symbology

    The layer contains hundreds of cities, symbolized as red points sized according to population. Most of the cities in the layer are relatively small, and showing them all clutters the map.

  5. Open the Layer Properties window for the world_cities layer.
  6. In the Definition Query tab, create a query clause that reads Population is greater than or equal to 500000.

    Definition query for cities

    You'll also add a clause to include national capitals, even if they have populations less than 500,000. The cities layer contains information about a city's status: whether it's a national capital, a provincial capital, or not a capital at all.

  7. Add a new clause that reads Or Status is equal to and then click the menu for the final part of the clause.

    Status field attribute variables

    The menu contains the list of acceptable city statuses. The list contains six types of national capitals: National and provincial capital, National capital, National capital and provincial capital enclave, Other, Provincial capital, and Provincial capital enclave. Instead of creating six new clauses, one for each status type, you'll change the is equal to operator to an operator that allows you to choose variables that contain a specific text string—in this case, the word National.


    There are often multiple ways to create a query you want. For instance, you can create an identical query clause to select all six types of national capitals using the Includes the value(s) operator. This operator allows you to choose multiple values from a checklist in a single query clause. You can use this operator (and the similar does Not Include the value(s) operator) to choose values more quickly in some situations.

  8. In the clause, change is equal to to contains the text. In the final part of the clause, type National. Click Apply.

    Final definition query

  9. Click OK.

    The layer is filtered to contain only cities that fit either of the two clauses. Vietnam contains four cities, while Laos and Cambodia contain one city each.

    World Cities filtered

    Next, you'll symbolize the cities. For your map, you'll distinguish between national capitals, major cities (population greater than 1 million), and minor cities (population between 500,000 and 1 million) using a unique symbology style for each type. Symbolizing your cities with unique values will allow users to better gauge a city's political and human importance at a glance.

  10. In the Contents pane, click the World_Cities layer to select it. On the ribbon, in the Appearance tab, in the Drawing group, click the bottom half of the Symbology button and choose Unique Values.

    Unique Values symbology type

    The Symbology pane appears for the World_Cities layer. With the Unique Values symbology type, you can create different symbols based on the attributes of each feature. You'll symbolize the features based on the Status and Population Class attribute fields.

  11. In the Symbology pane, for Field 1, choose Status. Click Add Field and choose Pop. Class.

    Value fields for Unique Values symbology

    The list of symbols in the pane changes to include a unique symbol for each combination of status and population class—26 symbols in all. You'll group these 26 symbol types into three symbols, one for each city type you plan to symbolize.

  12. Hold the Shift key and click the first and last entry that begin with National to select them. (Alternatively, hold Ctrl and click all the rows that begin with National.) When they are all selected, right-click the selection and choose Group values.

    Group values

    The selected values are grouped into a single value. The default label for the new value combines all of the labels for the values you grouped. This label is long, so you'll shorten it.

  13. For the grouped value, double-click the cell in the Label column and change the label to National capitals.

    Label for national capitals group

    Next, you'll group cities based on their population. Due to the length of the value and label names, however, it might be difficult to see which of the remaining values contain which population class.

  14. Point to the left edge of the Symbology pane until your pointer changes into a two-sided arrow. Drag the pane to expand its size. Then, point to the right edge of the Label column and expand it until you can read the labels for the remaining symbols.

    Unique Values with entire labels

    You'll create two more groups: one for cities with populations between 500,000 and 1 million, and one for cities with populations over 1 million.

  15. Hold Ctrl and select any symbols for cities with more than 1 million population.

    Major cities selection

  16. Group the selected values and change the group's label to Major cities. Group the remaining values (with populations between 500,000 and 999,999) and change the group's label to Minor cities. Reduce the size of the Symbology pane back to normal.

    All groups

    You now have three groups: one for capitals, one for major cities, and one for minor cities. Next, you'll change the symbology for each symbol. Standard cartographic symbology for cities is circles sized relative to population, with national capitals symbolized with a star.

  17. In the Symbology pane, click the point symbol for the National capitals value. Click Properties and click the Layers tab. For Form, click the menu and choose the star symbol.

    Star shape form

  18. Change the following parameters for the symbol:
    • Color: Arctic White
    • Outline color: Gray 80%
    • Outline width: 1 pt
    • Size: 9 pt

    When choosing colors from the menus, you can point to the colors to see their names.

    Symbology for capital cities

  19. Click Apply.

    The symbology is added to the map. Next, you'll symbolize the other cities.

  20. At the top of the Symbology pane, click the back arrow to return to the list of symbols. Then, click the symbol for the Major cities value.

    For the remaining cities, you'll keep the default circular symbol shape, but you'll change the color and size to make the cities stand out more on the map.

  21. Change the following parameters for the symbol:
    • Color: Arctic White
    • Outline color: Gray 80%
    • Outline width: 1 pt
    • Size: 5 pt
  22. Click Apply. Click the back arrow to return to the list of symbols. Then, repeat the process to change the following parameters for the Minor cities symbol:
    • Color: Arctic White
    • Outline color: Gray 80%
    • Outline width: 1 pt
    • Size: 3 pt
  23. Click Apply.

    Final symbol for cities

    All cities on the map are now symbolized. The only cities in Laos and Cambodia are each nation's capital. In addition to its national capital, Vietnam has three cities: a major city in the south end of the country, and two minor cities (one near the capital, and one in the center of the country, on the coast). Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, seems relatively free of bombing, indicating that most combat was conducted against the guerilla forces in the central and southern parts of Vietnam.

Label the cities

Points that represent cities aren't especially helpful if users don't know which cities are which. For instance, which city on the map is Ho Chi Minh City (previously known as Saigon), one of the most important cities during the Vietnam War? Some users might be able to spot the city at a glance (it's the major city located near the southern end of Vietnam), but you want your map to be accessible even to those who might not be familiar with the Vietnam War. You'll add labels for cities and use a definition query to give national capitals and larger cities more prominent labels than smaller cities.

  1. In the Contents pane, click the World_Cities layer to select it. On the ribbon, click the Labeling tab. In the Layer group, click the Label button.

