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. Sign in to your ArcGIS account.
    Note:

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

    If you encounter an error or are unable to sign into your account, remember that passwords are case-sensitive. If you forget your ArcGIS password, you can reset your password from the sign in page. See Account Troubleshoot for more information.

    Next, you will search for and open a map in ArcGIS Online.

  2. On the top ribbon, click the search button.

    Search on the top ribbon

  3. In the search bar, type Make a map of China. In the list of results, click the Make a Map of China web map by Learn_ArcGIS.

    Make a Map of China web map in the search results list

    The Make a Map of China item page appears.

    Each item in ArcGIS Online includes an item page that contains its metadata. Metadata on the item details page includes the title, the type, and the source, author, last modified date, thumbnail, and tags related to the item. It can also include additional information such a summary and description, how accurate and recent the item is, restrictions associated with using and sharing the item, credits, and so on. This information can help others discover and validate the usefulness of the items.

  4. On the item page of Make a Map of China, click Open in Map Viewer.
    Note:

    Depending on your organizational and user settings, you may need to click the drop-down arrow and then select Open in Map Viewer. ArcGIS Online offers two map viewers for viewing, using, and creating maps. For more information on the map viewers available and which to use, please see this FAQ.

    Open in Map Viewer on the Make a Map of China item page

    A map of the world appears in Map Viewer.

    Make a Map of China web map appears in Map Viewer.

    At the top of the page, your name and ArcGIS username is visible, which means you are already signed in.

    ArcGIS account name is visible at the top of Map Viewer, indicating you are already signed in.

    Before you start editing the map, you will explore Map Viewer.

    Map Viewer includes two vertical toolbars-the Contents (dark) toolbar and the Settings (light) toolbar. Use the Contents toolbar to manage and view the map contents and work with the map. Use the Settings toolbar to access options for configuring and interacting with map layers and other map components.

    Vertical toolbars in Map Viewer

  5. Click the Expand or Collapse button at the bottom of each toolbar to expand or collapse them.

    Collapse and Expand button on the Contents toolbar

  6. On the Contents (dark) toolbar, click Layers.

    Layers on the Contents toolbar

    The Layers pane appears and shows the four layers contained in the Make a Map of China web map you opened. An ArcGIS web map is an interactive display of one or more layers of geographic information.

    Next, you will save a copy of this map so you can edit the style of each layer.

  7. On the Contents toolbar, click Save and open and click Save as.
    Note:

    The blue dot next to the Save and open button and Save as option indicates that there are unsaved changes on the map.

    Save as on the Save and open menu

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

  8. In the Save map window, for Title, type Make a Map of China, followed by your initials (for example Make a Map of China YN).
    Note:

    Layers created by analysis operations are web services with unique URLs. Adding your name or initials to the results layer name will prevent your layer from conflicting with somebody else's layer in your organization. Once the layer has been created, you can rename it. The unique URL will not change.

    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

  9. Click Save map.

    The map is saved to your ArcGIS Online account. Next, you'll zoom (changing the scale to see more or less detail) and pan (changing the extent to see different areas) to different parts of the map.

    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.

  10. Zoom to China.

    Location of China

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

    Default extent button

  12. If necessary, on the Contents toolbar, click Layers to show the Layers pane which lists all the layers in your map.

    Contents pane with five layers

    There are four layers on the map:

    • China_Rivers includes 12 rivers in China.
    • China Admin includes 34 administrative divisions, which are like provinces or states, 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.

    Unless you've made changes, the World Countries (Generalized) is the only layer without the hidden layer button activated, indicating it is turned on and visible on the map. The other layers are currently turned off.

  13. On the Contents toolbar, click Basemap.

    The basemap layer, Terrain with Labels, provides background geographical context for the layers.

  14. Click Layers and click the visibility button World Cities to turn it on.

    Visibility button for the World Cities layer

    Dots appear on the map which represent the world's major cities.

    World Countries (Generalized) layer

    The World Cities layer is visible, 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

  15. In the Layers pane, drag the World Cities layer above China_Rivers.

    Move the layer World Cities above China_Rivers

    The World Cities layer is now visible on top of the World Countries (Generalized) layer.

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

    Now all the points representing major cities are visible.

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

  16. In the Layers pane, click the visibility button for the layer World Cities.

    The layer is hidden on the map.

  17. On the Contents toolbar, click Save and open and click Save to save your map.

    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 that makes only the country China visible in the layer. A filter will limit which features appear in a layer, so you can reveal what's important.

  1. In the Layers pane, click the World Countries (Generalized) layer to select it.

    The World Countries (Generalized) layer selected in the Layers pane.

    The blue bar appears next to a layer when it is selected in the Layers pane.

  2. On the Settings (light) toolbar, click Filter.

    Filter on the Settings toolbar

    The Filter pane appears.

    You'll create a filter expression that only makes the country China visible in the layer.

  3. In the Filter pane, click Add expression.

    Add expression

    Each expression includes a field name, an operator, and a value. For the Expression that automatically loaded when you clicked Add expression, the field name is set to Country and the operator is set to is.

    Next, you will specify the value for the Expression.

