Make a map of China

Explore the map

First, you'll open a map of the world and save a copy of it so you can modify it. Then, you'll navigate around the map and become familiar with what it shows.

  1. Click Make a Map of China to open a saved map.
  2. At the top of the page, click Sign In and sign in to your ArcGIS account.

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

    A map of the world appears.

    Map of the world

  3. On the ribbon, click Save and choose Save As.

    Save As on the Save menu

    The Save Map window appears. You'll assign a title to your copy of the map.

  4. For Title, type Make a Map of China, followed by your initials.

    You'll use the tags and summary from the original map. Tags are terms that allow people to search for your map in ArcGIS Online. The summary provides information so people will understand your map's purpose.

    Save Map window

  5. Click Save Map.

    The map is saved to your ArcGIS Online account. You'll look at different parts of the map by zooming (changing the scale to see more or less detail) and panning (changing the extent to see different areas).

    You can zoom in three ways.

    • Click the Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons.
    • Use the wheel on your mouse.
    • Press the Shift key while drawing a box around the area you want to zoom to.

    Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons

    You can pan the map by clicking and dragging the map.

  6. Zoom to China.

    Location of China

  7. Click the Default extent button to return to the map's original extent.

    Default extent button

  8. Click Content to show all the layers in the Contents pane.

    Content tab

    The layers are listed in the Contents pane.

    Contents pane with five layers

    There are five layers on the map:

    • China Rivers includes 12 rivers in China.
    • China Admin includes 34 administrative divisions in China.
    • World Countries (Generalized) includes 249 counties in the world. Generalized means that the borders and coastlines are less detailed.
    • World Cities includes more than 2,500 cities.
    • The basemap layer, Terrain with Labels, provides background geographical context for the layers.

    Unless you've made changes, the World Countries (Generalized) layer has a check mark next to it, indicating it is turned on and visible on the map. The other layers are currently turned off.

  9. In the Contents pane, check the box next to World Cities to turn it on.

    Dots appear on the map. The World Cities layer is drawn, but most of the dots that represent cities are hidden under the World Countries (Generalized) layer. You'll move the World Cities layer to the top of the list of layers so it can be seen.

    World Countries (Generalized) layer

  10. In the Contents pane, point to the three vertical dots next to the World Cities layer.

    Three vertical dots

    Your pointer changes shape.

  11. Click the three dots and drag the layer above China Rivers.

    World Cities on top of China Rivers

    The World Cities layer draws on top of the World Countries (Generalized) layer.

    World Cities layer on top of World Countries (Generalized) layer

    You won't be using the World Cities layer yet, so you'll turn it off.

  12. In the Contents pane, uncheck the World Cities layer.

    The layer is hidden on the map.

  13. On the ribbon, click Save and choose Save.

    The current state of your map is saved to your ArcGIS Online account.

Filter the study area

The map shows countries all over the world, but you are only interested in China. You'll create a filter to show only China and hide the other countries. A filter limits which features appear in a layer, so you can reveal what's important.

  1. In the Contents pane, point to World Countries (Generalized) and click the Filter button.

    Filter button

    The Filter window appears. You'll create a filter expression that says Country is China.

  2. In the Filter window, click Affiliation and choose COUNTRY. In the Value field, type China.

    Expression Country is China

  3. Click Apply Filter.

    The filter is applied. Now, only China is displayed on the map.

    Only China on the map

Style the study area

Currently, the interior of China is styled with an orange color. You'll change the map style to show only the outline of China.

  1. In the Contents pane, point to World Countries (Generalized) and click the Change Style button.

    Change Style button

  2. Under Select a drawing style, for Location (Single symbol), click Options.
  3. Click Symbols.
  4. For Fill, change the color to No Color (the white box with a red diagonal line).

    No color option

  5. Click Outline and change the color to black (#1A1A1A) with a Line Width of 2.

    Black outline with a width of two

  6. Click OK.

    China outlined in black

    The style is changed, showing China with no fill color and a black outline.

  7. In the Change Style pane, click OK.
  8. Click Done.
  9. Save the map.

Style the rivers

The map now shows the outline of China. You'll zoom to China and turn on and style the rivers layer.

  1. In the Contents pane, point to World Countries (Generalized). Click the More Options button and choose Zoom to.

    More Options menu with Zoom to

    The map zooms to the extent of the filtered layer (China). You may want to zoom out to see the entire border.

  2. Check the box next to China Rivers to turn the layer on.

    The rivers are styled as light purple lines. To help convey that the lines represent water in the rivers, you'll change the color to blue.

  3. Point to China Rivers and click the Change Style button.
  4. Under Location (Single symbol), click Options.
  5. Click Symbols.
  6. Choose the blue color in the tenth column, fourth row (#00A9E6). Change Line Width to 2 px.

    Symbol color and width picker for rivers

  7. Click OK.

    The rivers turn blue.

    Blue rivers on map

  8. In the Change Style pane, click OK.
  9. Click Done.

    You now have a map showing the outline of China and its major rivers.

Map administrative divisions and cities

The next two layers that you'll show on your map are administrative divisions and cities. China has 34 provincial-level administrative divisions, which are like states or provinces. To better tell them apart, you'll style this layer using a different color for each one.

  1. In the Contents pane, turn on China Admin.
  2. Point to China Admin and click the Change Style button.
  3. Under Choose an attribute to show, choose Name.

    Name option

  4. Under Select a drawing style, for Types (Unique symbols), click Options.

    The Symbol pane appears. Unique symbols are used to show different types of things (cars, cities, crops) rather than counts (five, seven, or nine) or measurements (21.7 kg, 30.5 kg, 50.2 kg).

    Symbols for each division

    Ten of the administrative divisions are assigned unique colors, and the others are gray.

    Gray administrative divisions on the map

    You'll assign each administrative division its own symbol.

  5. Click the Move all values out button.

    Move all values out button

    Each of the 34 administrative divisions has its own symbol.

    Each administrative division in a different color

    The colors are bright. You'll adjust the layer transparency so the rivers are more visible.

  6. Move the Transparency slider to 75 percent.

    Transparency slider at 75 percent

    The administrative division colors are less intense.

  7. Click OK. Click Done.

    China's administrative divisions at 75 percent transparency

    You'll style the cities in China to show their relative populations. First, you'll create a filter to show just the cities in China. Then, you'll style the cities with a smaller population with smaller symbols and cities with a larger population with larger symbols.

  8. In the Contents pane, turn on the World Cities layer.

    The cities of the world appear.

  9. Point to the World Cities layer and click the Filter button.
  10. In the Filter window, create the expression Country is China.

    Expression Country is China

  11. Click Apply Filter.

    The 48 cities from the World Cities layer that are in China appear. The rest of the cities are hidden.

    City locations in China

    You'll style the cities layer to show the relative sizes of their populations.

  12. In the Contents pane, point to the World Cities layer and click the Change Style button.
  13. For Choose an attribute to show, choose Population.

    The cities are automatically assigned a size based on the value in the population field. The larger the population, the larger the symbol.

    China cities styled by size in orange

    To make the city symbols more visible, you'll change the symbol color from orange to black.

  14. Under Counts and Amounts (Size), click Options.
  15. Click Symbols.

    Symbols button in the Change Style pane

  16. Under Shape, click the black circle.

    Black circle symbol

  17. Click OK.

    The symbols change to black.

    China's cities are styled by population with different sizes of black circles.

  18. In the Change Style pane, click OK. Click Done.
  19. Save the map.

In this lesson, you navigated a map. You arranged, styled, and filtered layers to create a map of China showing its administrative divisions, its rivers, and 48 of its cities based on their populations.

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