    Label button

    Labels that display the name of each city are activated on the map. The labels have a default style of plain black text. In areas of dense bombing, the labels are hard to distinguish from the agglomeration of purple missions. You'll first change the default label class to only label capitals and major cities. These labels will have larger and more prominent text.

  2. In the Label Class group, click the arrow for Class 1 and choose Create label classes from symbology.

    Create label class

    The Create Label Classes From Symbology window appears. Instead of recreating the queries you used to symbolize the cities, you'll copy them for labeling.

  3. In the Create Label Classes From Symbology window, confirm that National capitals, Major cities, and Minor cities are listed. Uncheck the Append to current label classes option and click OK.

    Use city designations as label classes.

    The three categories of cities you symbolized are added as label classes, which are similar to symbol classes. Capitals and major cities will be labeled the same way, but you'll make the minor cities class smaller.

  4. On the ribbon, in the Label Class group, make sure National capitals is selected for Class and click the SQL Query button.

    The Label Class pane appears, displaying the World_Cities - National capitals class. All the queries that you selected earlier to merge the national capitals are copied to the labeling queries.

  5. In the Label Class pane, click Symbol.

    Symbol for label class

  6. Expand Appearance. Change the following parameters and click Apply:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font size: 11 pt
    • Color: Arctic White

    The Font name field contains all the fonts currently installed on your computer. There are hundreds of free fonts available for download online. Feel free to experiment with different fonts until you find one that works with your map data.

    Appearance parameters for label

    While this font and size are bigger, and the white color appears better near the purple bombing missions, labels are now difficult to discern around the gray countries. Next, you'll add a halo, or a border, around the label. Halos make it easier to see labels no matter what the background is, so they're good to use when you have high color variation on the map.

  7. Collapse Appearance and expand Halo. For Halo symbol, choose White fill. For Color, click the menu and click Color Properties.

    The Color Editor appears. You'll add a gray color (9C9C9C) that will complement the gray countries while allowing the white text to stand out from them.

  8. Change HEX # to 9C9C9C and Transparency to 50%. Click OK.

    Halo parameters for label

    You'll make one final change before applying the label symbology. When adding halos to text, the halo surrounds each letter individually. If letters are spaced too close together, this can cause halos to overlap and make it difficult to distinguish individual letters. You'll increase the spacing between each letter to increase legibility.

  9. Near the top of the Label Class pane, click the Formatting tab.

    Formatting tab

    This tab contains options for indentations, text alignment, and letter width and spacing, among others.

  10. Expand Formatting. Change Letter spacing to 25%.

    Letter spacing

  11. Click Apply.

    Map with labels

    Next, you'll duplicate this labeling style for major cities.

  12. On the ribbon, on the Labeling tab, in the Label Class group, click the Class menu and choose Major cities.
  13. Repeat steps 6-12 to label the Major cities class the same as the National capitals class.

    Next, you'll add labels for minor cities. The label style will be mostly the same, but with a small font size.

  14. On the ribbon, on the Labeling tab, in the Label Class group, click the Class menu and choose Minor cities.
  15. Near the top of the Label Class pane, click Symbol. On the General tab, for Appearance, change the following parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font size: 10 pt
    • Color: Arctic White
  16. For Halo, create a halo with the same parameters you used for capitals and major cities:
    • Halo symbol: White fill
    • Color:
      • HEX #: 9C9C9C
      • Transparency: 50%

    Lastly, you'll change the letter spacing. Because you want the labels for minor cities to be smaller, you'll use a smaller amount of spacing.

  17. In the Formatting tab, change Letter spacing to 15%.
  18. Click Apply.

    Final labels for cities

    Both major and minor cities now have appropriately sized labels.

Label the countries

Lastly, you'll label the countries that you added in the previous lesson. For most users, only showing national boundaries won't be sufficient for identification. As with cities, you'll create two label classes for countries: one for countries in the focus area, and one for countries outside the focus area. Instead of changing the size of each label, you'll instead change the color of the halo. For focus area countries, you'll use a purple halo that complements the highlighted border, while for other countries you'll use a gray halo that complements the gray country fill color. Styling the halos in these ways will make the labels more legible, but not in a way that clashes with the map's aesthetic.

  1. In the Contents pane, click World_Countries_(Generalized) to select it. On the ribbon, on the Labeling tab, in the Layer group, click Label.

    Labels turn on for the countries. Depending on the version of the country data you're using, each country may have duplicate labels for islands or enclaves that are separate from the main country feature. You'll remove these duplicate labels later, when you format the labels.

  2. In the Label Class pane, click Class and click SQL query.

    SQL query tab.

  3. Near the top of the Label Class pane, click the Menu button and choose Rename label class.

    Rename the default label class.

  4. Rename the current label class to Focus countries and click OK.
  5. Add a definition query clause that reads Country includes the value(s) Vietnam,Laos,Cambodia.

    Alternatively, you can create three clauses, each beginning with Country is equal to and ending with the three focus area countries. There's no difference between the two definition queries, so use the method that you prefer.

    Definition query clause for focus countries

  6. Click Apply.

    Only the three focus area countries now have labels. Depending on the version of the data you're using, Vietnam may have several duplicate labels corresponding to islands within its jurisdiction. You'll remove the duplicates.

  7. If there are duplicate labels on your map, in the Label Class pane, click Position. On the Conflict resolution tab, expand Remove duplicate labels and choose Remove all.

    Remove duplicate labels

    The map automatically changes. Now, each of the three countries has only one label. Next, you'll change the style of the label. You want the country labels to stand out from the city labels while not clashing with them. Additionally, because countries are a larger political unit than cities, you want their labels to be more prominent in the visual hierarchy. You'll use the same font and coloring, but make the country labels larger and format them so that every letter is uppercase.

  8. In the Label Class pane, click Symbol. On the General tab, expand Appearance and change the following parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Bold
    • Size: 12 pt
    • Color: Arctic White
    • Text case: Upper case

    Next, you'll give the labels a purple halo to match the highlight around the focus area countries.

