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Create a map

In this lesson, you'll re-create the map you explored in the previous lesson. You'll start a new map and add the layers you need.

Every new map starts with a basemap. In an ArcGIS organization, the administrator chooses the default basemap and sets its extent. This lesson assumes that your default basemap is the Topographic basemap and that its default extent is the world. If your settings are different, you'll make changes as needed in the first section.

Create a new map

  1. If a map is already open in your browser, click Modify Map in the upper right corner of the page. Then, click New Map and choose Create New Map. In the Open map window, click Yes, Open the Map.
  2. If a map is not open in your browser, go to ArcGIS Online and click Map at the top of the page.

    If you're in a new session, clicking Map will open a new map. Otherwise, it will open an existing map (the last map you were using). If an existing map opens, click New Map, and choose Create New Map.

    The new map opens to the extent of the world.

    A map of the world

  3. On the ribbon, in the Find address or place box, type Island of Hawaii. In the list of suggested locations, choose Island of Hawai'i, United States.

    Search box

    The map zooms to Hawaii.

    Island of Hawaii

  4. Close the Search result pop-up.
  5. Zoom in on the island. If necessary, pan (drag) the map to center Hawaii in the view.

    Hawaii centered in map view

    If you save the map, the map extent at the time of saving will become the extent used by the Default extent button. It can also be useful to add spatial bookmarks to navigate to particular map locations.

  6. In the upper right corner, click Modify Map. (If you're already signed in, skip this step.)
  7. On the ribbon, click the Bookmarks button. In the Bookmarked places list, click Add Bookmark.
  8. Type Island of Hawaii and press Enter.

    Island of Hawaii bookmark

  9. Close the list of bookmarked places.
  10. At the top of the Details pane, click the Content button.

    Contents pane

  11. If necessary, click the Basemap button on the ribbon and choose Topographic.

Add layers to the map

You're ready to start adding layers to the basemap.

  1. On the ribbon, click the Add button and choose Search for Layers.

    Search for Layers option

    A default list of search results appears.

  2. If necessary, click the drop-down arrow at the top of the pane and choose ArcGIS Online.
  3. In the search box, type Hawaii. To limit the search results to layers owned by the Learn ArcGIS administrator account, add owner:Learn_ArcGIS and press Enter.

    Find Hawaii in Search for Layers

    The search results are narrowed to a more relevant list.

  4. In the list of results, locate HawaiiTerrain by Learn_ArcGIS. Click Add to add the layer to the map.

    Search results

  5. In the same way, add the following layers from the search results to the map (all layers are by Learn_ArcGIS):

    • Volcanoes
    • Hawaii Lava Flow Hazard Zones
    • Hawaii Island Major Highways

  6. At the top of the search pane, click the Back button.

    Map with layers

    The layers are drawn, with their default symbols, in the order in which they were loaded into the map. (This is usually, but not always, the same order in which you add them.) You don't see the volcanoes on the map because they are underneath the lava flow hazard zones.

Set layer properties

In this section, you'll change some of the properties of the layers. You'll give them shorter names, change their position in the list of layers, add labels, and adjust transparency. Layer properties are always accessed in the same way: by pointing to the layer name and clicking an appropriate button or clicking the More Options button and choosing the property you want to change.

  1. In the Contents pane, point to the Hawaii Island Major Highways layer. Click the More Options button and choose Rename.

    Rename highways

  2. In the Rename window, change the layer name to Highways and click OK.

    Rename window

  3. In the same way, rename the Hawaii Lava Flow Hazard Zones layer to Lava Flow Hazard Zones.
  4. Rename the HawaiiTerrain layer to Terrain.
  5. In the Contents pane, point to the Volcanoes layer. Click the More Options button and click Move up.

    Volcanoes layer move up

    The layer moves up one position, above the Lava Flow Hazard Zones layer. The volcanoes are now visible on the map.

  6. Move the Volcanoes layer up again.

    Now the Volcanoes layer is at the top of the list. The usual practice is to put points (such as volcanoes) above lines, and lines (such as highways) above polygons. Points, lines, and polygons are all feature layers: they usually represent discrete geographic objects that have more or less precise locations and boundaries.

    The Terrain layer, like the Topographic basemap, is a tile layer. Tile layers are images and cannot be manipulated in the same ways as feature layers. They typically represent large, continuous surfaces rather than discrete objects. Tile layers cannot be moved above feature layers in a map.

  7. In the Contents pane, point to the Volcanoes layer. Click the More Options button and choose Create Labels.

    Each volcano is labeled with its name.

  8. In the Label Features pane, change the label size from 13 to 14 and click OK.

    Label Features pane

  9. Open the properties for the Lava Flow Hazard Zones layer and choose Transparency. Make the layer about 40 percent transparent, or whatever looks good to you.
  10. In the same way, make the Highways layer about 50 percent transparent.

    Map with layer property settings

    You have re-created the appearance of the map you explored in the last lesson, except for the emergency shelters.

Define the map legend

When you start a new map, or open a saved map of your own, it opens with the Contents pane showing. When anyone else opens your map, however, it opens with the Legend pane showing. You should think about how you want the legend to look.

  1. At the top of the Contents pane, click the Legend button.

    Legend entries are created for all layers except the basemap. The entry for the Terrain layer (which shows grayscale values) is not useful for interpreting the map.

  2. At the top of the Legend pane, click the Content button.
  3. Open the properties for the Terrain layer and choose Hide in Legend.
  4. View the legend again to see the effect, and then go back to the Contents pane.

Change a symbol

You were able to re-create the map's appearance without too much effort because the symbols, such as yellow diamonds for volcanoes and shades of red and orange for hazard zones, were already set when you added the layers. A layer's default display settings, including its style and pop-up configuration, are made by its owner. Once you add a layer to your own map, however, you're free to change those settings.

  1. In the Contents pane, point to the Highways layer and click the Change Style button.

    Change Style button

    In the Change Style pane, the currently selected style is Location (Single symbol), which is indicated by the check mark.

    Change Style pane

    In this style, all features in the layer are drawn with the same symbol. The Location style is appropriate when you want to see the features on the map but you're not interested in their particular characteristics, such as names or speed limits.

  2. For a drawing style, under Location (Single symbol), click Options.
  3. Under Showing Location Only, click Symbols to change the symbol.
  4. On the color palette, choose a color that you think will look good and click OK.

    Color palette

    The new color is applied to the map. (If you don't like it, click Symbols again to open the color palette and choose a different color.)

  5. At the bottom of the Change Style pane, click OK and click Done.

    Remember that you haven't saved your work for this lesson. If you're continuing to the next lesson, be sure to keep the map open. Otherwise, to save your work with the appropriate details, go to Save the map.

In this lesson, you added several layers to the map and changed their properties. You've almost re-created the appearance of the map you explored in the first lesson. In the next lesson, you'll add a layer of emergency shelters from a CSV file.