This page is a compilation of questions (and answers) from previous students / quarters… perhaps these will help you.
NOTE that I do not go back and verify that these are still correct year-to-year. Thus some of these may have been posted for older versions of ArcGIS Pro…
How do I backup / archive my project folder and/or .aprx file?
To make a backup archive of an ArcGIS Pro project folder (including geodatabase(s), .aprx file, etc.):
- Close ArcGIS Pro
- Open Windows Explorer (or My Computer) (not Internet Explorer)
- Browse to the location of your project folder (the one with the geodatabase(s), .aprx file, etc. in it)
- Right-click on the project folder and choose Send To / Compressed (zipped) Folder
- This should create a .zip file (a ‘zipped’ file) that contains a compressed (zipped) version of your entire project folder (with the geodatabase(s), .aprx file, etc.)
- Recommended: Rename this file so that the name of the zip file has the date in in (i.e., instead of smith_caribbean.zip it is 2020_04_30_smith_caribbean.zip)
THEN, you can open and continue working with your original .aprx file in your original project folder. So the answer to your second question is you do not (can not) use the backup zip file with ArcGIS Pro – you have to keep using the .aprx file in your original project folder. The backup is only for if something goes wrong with your original project folder.
IF you need to restore / return to / use a backup version you would need to Unzip it (uncompress it), which would create a new copy of the your project folder, with geodatabase(s), .aprx file, etc. that you could open and use.
Some of my labels didn’t convert to Annotation…
One of the ‘clever’ things about Labels (which are automatically placed) is that if there are too many labels (i.e., the map area is too crowded) then Pro will only display some of the Labels. One downside of this is that if you convert your Labels to Annotation it will likewise (by default) only convert those labels that are being displayed – and you end up not having annotation for the features that weren’t being labeled… But you don’t have to accept this default behavior (of course).
So if you find that your Annotation feature class is missing text for some of the features you can either:
- Simply add the missing annotation manually
- Re-do the Convert Labels to Annotation process and change the default settings
For the detailed write-up on this, see: https://huxley.wwu.edu/sal/tut-pro-labels-anno (specifically the section on ALL of the Labels to Annotation).
Here’s the quick version:
To convert ALL of the labels to annotation (even if they weren’t being displayed on the map):
- In the Convert Labels to Annotation pane CHECK the box for Convert unplaced labels to unplaced annotation
- These ‘unplaced’ annotation features still won’t be visible (by default) but at least they will be in the database…
To ‘Place’ annotation that is ‘Unplaced’ (i.e., make it visible on the map):
- Open the Attribute table for the Annotation feature class
- Select an annotation text string and change the value of the Status field from Unplaced to Placed
To ‘Place’ ALL of the ‘Unplaced’ annotation at once:
- Open the Attribute table for the Annotation feature class
- Right-click on the Status field to choose Calculate Field
- In the Calculate Field pane, enter 0 for the value to be calculated (for the Status field)
- i.e., Status = 0
My newly created Annotation layer isn’t in my Geodatabase…
When you create a new annotation feature class it should be created / stored (by default) in the Project’s Default Geodatabase (similar to when you create new data via any Geoprocessing tool). You can override this if you want, and store the new data in whatever geodatabase you wish, but for most projects using the Default Geodatabase is a good place. However, when you open your geodatabase in Catalog your new feature class may, or may not, appear to be there. If it’s not listed, the most common reason is that the geodatabase display needs to be refreshed. (Why you would have to manually do this is a mystery…)
• Open the Catalog pane
• Open / expand the Databases folder
• Open / expand the Default geodatabase (the main project geodatabase)
• Right-click on the Default geodatabase and choose Refresh
• All of the feature classes in the geodatabase should now be displayed…
How do I edit my annotation?
Labels (which are generated directly and dynamically from feature attributes and placed on the map dynamically) can be converted to Annotation Features in an Annotation Feature Class. Annotation features can be edited – both in what they say and where they are located. You can also modify the font / size / color / style of annotation features individually (as opposed to changing the Label style for an entire group of labels).
EDITING Annotation Features:
• To edit annotation features use the Edit ribbon (from either a Map View or a Layout View with the Map Frame Activated)
• On the Edit ribbon there is a Select tool and a Clear button (which are similar to the Select / Clear tools on the Map ribbon)
• If you select a piece of annotation text you can reposition it using the Move tool (also from the Edit ribbon)
• (Use the Finish icon on the Edit toolbar to complete the edit)
• Also, with a piece of annotation text selected, you can open the Attributes pane from the Edit ribbon
• In the Attributes pane you can change the wording, stack the text, change the font size, color, symbol, etc.
• Once you are done editing the annotation you can use Clear to unselect
• Use the Save icon (on the Edit ribbon) to save your edits
How do I change the label for an attribute field (in Contents and/or Legend)?