  9. Collapse Appearance and expand Halo. Create a halo with the following parameters:
    • Halo symbol: White fill
    • Color:
      • HEX #: 4C0073
      • Transparency: 80%
    • Halo size: 1.4 pt

    As with the city labels, you'll also increase letter spacing. Because the text is larger, you'll use more spacing.

  10. On the Formatting tab, expand Formatting and change Letter spacing to 50%.
  11. Click Apply.

    Labels for focus countries

    The country labels are big and legible and match the overall aesthetic of the map. Next, you'll add a new label class for the remaining countries.

  12. On the ribbon, on the Labeling tab, in the Label Class group, click the Class menu and choose Create label class.
  13. Name the label class Other countries and click OK.
  14. In the Label Class pane, click Class. Add the query clause Country does not include the value(s) Vietnam,Laos,Cambodia.

    Definition query clause for other countries

  15. Click Apply.
  16. If necessary, remove duplicate labels for the label class (see step 7 if you don't remember how).

    You'll give the label a similar appearance to the label you used for the focus countries, except slightly smaller to de-emphasize them on the map.

  17. On the General tab, change the following Appearance parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Bold
    • Size: 11 pt
    • Color: Arctic White
    • Text case: Upper case

    The label's halo will also be similar to the one used for the focus countries label, except slightly smaller and with a gray color instead of purple.

  18. Change the following Halo parameters:
    • Halo symbol: White fill
    • Color:
      • Color Model: Grayscale
      • Gray: 100
      • Transparency: 80%
  19. Change the letter spacing to 40% (see step 9 of the previous section if you don't remember how).
  20. Click Apply.

    Final map

    Your map is complete.

  21. Save the project.

You've added the remaining reference information to the map. You symbolized the data accordingly and created labels for pertinent information. You used different label classes to emphasize certain features over others, creating a clear visual hierarchy in your map. Next, you'll create supplementary materials that will clarify some of the more difficult aspects of your map. First, you'll create a time series chart to show bombings over time. Then, you'll create a hexagon bin inset map to quantify the density of bombing missions.

Create supplementary charts and maps

Previously, you completed your map of bombing missions during the Vietnam War with symbolized and labeled reference information. Your map provides a compelling geographic overview of the bombing missions, but fails to capture the data's temporal dimension: when did the missions take place? Additionally, while your map indicates general patterns in the data, it doesn't actually quantify the density of missions throughout the focus area. Trying to provide this information in your existing map will likely make your dense data illegible.

Instead, you'll create supplementary material to provide with your final map document. First, you'll make a time series chart. This bar chart will show the number of missions per month across the duration of the Vietnam War. Then, you'll make a hexagon bin (hexbin) inset map. This map will aggregate (or bin) the bombing missions into hexagons of equal area. You'll then symbolize the map by the quantity of missions within each hexagon, providing a quick resource for your users to better understand the data.

Create a time series chart

A time series chart is a bar chart or graph that shows quantity over time. For your map, you'll show bombing missions per month over the course of the war. If you remember, when you first opened your CSV file of bombing missions, the file not only contained coordinate information but also dates. In particular, you'll make your time series chart using the Date Simple field, which only contains the month and year (not the day) or the mission.

When creating charts in ArcGIS Pro, you can use either a table or a layer as the chart's data source. However, when using a layer as a source, the layer's symbology will influence the chart's appearance. Because you set your bombing missions to 98 percent transparency, its default symbology is almost invisible when there aren't hundreds or thousands of missions stacked on top of one another. Instead, you'll generate the chart from the original CSV file.

  1. If necessary, open your Vietnam War Bombing Missions project in ArcGIS Pro.
  2. In the Contents pane, under Standalone Tables, right-click Missions.csv. Point to Create Chart and choose Bar Chart.

    Create bar chart.

    The Chart Properties pane appears, as well as the missions.csv: Bar Chart 1 view. The Chart Properties pane contains parameters to configure your chart, while the other pane previews the chart you create.

  3. In the Chart Properties pane, for Category or Date, choose Date Simple.

    Parameters for time series chart

    It's also possible to create a time series chart from the full Date field, which includes the exact day of each mission. However, the Vietnam War spanned an entire decade, with bombing missions on most days. In a time series chart, that would lead to thousands of individual bars. With the Date Simple field, which simplifies the dates to only months, the number of bars is reduced to about 100.

    After a waiting period, the default chart is displayed as a preview in the other pane.

    Default chart


    The size of your chart, and the values used for each axis, depends on the size of your preview pane. Adjusting the preview pane's size will also adjust the chart's size.

    The color of the chart's bars is a default color that doesn't match your map's visual aesthetic. You'll change the colors of the bars to match the same purple hue used for bombing missions, as the bars also represent missions.

  4. In the Chart Properties pane, click the Series tab. For Display multiple series, under Symbol, click the default color. In the list of colors, click Color Properties.

    Color Properties for chart symbol

  5. In the Color Editor, change HEX # to 4C0073 and click OK.

    The color of the bars in the time series chart automatically changes to the same purple color as the bombing missions. Next, you'll change the chart title, as well as its axis titles, to be more informative.

  6. In the Chart Properties pane, click the General tab.
  7. Change Chart title to Bombing and ground attack missions, 1965-1975 (monthly totals).
  8. Change X axis title to Date and Y axis title to Missions.

    The titles update automatically in the chart preview. You can optionally add a description, but this chart is probably understandable from its title and axis titles. However, you may want to add an explanatory note about the nature of your data. When you first downloaded the CSV file, you were told that some bombing missions had been removed from the file due to missing or incomplete data. You'll make clear to your map's users that some data might not be included in the chart.

  9. For Description, type Note: This chart does not include bombing missions with missing or incomplete data.

    General parameters for time series chart

    You'll give the chart a semi-transparent background so you can later place it on your map without fully obscuring it.

  10. In the Chart Properties pane, click the Format tab. Click the Symbol elements group and make sure Background is selected. For Color, choose Arctic White. Click Color Properties and set the Transparency to 20%.

