ArcGIS: Road Gravel Sections

So I'm getting pretty good at building maps from scratch in ArcGIS. It's become my specialisation at work as my colleagues are usually tasked to other jobs. The map this time was to build a database of gravel road sections and then display it on large A1 map for community consultation. As the client may come back to me for multiple changes, I wanted to keep the workspace simple. Building a base map would take a long time so I opted to use the NSW Land and Property Information's public base map Web Map Service. This would provide the foundations of geographic space. Then it was a matter of building a temporary projects layer from our existing roads data.

Time from start to completion: 4 hours (half day).



The map is intended to inform the public regarding the location of capital works projects such as gravel road sections being considered for sealing. So the map needs to be easy to read for the layperson who doesn't read maps all that often. Residents will most likely associate with suburb names more than road names so I added the locality layer and made the labels extraordinary large and visible.

In addition I included the local government area boundary for the benefit of our staff so that if a non resident asked why a location on the map wasn't getting work done, it would be outside our organisation's jurisdiction. It is also a good way to mask irrelevant information. I chose a thick red line to show the gravel road sections. The red is a contrasting colour from the rest of the information presented on the map and should draw the attention of the reader. A small rank number then indicates additional information as shown in the table below.


ArcGIS is acceptable for basic presentations of textual information like titles, captions and small blocks of text. However once you get into tables and complex structure or formatting, the default text editor is fucking rubbish. Ideally we get something that resembles to graphics design software like Adobe Indesign but I've seen 4 itierations of ArcGIS since I've started using it and the text editor is still a nightmare to work with. To make clean text boxes I opt to use the Insert Objects functionality and attach a pre-built word document into the workspace.


This is the method to insert an object into an ArcGIS workspace:


When the box comes up, pick the second option to insert from a file. Point to the pre-made file and click OK.


Once you got it into ArcGIS it'll come up as a text box which can be resized to match your template. Make sure you also do your spell check and validation before inserting the object as ArcGIS is unable to interact with the data directly. If you need to make a change to the object it will simply redirect you to Microsoft Word.

I find this an acceptable solution to dealing with text in ArcGIS. You can also fix the formatting and structure this way. Of course this assumes you've a wizardry level of competency with Microsoft Word as it takes a bit of experimentation and troubleshooting to get the right look first go.

I expect there would be changes but it won't be a lot of work (probably), as there are only two data layers in use, plus the text box.

Final map export.

Noticed after printing that the spacing between the boxes don't match. Also the title block at the top of the base is slightly smaller than the main map box. These are the corporate templates so little I could do to fix it. If I was building map templates I would not use pointless spaces between layout elements. I would line them up with the guides too to ensure perfect line snaps every time.




arcgis, gis, base maps, client services, roads, community consultation, cartography