One method is to open the Fields table for the layer. In the Fields table you can modify the Alias for the field. Click Save and close the Fields table when you are done. This should change the field heading in the layer’s attribute table as well as how it appears in the Symbology pane and the Contents pane. If you have already applied the symbology using the original field name (before you set an alias) you may need to refresh your symbology (change to some other field temporarily and then choose your newly aliased field again to refresh the display).
You can also modify the text directly in in the Contents pane: first click on the field name in the Contents to select it. Then click it again to shift it to edit mode. You can then type whatever you want to use as a label for that field.
Both methods should be reflected in the Legend.
Do we need to Project (or Define Projection) the data?
NO. You should not need to re-project any of the data for Labs 1, 2, 3 or 4. Instead, you will be setting the Coordinate System / Projection properties for the Map view. This controls how the data is displayed.
You can set whatever coordinate system / projection you want for the display of the map view and ArcGIS Pro will do a virtual re-projection of the data on-the-fly from whatever system the data is in to whatever system you are choosing for the display of the map.
How do I add an X- and Y- gap around the scale bar?
- Select your scale bar
- Right-click to choose Properties to open the Format Scale Bar pane (not the ribbon)
- In the Format Scale Bar pane:
- Scale Bar (drop down menu)
- Display tab
- Border: X gap and Y gap settings
- Background: X gap and Y gap settings
How do I get labels for the lat-long lines?
Labeling lat-long lines is important, especially for large-scale maps (for small-scale maps it may be less important if the purpose is just to show the curved shape of the planet). On a large-scale map the lat-long lines are meaningless (just lines on the page) unless they are labeled.
A. One method of showing lat-long lines is to Insert a Grid for a map frame in a layout. These grids are created as a property of the map frame and are drawn on top of the rest of the map (so they are shown on top of any feature symbology or text in the map itself). You can set the units and the spacing increment for a Grid as well as how the lines and the labels are shown. Because these labels are a property of the map frame they are shown at the edges of the map (just outside the frame) which removes clutter from the map itself. One of the downsides of this method is that the because the Grid lines are drawn on top of the map you can’t create a figure-ground effect by placing the lat-long lines behind/below the land…
B. A second method is to use a lat-long line feature class to show the lat-long lines. Many of these exist, and often the have attributes to enable the use of all lines or just the lines in certain increments (every 5 degrees vs. every 20 degrees, etc.). You can adjust the symbology of the lines as desired, and as a feature class these lines can be drawn above or below the land (for figure-ground, etc.). Like any other line feature class, lat-long lines can be labeled. Because they are features in the map the labels and/or annotation are likewise in / on the map itself (i.e., they can’t be placed outside the map frame on the layout).
C. A third option is a hybrid of A & B above. In this method one uses a lat-long feature class to show lines on the map (symboloized and arranged above/below land as desired) without labels. Then, to add labels, you can Insert a Grid (in the layout) for the map frame and show only the labels (i.e., do not show the Grid lines themselves). This method allows you to customize the symbology of the lines as you like (in the map) but still have labels that are outside of the map frame (at the edges). This requires first getting the Grid increments to match those used for the Lat-Long lines, and then turning off the Gridlines so that only the labels are shown. To create a Grid with labels only:
- Insert Grid / Black Horizontal Grid (or other template as desired)
- Open the Format Map Grid properties pane (right-click on the Grid in the Layout Contents)
- Under Map Grid / Options UNCHECK the box for Automatically Adjust
- Under Map Grid / Components select the Interval for Longitude and Latitude (to match your lat-long line feature class)
- Under Map Grid / Components select and the Remove (using the x) any Ticks or Gridlines Components (leaving ONLY the Labels)
- Under Map Grid / Components format the Appearance of the Labels as desired….
- Choose Labels from the Format Map Grid drop-down menu to set other display properties… (font, offset, color, halo, etc.)
Can I use Comic Sans? It’s my favorite font.
You can use whatever font you like. Just make sure it supports the overall goal of communication.
Comic Sans requires slightly more room than something like Arial or Verdana, so you make your job more difficult, but it’s up to you.
Questions from Lab 1
See also the Questions above…
See General Questions / response / links above…:
I converted my labels to anno but ‘India’ is missing…
When labels are converted to Annotation the software places the annotation in the middle of each polygon (i.e., in the middle of India) – not where the label was.
Label placement uses an algorithm to place the label in the ‘best’ location; Annotation puts the text feature in the middle of the polygon so that you can place it where you want it. Automatically generated and placed labels are easy, but annotation gives you far more power in terms of control. However, with great power come great responsibility (neither Peter Parker nor Voltaire)
Zoom out and/or Pan the map to where you can see the middle of India. Using the Edit tools, Select the India annotation text and Move it to where it will be visible in the layout.