    Background option

    Next, you'll set the aspect ratio of your chart preview. Your preview's aspect ratio determines the aspect ratio of the chart image when you export it. Because your chart will be displayed with your map, it should probably be long and thin to fit under the rest of your map's information.

  11. If necessary, adjust the size of the preview pane until the x-axis labels the dates at intervals of one year and the y-axis labels missions at intervals of 10,000.

    This aspect ratio is only the recommended aspect ratio for the purposes of this lesson. Feel free to experiment with the shape of your chart.

    Chart aspect ratio adjusted

    The chart indicates that most of the bombing missions occurred between 1967 and 1970, with some months containing extremely high spikes in the number of missions. The 1970s saw a tapering number of bombing missions, corresponding with the United States' gradual disengagement from the war. The final two years of the war, 1974 and 1975, saw hardly any bombing missions at all.

    Lastly, you'll export the chart as a scalable vector graphics (SVG) file. This type of file will allow you to scale the chart to a size appropriate for your map when you add it to your print layout later. The scalability is important because you're not entirely sure what your layout will look like right now, so the ability to adjust the chart without compression is important.

  12. In the preview pane, click Export and choose Export As Graphic.

    Export button

    The Export window appears.

  13. If necessary, change the export location to your project's Vietnam War Bombing Missions folder. Name the chart Missions_Chart and choose Scalable Vector Graphic (*.svg) for the output format. Click Save.

    The image is saved.

  14. Close the preview pane.

    To open or edit the chart, you can access it in the Contents pane, grouped under its source data (missions.csv).

Create an inset map

Next, you'll create a hexagon bin inset map to quantify bombing density throughout the focus area. Inset maps are secondary maps that provide additional information about the main map. Frequently, they contain more geographic context for the main map. Your inset map will instead help users determine the magnitude of difference in bombing between the highest- and lowest-density areas. You'll create it by aggregating missions into hexagon bins (or hexbins) of equal size and area. Then, you'll scale the hexbins based on the number of missions that occurred in each bin. Effectively, you're normalizing your point data by area, allowing users to make like-to-like density comparisons across the peninsula. For more information on hexagonal binning, see this post on the Esri Insider blog.

First, you'll create a map and copy the relevant layers from your original map to it.

  1. On the ribbon, click the Insert tab. In the Project group, click the top half of the New Map button.

    New Map button

    A map is created and added to your project. You can switch back to your original map at any time by clicking the tabs at the top of the map viewer.

  2. In the Contents pane, open the Map Properties for the new map (double-click the map's name). On the General tab, rename the map Hexbins.
  3. On the Coordinate Systems tab, change the coordinate system to Asia South Albers Equal Area Conic. Click OK.

    The coordinate system now matches your original map. Additionally, it is important to use an equal area projection when creating hexbin maps. Next, you'll copy the relevant layers for your inset map.

  4. At the top of the map viewer, click the Bombing Missions tab.

    Map viewer tabs

    You return to your original map. You want to copy two layers to the new map. First is the layer for bombing missions, as you'll need it to aggregate the missions into hexagons. The other is the layer for your focus countries, to provide some geographic context for your inset map. You don't want to use the same purple highlight symbology for the focus countries in your inset map, as the inset map will be small and shouldn't command too much attention. Instead, you'll copy the original, unmerged layer for focus countries.

  5. Hold the Ctrl key. In the Contents pane, click both Bombing_Missions and Focus Countries (the unmerged one) to select them. Right-click the selection and choose Copy.

    Copy layers

  6. Return to the Hexbins map. In the Contents pane, right-click the Hexbins map name and choose Paste.

    If you have difficulty copying both layers at once, you can also copy them one at a time.

  7. Turn off the World Topographic Map and World Hillshade layers and turn on the Focus Countries layer. Right-click the Focus Countries layer and choose Zoom To Layer.

    Default inset map

Aggregate missions into hexagon bins

Your inset map now displays bombing missions in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Next, you'll use geoprocessing tools to aggregate the bombing missions into equally sized hexagon bins.

  1. Open the Geoprocessing pane (on the Analysis tab, in the Geoprocessing group, click Tools). Search for and open the Generate Tessellation tool.

    Search for Generate Tessellation tool.

    The Generate Tessellation tool has a complex name, but all it does is create a grid of equally sized polygons (triangles, squares, or hexagons) that covers a given extent. You'll set the extent to match the extent of your bombing missions layer and give each hexagon a uniform size of 1,000 square miles. A larger hexagon size will make your data more generalized, while a smaller size will make it less generalized. One thousand square miles is a moderate size, given the size of your focus area.

  2. For Output Feature Class, confirm that the output location is the project geodatabase. Change the output name to Empty_Hexbins_1000mi.
  3. For Extent, choose Bombing_Missions.

    When you choose the layer, the tool parameters automatically populate with the northern, southern, eastern, and western coordinates that define the extent of the data.

  4. Confirm that Shape Type is set to Hexagon.
  5. For Size, type 1000 and choose Square Miles. Confirm that Spatial Reference is set to Asia_South_Albers_Equal_Area_Conic.

    Parameters for Generate Tessellation tool

  6. Click Run.

    The tool runs and the layer is added to the map. Your layer's symbology may differ from the example image.

    Inset map with hexagons

    The hexagons span an area much larger than your focus area. When you first added the CSV file to your original map, you learned that there were some missions placed as far away as Africa, possibly due to errors in the data. These outlier missions helped set the full extent of the bombing missions layer, which you used to define the extent of the hexagons. Later, you'll remove hexagons with no bombing missions from the map. To find out how many missions occurred in each hexagon, you'll run another geoprocessing tool to aggregate the points.

  7. In the Geoprocessing pane, click the Back button to return to the list of tools. Search for and open the Summarize Within (Analysis Tools) tool.

    Search for Summarize Within tool.

    The Summarize Within tool counts the number of point features that are within a specified layer of polygon features. It creates an output similar to the polygon feature layer, but with attribute data indicating the number of points within. You can then use this attribute data to symbolize the features by the count of points. For your purposes, the point features are the bombing missions and the polygon features are the hexagons.

