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Make a basemap

In this lesson, you'll download a geodatabase supplied by the city's engineers. You'll then use ArcMap to build the basemap with feature data. The data includes 11 layers representing the features at the garden—the plot boundaries, the garden perimeter fence, an orchard section, and so on. You'll add these one at a time to a new map, applying styles and symbols from the ArcGIS Desktop library to build a nice-looking map of the garden.

Download the geodatabase

  1. Go to the ArcGIS Online group, Mapping the Public Garden. When prompted, sign in to your ArcGIS organizational account.

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

  2. Click TCGFeatures.gdb and choose Download to download the file.
  3. On your desktop, create a folder named Garden_Map.
  4. Locate the compressed file in your downloads and extract (uncompress) it to the Garden_Map folder.

Load and symbolize map layers

  1. Start ArcMap.

    If you don't have ArcMap, you can get it by purchasing ArcGIS Desktop from the Esri Store.

  2. In the ArcMap - Getting Started window, click My Templates under New Maps and double-click Blank Map.

    Blank template

  3. In the Catalog window, click the Connect to Folder button.

    Connect to folder button

  4. In the Connect to Folder window, browse to your desktop, choose Garden_Map, and click OK.
  5. In the Garden_Map folder, right-click TCGFeatures.gdb and choose Make Default Geodatabase.
  6. Expand the geodatabase until you can see all of its individual feature sets.

    Expanded geodatabase

  7. Drag GardenPlots onto the map window.

    The layer is added to the map, symbolized with a random color. At this point, you'll start thinking like a cartographer, making style choices from the ArcGIS Desktop palette of colors and symbols.

  8. In the Table Of Contents, confirm that the contents are listed by Drawing Order.

    List by Drawing Order button

  9. In the Table Of Contents, click the colored symbol below GardenPlots to open the Symbol Selector.

    Edit item details

  10. Scroll down the list of available ESRI default symbols and click the Cropland symbol.

    The stippled pattern is nice, but it would be better to make these plots green to reflect what's growing there—mainly vegetables.

  11. Click Fill Color and select Lemongrass.
  12. Change Outline Width to 1 and Outline Color to Leaf Green. Click OK.

    GardenPlots symbology

    Clear demarcation of the plot boundaries is a primary goal of this map design. Next, you'll add a layer for the paths that circulate around the garden plots.

  13. From the TCGFeatures geodatabase, add the Path feature class to the map.
  14. Open the Symbol Selector for Path, scroll down the list of symbols, and double-click Sand.
  15. In the Table Of Contents, drag Path down so it appears below GardenPlots.

    Path layer

    Next, you'll add the steel fence that separates the garden from the surrounding park.

  16. Add the OuterFence feature class to the map.
  17. Open the Symbol Selector for OuterFence and type fence into the search bar.
  18. Under CADD GIS Center SDS 200, click fence_line.

    OuterFence symbology

    The solid black line is a bit too stark.

  19. Change Color to Gray 20% and click OK.

    Next, you'll add a flood control channel adjacent to the garden.

  20. Add the FloodControlChannel feature class to the map.

    The feature is actually a portion of a longer channel clipped to the study area.

  21. Open the Symbol Selector for FloodControlChannel, scroll down the list of symbols, and double-click Water Intermittent.

    FloodControlChannel layer

  22. Add the Easements feature class to the map.

    These are utility-controlled strips of land that must be kept clear for public works access. They are essentially just dirt, so you'll symbolize them with the sand symbol.

  23. Open the Symbol Selector for Easements and double-click Sand.

    A large area of fruit trees surrounds part of the garden outside the fence. You'll apply a special orchard fill to these areas.

  24. Add the TreePlantings feature class to the map.
  25. Open the Symbol Selector for TreePlantings and click Orchard or Nursery.

    The trees are a bit small, so you'll edit the symbol by scaling up the tree size.

  26. In the right pane of the Symbol Selector, click Edit Symbol.
  27. On the Picture Fill tab, change Scale X and Scale Y from 1 to 2.

    Orchard scale

  28. Click OK and click OK again to apply the style.

    Orchard layer

    The remaining areas inside the fence that aren't pathways or individual plots are the areas of group plantings. Right now these areas are covered in ground scrub.

  29. Add the GroupPlantingAreas feature class to the map.
  30. Open the Symbol Selector for GroupPlantingAreas and double-click Scrub 1.
  31. Add the Shade Awning feature class to the map.
  32. Open the Symbol Selector for Shade Awning and make it a brown color of your choice with no outline.
  33. Add the WildflowerField feature class to the map.
  34. Open the Symbol Selector for WildflowerField and click Swamp.
  35. Change Fill Color to Macaw Green, change Outline Color to No Color, and click OK.

    Wildflower symbol

    Next, you'll add the gravel walkway that passes the garden along the wildflower field.

  36. Add the ParkWalkway feature class to the map.
  37. Open the Symbol Selector for Park Walkway, change Fill Color to Gray 10%, change Outline Color to No Color, and click OK.

    Walkway layer

    The final feature is the lawn, which has been clipped to the immediate study area.

  38. Add the Lawn feature class to the map.
  39. Open the Symbol Selector for Lawn and click Grassland.
  40. Change Fill Color to Olivine Yellow, change Outline Color to No Color, and click OK.
  41. Reorder the layers in the Contents window using the following sequence:

    • OuterFence
    • ShadeAwning
    • GroupPlantingAreas
    • TreePlantings
    • Easements
    • FloodControlChannel
    • GardenPlots
    • Path
    • ParkWalkway
    • WildflowerField
    • Lawn

    Final map

  42. Click Save and name the file TCG_Garden.mxd.

In this lesson, you accessed a set of features from a file geodatabase and added them layer by layer to build a basemap of a community garden. In the next lesson, you'll publish this new basemap to the web.