How do I create custom annotation strings (for ‘Epicenter’ etc.)?
A feature class can contain graphic features (points, lines or polygons) or annotation features. To create / add features you need to use the Edit tools to create new features. The process is essentially the same for annotation as for creating new lines or polygons.
First create the empty Feature Class: Catalog / Databases / <yourGeodatabase>.gdb / <right-click> / New / Feature Class Name… Feature Class Type = Annotation Coordinate System… Reference Scale = Set this to approximately the finished scale that you will be using for your final map / layout- this is important Do NOT just use the default setting as it is unlikely that it will be what you want
Once you have your new annotation feature class you can add text string features: Zoom your map to the region where you wish the text string to be Scale your map view to approximately the MAP SCALE of your FINAL MAP (the map view in the layout) Edit ribbon Create (which should open the Create Feature pane) Select the feature class that you want to add features to (from the Create Features pane) Enter the text you wish to use for the annotation into the text box Click on the map at the location you wish to place the text string
You can then use the other Edit tools (move, rotate, etc.) to relocate the text string as desired.
Why can’t I add an X- and Y- gap to my legend?
A Legend itself does not have a Gap setting – but there are Gap settings for the Border, the Background and the Shadow. (note that before you can see these changes on the Layout you will have to make sure that the Border, Background and/or Shadow have a symbol color (i.e., aren’t transparent).
Format Legend (pane, not Ribbon) / Legend (drop-down menu) / Display (tab): X and Y Gap settings for Border, Background and Shadow
Note: The black box (w/white corner handles) that is shown when you have a Legend item selected does not reflect any of this. It is simply the (un-gapped) Legend item.
What should I use for the data credits?
For Maps 1-A and 1-B: ESRI, 2005
For Map 1-C: ESRI, 2005, 2014
For Map 1-O: Washington State Dept. Of Ecology, 2019
(along with ESRI for the basemap and optionally other data layers if used…)
Questions from Lab 2
What should I use for my data sources and dates for the static maps?
Refer to the instructions in the lab write-up for the different dates and sources of the various data layers.
Is it OK to use cross-hatching for map 2-A?
My Ocean fill isn’t showing up…
Make sure that any/all ESRI basemaps are turned OFF (or removed entirely). Not only are these basemaps forbidden for our static maps in this class, but they fill the entire map view and block any potential symbology changes you make to the Map Frame Background (if that is how you are symbolizing the ‘ocean’).
You could also use a data layer to symbolize the ocean (i.e., one of the Feature Classes in the geodatabases, instead of trying to symbolize the background of the map). Feature classes can be symbolized as you like (with more options than the Background) and can be quickly turned ON/OFF as you like (which can improve draw times). They can also be arranged where you want in the Contents draw order (i.e., on top of the ESRI basemap, which should be turned off anyway).
Which geodatabase should I use for my anno feature classes?
In your project Default geodatabase (the main geodatabase for the project).
An ArcGIS Pro Project folder should contain at least one ‘project geodatabase’ that has the same name as the main .aprx file and as the project folder itself. This is (by default) the Default Geodatabase where newly create data (annotation or other feature classes) are created and stored. You can change where you want to store data but in general the project Default Geodatabase is a pretty good place.
For the Map Series, the chart shows more than just the Index feature…
In the Chart Frame Properties choose: Only show chart data visible in the map frame AND Within the map series shape. By doing this the chart should only show data for the geographic area as defined by the particular feature in the Map Series Index layer (i.e., just the data for a specific island or country that is being used to define the map series page). The issue is that sometimes the Chart Frame doesn’t seem to do what it’s supposed to (i.e., these settings don’t always work and the Chart shows data for adjacent geographic areas as well).
A few students ran into this last quarter, with no real satisfactory answer as to why (or how to fix, once it happens). As best I can figure, it has something to do with the order of events (i.e., Inserting the Chart Frame before or after the Map Series or something like that)… We were never able to figure out exactly why some students ran into this but most did not… So, if this happens to you:
1) Just ignore it and post a comment when you submit your maps saying “Chart Property for ‘Within Map Series Shape’ Not Working” (and we’ll know that you tried and we’ll not worry about it)
2) Try again, with a different chart and/or different layout. Here are some options:
Quick Trial # 1 (and if this works you can proceed to rebuild the map series as required):
- Insert a new Chart Frame (into the Layout with the Map Series already created)
- Set the Chart Frame properties as specified (if needed – I think the default for a Chart Frame in a what we want)
This should only take a few seconds – and if it works then you can re-set the other Chart Frame properties in terms of size, etc.