  8. For Input Polygons, choose Empty_Hexbins_1000mi. For Input Summary Features, choose Bombing_Missions.
  9. For Output Feature Class, confirm that the output location is the project geodatabase. Change the output name to Vietnam_Hexbins_1000mi.

    You can choose to remove polygons that contain no points. Because your hexagon layer extends far past the area where most missions are, you'll remove these extra polygons.

  10. Uncheck Keep all input polygons. Leave the remaining parameters (which allow you to summarize more fields in addition to the point count) unchanged.

    Parameters for Summarize Within tool

  11. Click Run.

    Due to the large number of bombing missions, it may take the tool several minutes to run. Once the tool finishes, the new layer is added to the map. The appearance of the map will not change, since it uses the same symbology as the empty hexbin layer.

    You no longer need the empty hexbins or the bombing missions on this map.

  12. In the Contents pane, remove the Bombing_Missions and Empty_Hexbins_1000mi layers.

    Inset map with summarized hexagons

Symbolize the hexbins

Lastly, you'll symbolize the hexbins so that hexagons with a higher number of bombing missions appear larger on the map, while hexagons with almost no bombing missions will not appear. To create this symbology style, you'll use graduated symbols, which allow you to change symbol size or color based on a value of your choice (in this case, number of missions).

  1. In the Contents pane, right-click Vietnam_Hexbins_1000mi and choose Symbology.
  2. In the Symbology pane, for Primary symbology, choose Graduated Symbols.

    The Graduated Symbols style increases symbol size for larger values. The default symbol is a circle. It makes more sense for the symbol to be a hexagon. Rather than adjust each of the five symbol classes individually, you'll change the symbol's template.

  3. Click the symbol next to Template.

    Symbol template

    The pane changes to show various symbol styles you can use. As before, you'll create a custom symbol that matches the aesthetic of your map.

  4. If necessary, click Properties. On the Layers tab, for Form, choose the regular hexagon (first column, fifth row).

    Hexagon shape form

  5. For Color, open the Color Editor. Change HEX # to 4C0073 and the Transparency to 20%. Click OK.
  6. Change the Outline color to No color. Click Apply.

    The color is correct, but the hexagons have a background that shows the original hexagon polygon.

  7. In the Symbology pane, click the back arrow to return to the parameters for graduated symbols.
  8. Click the symbol next to Background.

    Symbol background

  9. For Appearance, change Color to No color. Click Apply.

    The backgrounds are removed. Your symbol is complete, so you'll change the field that determines how large each hexagon is from the default Shape_Length field to the Count of Points field you calculated.

  10. Click the back arrow to return to the parameters for graduated symbols.
  11. For Field, choose Count of Points. Confirm that Method is set to Natural Breaks (Jenks) and Classes is set to 5.

    Parameters for graduated symbols

    The map updates automatically. Now, the size of each hexagon on the map corresponds to the number of bombing missions that occurred within the hexagon. The Natural Breaks (Jenks) classification method is a mathematical formula that attempts to sort all possible values into groups with minimal variance within each group. Basically, for your purposes, it's a way to automatically determine how many bombing missions are needed for a hexagon to be larger or smaller.

    Currently, the size of your hexbins seems fine. However, your intention is to display this map as a much smaller inset map. Symbol sizes are absolute even when the map extent changes (for instance, if you zoom in or out), so a symbol size that is appropriate at this scale is likely inappropriate for a map that is smaller. To determine symbol size, you'll zoom to an approximate scale for an inset map.

  12. Below the map viewer, change the scale to 1:18,000,000.

    Map scale

    The map zooms out.

    Default symbol size for inset map

    At this scale, the symbols are far too large for the map. They overlap one another and are difficult to read. You'll change the size of the symbols appropriately.

  13. In the Symbology pane, change Minimum size to 1 and Maximum size to 9.

    Size for graduated symbols

    The symbols on the map update to sizes much more appropriate for the map scale. The last thing you'll change are the break values for your classification scheme. As mentioned previously, the Natural Breaks (Jenks) classification scheme finds natural clusters of data to create classes without too much variance. However, the numbers it uses to define each class can appear arbitrary. You'll round the break values to help users better understand the data.

  14. In the Symbology pane, in the Classes table, double-click the first value in the Upper value column. Change the value to 1000 and press Enter.
  15. Change the second value to 5000, the third value to 10000, and the fourth value to 20000. Leave the final value unchanged (it represents the maximum value).

    Upper value column

    You'll also change the labels for each class to more accurately describe the values.

  16. Change the first label to <1,000, the second label to 1,000-5,000, the third to 5,000-10,000, the fourth to 10,000-20,000, and the fifth to >20,000.

    The labels are updated in the Contents pane.

    Legend in Contents pane

    Your inset map is almost complete. The one problem that remains is that there are a large number of the smallest hexagon class on the map, which clutters the map with a lot of unnecessary symbols. Many of these hexagons have only a very small number of missions, so they're not exceptionally relevant. You'll run a definition query to filter out hexagons with fewer than 100 missions to reduce visual noise in the map.

  17. In the Contents pane, open the Layer Properties window for the Vietnam_Hexbins_1000mi layer.
  18. On the Definition Query tab, add a clause that reads Count of Points is greater than 100. Click Apply and click OK.

    Cleaned inset map

    The inset map has far fewer small hexagons now, allowing the user to visually focus on more relevant symbols. Most of the symbols that you removed were outside of your focus area anyway.

  19. Save the project.

You've created two supplementary elements to add to your finished map. First, you created a time series chart that showed the number of bombing missions per month. Then, you created an inset map of hexbins that showed bombing density across normalized areas. Next, you'll arrange all your map elements into a final print layout and add text and annotations to explain the story of bombing missions during the Vietnam War.

Arrange map items for print

Previously, you created supplementary material to include with your finished map. Next, you'll arrange your map and map elements in a print layout that you can use to create a finished print map. Every step of the process for creating your map has emphasized clarity and readability, and your final print layout will be no exception. In addition to arranging your map elements in a way that allows for the easy consumption of data, you'll also add text annotations that explain some of the war's key bombing campaigns. Your final map will look great and make sense even to those who aren't well-versed about the Vietnam War.