  4. For the value, type China.

    Filter Expression set to Country is China

    The filter applies and your map displays a preview of the map with only China visible.

    Only China on the map

  5. In Filters pane, click Save.

    You can use the Zoom to tool to center your map on the features in a layer. Since you used a Filter on the World Countries (Generalized) layer, the only visible feature in the layer is China.

  6. In the Layers pane, click the Options button for the World Countries (Generalized) layer and click Zoom to.

    Open actions menu with Zoom to selected

    The map zooms into China.

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 Layers pane, confirm the World Countries (Generalized) layer is selected and on the Settings toolbar, click Styles.

    Styles on the Settings toolbar

  2. In the Styles pane, under Pick a style, for Location (single symbol), click Style options.

    Style options for Location (single symbol) under Pick a style

  3. Click the symbol under Symbol style.

    Change symbol style

  4. In the Symbol style pane, for Fill, toggle off Enable fill.

    Collapse button to turn off Fill symbol style

  5. Expand the Outline section, expand the Custom color section, and for Hex, type 1A1A1A, and press Enter.

    Set Outline with a Custom color

  6. Expand the Stroke section and for Width, set it to 2.

    Change outline width

  7. In the Style options pane, click Done twice.

    China outlined in black

    The map now shows China with no fill color and a black outline.

  8. Save the map.
    Tip:

    To save your map, on the Contents toolbar, click Save and open and click Save.

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 Layers pane, click the visibility button for the China_Rivers layer 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.

  2. Ensure the China_Rivers layer is selected on the Layers pane, and in the Settings toolbar, click Styles.
  3. In the Styles pane, under Pick a style, for Location (single symbol), click Style options.

    Style options

  4. Click the symbol under Symbol style.
  5. In the Symbol style pane, for Colors, choose a blue color. Expand the Stroke section and for Width, and set it to 2.

    Change symbol color and width for the river layer

  6. In the Style options pane, click Done twice.

    Blue rivers on map

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

Map administrative divisions

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 Layers pane, select and click the visibility button for the China Admin layer.
  2. If necessary, on the Settings toolbar, click Styles.
  3. In the Styles pane, under Choose attributes, click Field.

    Select Field

    The Add fields window appears.

  4. In the Add fields window, click Name and click Add.

    Set Name as field to symbolize

  5. In the Styles pane, under Pick a style, for Types (unique symbols), click Style options.

    The Symbol options 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). In this example, each of the administrative divisions of China have a unique symbol.

    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.

  6. 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

    Next, you will adjust the color ramp and the transparency settings so the China_rivers layer is more visible.

  7. Click the symbol under Symbol style.

    Symbol style for Unique symbols

  8. In the Fill window, for Color ramps, choose Rainy Day.
    Tip:

    Point to a color ramp to reveal the name of the color ramp.

    Select a color ramp

  9. Expand Fill Transparency and set the Transparency slider to 60.

    Transparency slider at 60 percent

    Changing the transparency, or opacity, of a layer in a map allows you to see more, or less, of the underlying layers. The more transparent a layer is, the less visible it appears on the map and the more visible the other layers appear. In other words, the greater the transparency setting, the more see-through the layer will appear, like a stained-glass window. The smaller the transparency setting, the harder the layer is to see through, like a curtain or drape covering a window.

    The administrative division colors are less bold and the China_Rivers layer is more visible.

  10. In the Style options pane, click Done twice.

    China's administrative divisions at 60 percent transparency

  11. Save the map.

Map the cities in China

Next, 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.

  1. In the Layers pane, click the visibility button for the World Cities layer.

    The cities of the world appear.

  2. In the Layers pane, select the World Cities layer and in the Settings toolbar, click Filter.
  3. In the Filter pane, click Add expression.
  4. Under Expression, for the field name, choose Country, for the value, choose China.

    Expression is set to Country is China

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

  5. Click Save.

    City locations in China

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

  6. In the Layers pane, confirm the World Cities layer is selected and on the Settings toolbar, click Styles.
  7. For Choose attributes, click Field.
  8. In the Add fields window, click Population and click Add.

    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 and outline style.

  9. In the Styles pane, under Pick a style, for Counts and Amounts (size), click Style options.
  10. In the Style options pane, click the symbol under Symbol style.

    Symbol in the Style options pane

  11. In the Symbol style pane, under Fill, click the black color.

    Black symbol color

  12. Expand Fill transparency, and type 40.
  13. Expand Outline, expand Outline transparency, and type 0.

    Outline transparency

  14. In the Style options pane, click Done twice.

    Your map is complete.

    China's cities symbolized by population size

  15. On the Contents toolbar, click Legend.

    Legend on the Contents toolbar

    The Legend pane appears. The Legend pane shows how the data layer is represented on the map.

    Legend for your map

  16. Save the map.

In this lesson, you explored a map. You arranged, styled, and filtered layers to create a map of China showing the administrative divisions, major rivers, and 48 major cities styled by population size.

Now that you have a basic map, you can refine it by setting map properties , adding bookmarks , and setting transparency . Depending on your sharing privileges , you can share the map with groups, your organization, and the public. Try the Learn ArcGIS lesson Create a policy map to address health conditions to learn more about creating maps.

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