Create a print layout and add a map frame

First, you'll need to choose a print layout. A print layout is a template that ensures your map content is sized to properly print on a sheet of paper. You can choose from multiple templates, depending on page size and orientation. The shape of Vietnam is mostly vertical, so you'll use a portrait page orientation. You'll choose a larger page size to show your map in more detail and leave room for your charts and annotations. Feel free to experiment with page size to find a better fit for your data or your printer.

  1. If necessary, open your Vietnam War Bombing Missions project in ArcGIS Pro.
  2. On the ribbon, click the Insert tab. In the Project group, click New Layout. Under ANSI - Portrait, choose Tabloid (11 by 17 inches or 279 by 432 millimeters).

    Tabloid layout

    A new layout is created and displayed in the map viewer. Before you continue, you'll change the color model of your layout to be more appropriate for printing. ArcGIS Pro, like most computer programs, has a default color model of RGB (red, green, blue), which combines colors in a way analogous to a light spectrum. Because computer monitors use light to create color, this color model makes sense when displaying colors on a screen. However, print documents use ink, not light, to create color. The CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color model combines colors in a way similar to how ink combines colors, so it's the preferred color model for print documents.

  3. In the Contents pane, double-click Layout to open the Layout Properties window. On the Color Management tab, change Color model to CMYK.

    Color space

  4. Click OK.

    Your layout is currently empty. Next, you'll add a map frame that contains your Bombing Missions map.

  5. On the ribbon, on the Insert tab, in the Map Frames group, click the Map Frame button. Under Bombing Missions, choose the map with the scale as the title.

    Map Frame button

  6. Click and drag to create a map frame in the layout.

    The map frame is added to the layout, with a map extent approximately the same as your map.

    Default layout


    Map symbols, such as point markers and labels, may appear smaller in the layout view than in the map. The layout view draws the symbols according to real-world dimensions (millimeters or inches), while the display draws the symbols according to pixels and dpi.

    By default, the map frame has a white border around it. For your purposes, it's better to show more of your map than provide a border, so you'll increase the size of the map frame to match the layout.

  7. In the Contents pane, click Map Frame to select it. On the ribbon, click the Format tab.
  8. In the Size & Position group, change the Width to 11 in and the Height to 17 in (or 279 mm and 432 mm in metric units).

    Width and Height

    The map frame is resized, but it isn't centered in the layout view.

  9. In the Arrange group, click Align and choose Align to Page. Click Align again and choose Align Center. Then, click Align a third time and choose Align Middle.

    Align button

    Next, you'll remove the black border from the map frame.

  10. In the Current Selection group, choose Border.

    Current Selection

    The selected layout element is now the map frame border, which enables options for editing its appearance.

  11. In the Border group, change Width to 0 pt.

    Border width

    The border around the map frame is removed (if there still appears to be a black border around the frame, it's only because the map frame is currently selected). Before you start adding your inset map, chart, and other layout elements, you'll adjust the size of your map of bombing missions. You want the map's focus area to fill the majority of the layout, but you also want to leave some empty space for the other elements.


    For this lesson, you'll be given a scale at which to show your map. Feel free to experiment with your own scale and map layout organization.

  12. Below the map viewer, change the scale to 1:5,300,000.

    The map changes to the provided scale, but it's unlikely to be centered exactly in the layout. Before you can pan the map, you must activate it (otherwise, you'll only pan the map frame itself, not the map within it).

  13. On the ribbon, click the Layout tab. In the Map group, click Activate.

    Activate button

  14. Pan the map until it is roughly centered in the layout, with a little bit more space on the bottom and the right.

    Centered map in layout

  15. When you're satisfied with your map's position in the layout, click the Layout tab. In the Map group, click Close Activation.

    Close Activation button

Add the chart

The scale of your map and its position in the layout provides some space for additional layout elements. While you'll eventually add a title and explanatory annotations, it's best to add the largest and most inflexibly sized layout elements first, such as your time series chart. Because the time series chart is supplementary to the main map, it's a good idea to position it below the primary map in the visual hierarchy. You saved the time series chart as an image file, so you'll add it as a picture.

  1. With Map Frame still selected in the Contents pane, click the Insert tab. In the Graphics and Text group, click Picture. Browse to and choose Missions_Chart.svg (located in the Vietnam War Bombing Missions folder).

    Picture button

    The pointer changes to crosshairs and you can draw a rectangle where the picture will go. Because you saved your chart as an SVG file, you can adjust its size after you add it without sacrificing image quality, so you don't have to worry about drawing an exact fit for it.

  2. On the map, in the empty area below Vietnam and Cambodia, draw a long rectangle that covers about 80 percent of the layout's width.

    The chart is added to the layout. The text on the chart might be too small to read in the map viewer, but it'll be much bigger when you actually print the map.

    Chart on layout

    The chart is also added to the Contents pane, although it has a generic title.

  3. In the Contents pane, double-click the Picture item to open the Format Picture pane. Change Name to Bombing Missions Chart.
  4. Close the Format Picture pane.
  5. If necessary, rearrange the location of the chart on the layout.

    You can also activate the map and reposition it if you need more room for the chart. If you want to resize the chart, you can do so by clicking the chart to select it, then dragging the chart's handles. You can also use the Align tool you used on the map frame to position the chart.

Add the inset map

Next, you'll add your inset map. Because it's a map, you'll add a new map frame pointing to your hexagon bins map. You'll also add a legend and title to the inset map so users understand its purpose and symbology. An effective legend should include just enough information to contextualize the contents of the map. Anything else is extraneous and potentially distracting.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Map Frames group, click the Map Frame button. Under Hexbins, choose the map at 1:18,000,000 scale. Draw a box inside the layout.

    A new map frame is added to the layout (you can confirm that the correct map is displayed in the map frame either visually or by expanding the map frame's content in the Contents pane).

  2. Drag the new map frame to the empty space in the lower right corner of your map (don't worry if the empty part of the new map frame goes outside of the layout). Leave some empty space above and below the inset map for its title and legend.
  3. If necessary, resize the new map frame or rearrange the original map's position to ensure all elements fit in a visually pleasing way.

    Location of inset map


    If you resize the inset map frame, you may also need to adjust the size of the hexagon symbols in the Hexbins map.

    The inset map frame also has a border by default.

  4. Confirm that the inset map frame is selected and click the Format tab. Change Current Selection to Border and reduce the Width to 0 pt.

    You'll add a title to your inset map so users know what it shows.

  5. Click the Insert tab. In the Graphics and Text group, click Rectangle Text.

    Text rectangle

    Similar to when you added the time series chart as a picture, you'll draw a rectangle on the layout for the title text. You can resize the rectangle afterward, so don't worry about drawing it perfectly.

  6. Draw a rectangle above the inset map.
  7. In the text rectangle, delete the placeholder text and type General mission distribution. Click anywhere outside of the rectangle to save the text.

    The text is small and uses a generic font. You'll change its font to the same used by your labels (Century Gothic), as well as some other formatting options.

  8. In the Contents pane, double-click Text to open the Format Text pane. On the Options tab, expand General. Change Name to Inset Map Title Text.

    Text rectangle name

  9. Near the top of the Format Text pane, click Text Symbol. On the General tab, expand Appearance and change the following parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Bold
    • Size: 13 pt
    • Color: Gray 70%

    If you click outside the Format Text pane after changing parameters, you might be prompted to apply your changes. If prompted, choose Yes.

  10. Collapse Appearance and expand Position. For Horizontal alignment, choose the center justified button.

    Center justified horizontal alignment

    Lastly, you'll adjust the letter spacing, like you did for the labels.

  11. In the Format Text pane, click the Formatting tab. Expand Formatting and change Letter spacing to 5%.
  12. Click Apply. Move and resize the text rectangle so the text fits directly above the inset map.

    Inset title

    Next, you'll add a legend.

  13. On the Insert tab, in the Map Surrounds group, click Legend.

    Legend button

  14. Draw a rectangle under the inset map to contain the legend.

    If the legend you draw is too small, the legend content may not be displayed. Resize the legend until the legend content appears.

    Default legend

    The legend contains an item for the focus countries, which isn't really needed. The legend title and subtitle also aren't needed, because the inset map title already indicates what the symbols show. When you created the legend, it was added to the Contents pane.

  15. In the Contents pane, expand Legend. Uncheck Focus Countries.

    Uncheck Focus Countries.

    The symbol for the countries no longer appears in the legend.

  16. Double-click Vietnam_Hexbins_1000mi.

    The Format Legend pane appears. First, you'll remove extra text labels from the legend.

  17. For Show, uncheck Layer Name and Headings.

    Format Legend Item pane.

    All text in the legend, except the labels showing how many missions each hexagon represents, is removed. Lastly, you'll change the layer text's appearance to match the rest of the text in your layout.

  18. Click the arrow next to Legend Item and choose Labels.

    Legend Item

    Options to modify the label text become available.

  19. Change the following text parameters (if you don't remember where each parameter is, see steps 9 through 11):
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Size: 10 pt
    • Color: Gray 70%
    • Letter spacing: 5%
  20. Click Apply. Adjust the legend's size and position to center it under the inset map.

    Final inset map

    Your inset map is complete.

Add a title and subtitle

Next, you'll add a title and subtitle to your map. This text will appear above the map and will provide the most important information for understanding what the map shows. You'll add both the title and subtitle using text rectangles, similar to how you created the inset map title.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Graphics and Text group, click Rectangle Text.
  2. Draw a long rectangle that spans the top part of the map.

    When drawing rectangles, dashed lines may appear to guide you. You can use these lines to center your drawing.

  3. In the rectangle, delete the placeholder text and type Bombing Missions of the Vietnam War. Click outside the rectangle to save the text.

    The text is small and uses a generic font. You'll make it big and eye-catching.

  4. In the Format Text pane, under General, change Name to Title Text.

    If the Format Text pane isn't open, you can reopen it. In the Contents pane, right-click the item you want to format and choose Properties.

  5. Near the top of the pane, click Text Symbol.
  6. Change the following text parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Bold
    • Size: 37 pt
    • Color: Gray 80%
    • Horizontal alignment: Center
    • Letter spacing: 4%
  7. Click Apply. Resize and move the text rectangle to center it at the top of the layout (use the measurement guides or the Align button to center it exactly).

    Title text

    You'll repeat many of the same steps to add the subtitle.

  8. Create another text rectangle below the title. Give the rectangle the following text:

    Between 1965 and 1975, the United States and its allies dropped millions of bombs on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. This map, created from digitized mission reports, shows recorded bombing sorties that have available geographic data. It is a visual record of one of the largest aerial bombardments in history.

  9. In the Format Text pane, change the text rectangle's Name to Subtitle Text.
  10. Change the following text parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Bold
    • Size: 16 pt
    • Color: Gray 70%
    • Letter spacing: 4%
  11. Click Apply. Resize and move the text rectangle to center it exactly in the layout.

    Subtitle text

Add text annotations

While your title and subtitle give a good introduction to your map, you'll add even more information in the form of text annotations. You'll use these annotations to describe four specific bombing campaigns carried out during the war, which will help explain spatial patterns in the data and give more historical information. You don't want the annotations to visually interfere with the data, so you'll place them around the periphery of the layout and use leader lines to link each annotation to the relevant area of the map.

  1. Create a small text rectangle in the center left part of the layout, just south of western Laos.

    First annotation title

    This text rectangle will contain the title of annotation, which will give the title and years of the bombing operation conducted in north-central Laos.

  2. Replace the placeholder text with Operation Barrel Roll (1964-1973). Add a line break between the name of the operation and the years of the operation so that they appear on two separate lines.

    The annotations and text provided in this lesson aren't mandatory. Feel free to create your own annotations, drawing attention to aspects of the Vietnam War you find interesting.

    While you've already been renaming all of the text objects so they show up with distinct names in the Contents pane, it's especially important to rename your annotation text objects because you'll be adding eight of them: four titles and four descriptions.

  3. In the Format Text pane, change the text object's Name to Operation Barrel Roll: Title.
  4. Apply the following changes to the text symbol parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Bold
    • Size: 10 pt
    • Color: Gray 80%
  5. If necessary, move and resize the text rectangle.

    Next, you'll add the description of the bombing operation.

  6. Draw a larger text rectangle under the annotation title you just created. Replace the placeholder text with the following description:

    Over the course of the Vietnam War, more than 2 million tons of bombs were dropped on Laos alone. Many of those munitions fell on the Plain of Jars, an archaeologically significant landscape harboring communist Pathet Lao insurgents. Per capita, Laos remains the most heavily bombed country in the world. Many of these bombs failed to detonate on impact. Unexploded ordnance continues to maim and kill Laotian civilians each year.


  7. Change the name of the text object to Operation Barrel Roll: Description. Apply the following changes to the text symbol parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Regular
    • Size: 8.5 pt
    • Color: Gray 80%
  8. If necessary, move and resize the text rectangle.

    First annotation

    You want the annotation to be visually connected to the location of the bombing mission, which is the dense cluster of bombings in central Laos. You'll create a simple line to connect the text to the location it describes.

  9. On the Insert tab, in the Graphics and Text group, click Line (make sure the straight line style is chosen).

    Line button

  10. Click the layout once, near the annotation title, to place the first line vertex. Then, double-click the high-bombing area in north-central Laos to place the second vertex and finish the line.

    Annotation line

    You'll change the line's name to keep it distinct from the lines you'll make in the future, as well as the line's color to better match the map color scheme.

  11. Confirm that the line is selected on the layout. In the Format Line pane, change Name to Operation Barrel Roll: Line.
  12. Near the top of the pane, click Symbol. On the Layers tab, under Appearance, change the Color to Gray 80%.

    Line color

    Although this color is only slightly less dark than the default black color, it will stand out less on the map.

  13. Click Apply.

    Now that you've completed one annotation, the others will be much easier to make. Rather than make new text rectangles and lines, you'll copy and paste the existing layout elements, rearrange them on the layout, and change the text. This way, you won't have to set all the same parameters over and over again. To make copying and pasting the layers easier, as well as making sure the layout elements are organized in the Contents pane, you'll create a group for all three elements.

  14. In the Contents pane, hold Ctrl and click all three Operation Barrel Roll layout elements (Line, Description, and Title). Right-click the selection and choose Group.

    Group layout elements

  15. Expand the new group and rename it Operation Barrel Roll.
  16. Right-click the group and choose Copy. Right-click the name of the layout and choose Paste.

    The new group is added to the layout and the Contents pane.

  17. Rename the group (and its constituent layers) Operation Rolling Thunder.

    A quick way to rename layers in the Contents pane is to click them once to select them, then click them a second time to edit them (make sure there's at least a second or two between each click).

  18. Click the group name to select all elements of the group. Drag the group elements to the upper right corner of the layout, just west of northern Vietnam.

    Annotation copy

  19. In the Contents pane, right-click Operation Rolling Thunder: Title and choose Edit Text. Change the text to Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), with a line break between the name of the operation and the years of the operation.
  20. Change the description to the following text:

    Operation Rolling Thunder, the United States' sustained bombing campaign against North Vietnam, aimed "to persuade the North Vietnamese to quit the war, or failing that, to entice them to the negotiating table to arrange a compromise settlement of the problems in Southeast Asia."

    Source: Drew, Col. Dennis M.

  21. If necessary, adjust the size of the text objects so all text is visible.

    Lastly, you'll adjust the line and move the text boxes so that they are connected to the location of the bombing operation.

  22. Select the line. Drag the handles and move the object to connect the annotation title to the area of coastal Vietnam east of the cluster of bombs in north-central Laos.

    Second annotation


    There's no exactly correct location for any of the annotations. Feel free to adjust the annotation locations in whatever way you think looks best.

  23. Follow the same procedure to create the third annotation, using the following text and location:

    Title: Operation Steel Tiger (1965-1968)

    Description: Operation Steel Tiger targeted the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which served as the North's primary supply line into South Vietnam. Snaking through the rugged terrain of neighboring Laos and Cambodia, the trail allowed North Vietnamese forces to covertly move personnel and supplies with relative impunity. Despite persistent attempts to destroy the supply line through saturation bombing, the trail operated almost continuously until the end of the war.


    Location: The spindly network of bombing lines between southern Laos and central Vietnam, just north of Da Nang.

    Third annotation

  24. Follow the same procedure to create the fourth annotation, using the following text and location:

    Title: Operation Menu (1969-1970)

    Description: In Spring 1969, the United States began a secretive bombing campaign in eastern Cambodia, conducted without the knowledge of the American public or Congress. After a year, government whistleblowers exposed the campaign, and it was abruptly terminated.


    Location: The scattered bombing missions around Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.

    Fourth annotation

Print the map

Your layout is almost complete. You'll take one last moment to add any finishing touches to it, then you'll print it out to show others.

  1. If you'd like, adjust any of the map elements until everything is perfect.

    Final layout

  2. On the ribbon, click the Share tab. In the Print group, click Layout.

    Print button

    The Print Layout pane appears.

  3. Confirm your printer and print settings (depending on your printer, you may need to change the paper size to 11 by 17 inches or 279 by 432 millimeters).
  4. Click Print.
  5. After your map finishes printing, save the project.

You've created a finished print map that looks good and is easy to read, even for users who aren't experts on the Vietnam War. To make your layout, you added a layer of bombing missions from a CSV file and then symbolized them. You also added reference information from ArcGIS Living Atlas and labeled each item appropriately. Then, you created a time series chart and hexagon bin inset map to provide more information about your data. Finally, you arranged all of your elements in a print layout, prioritizing visual clarity and aesthetics. Share your printed map with your friends or coworkers, or even hang it up on the wall.

You can find more lessons in the Learn ArcGIS Lesson Gallery.