Quick Trial # 2 (if #1 doesn’t work)
This took me less than a minute – and if it works, then you can copy / paste other Layout elements from your original layout to your new layout)
- Insert new layout
- + Map Frame
- + Map Series
- + Chart
Not so Quick # 3...
Return to the Map View and create a new chart – and insert this into your Layout. If this works, continue with the layout…
And for the record, here is what worked for me in terms of the specific order of events:
- In the Map View
- Create the Chart and get all of the properties set properly
- Add Layout
- Insert Map Frame
- Create Map Series (using the Index Layer)
- Insert Chart
- Specify ‘Within map series shape‘ for Chart Frame Properties
Should we use a title or a caption for the charts?
Full question: “I’ve worked with R and graphing and was taught to not put a title on graphs, instead we would have the caption below. For cartography is it preferred to have a title on the chart / graph? I feel like it is because it gives a brief descriptor to the graph where there is nothing else, besides the axis labels, to describe what the reader is looking at. And it seems with GIS we’re a little more closer to the general public and having to make things simple and understandable versus the science realm.”
I don’t think it matters nearly as much for Cartography, as long as the information is there. As with most things in cartography there aren’t any real rules, just guidelines. And yes, cartography is much more about communication with the general public and less constraints by a particular science or journalistic style.
R is more typically used to produce charts that will go in a publication, thus the tendency towards having the chart captioned below like a figure. I think ArcGIS Pro tends to favor the title within or above the chart partly because it’s easier to program the chart item as a block (with title, etc.). Depending on how much, and what else, you have on the page, I think it also helps unite the various chart elements (title, axis, etc.) with each other. If there are a lot of other elements (as there often are on a map and less so in an article) then keeping the title within a chart border helps keep everything clear.
If the map were going into an article it might have the chart separate (with both the map and the chart having their individual captions) or it might be a map with a chart, and a single caption at the bottom for both…
For Map 2-O, should the Heatmap layer be On / Visible
when zoomed in or when zoomed out?
The Heatmap layer should be ON when the map is zoomed OUT.
As you zoom in it should eventually turn OFF (and remain off for the more local scales of the map). Be sure your map has layers that turn on / off as the scale changes.
WHY we’d want this:
As one zooms in the heatmap style of symbology is less effective and less useful. Once you can no longer see the larger pattern of the ‘heatmap’ you only see a few colors. Not only is this harder to interpret without the rest of the pattern, but these colors are actually somewhat misleading in that they aren’t drawn from a particular data layer (they look like polygons but are simply drawn between and around points). For these reasons, one might choose (as I have) to NOT show the heatmap when zoomed in.
The desired result is a map that shows the cool heatmap pattern when zoomed out. And shows the more precise point data when zoomed in.
Point data, on the other hand, is hard to interpret when zoomed out and there are lots of overlapping/conflicting points. Thus the use of Cluster technique is appropriate for when the map is zoomed IN.
SAN JUANS: Which cities do we label for map 2-A?
Full question: “Do you want all towns to be labeled within the extent of Abbotsford, Colwood, and La Conner, or would you only like those specific Towns being labeled?”
ANY town with a population greater than 30,000 that is shown on the map should be labeled. The towns of Abbotsford, Colwood and La Conner are listed purely to define the spatial extent of the map. But any large town shown should be labeled.
CARIBBEAN: Are ‘Provincial Capitals’ considered ‘Capital Cities’?
What we want to show is the NATIONAL capital for each and every country. So if we have 13 countries we should have exactly 13 capitals. In the database these are referred to as National capitals (as opposed to State or Provincial capitals).
Some cities serve as BOTH the capital for the country AND for the capital of the local province. Since these are National capitals they need to be included (as one of our ‘capital cities’). These are listed as National and Provincial Capitals, and YES they need to be included on your map (since they are the capital of the nation).
Each country (polygon) should have one and only one capital city.
Questions from Lab 3
When I change one layout it changes my other layouts as well… Why?
I assume by ‘changes’ you mean things like edits to Annotation.
A Map View, or a Map Frame in a Layout use data layers. Data can be features (points, lines, etc.) or annotation. These data layers are, by design, separate from the layout or the map view. They are data and are stored in the geodatabase. If you EDIT the data (the points, lines, annotation) in a data layer it is changed in the geodatabase. And then ANY other Map View / Layout that uses the data layer will likewise reflect the change.
For example, imagine that I have a feature class of city points for Washington. I can add that data layer to as many maps as I like. But if I edit the data and move the point for Seattle out into the water than ANY and ALL of the maps that use that data layer will now show Seattle as being out in the water. Because I edited the DATA. Likewise if I change the name of Bellingham to Stefanham it will be changed on all of the maps (and any labels that are being created from that point layer). Or if I edit an annotation string, it will be changed in every map that uses that annotation.
The advantage of using feature classes (points, lines OR ANNOTATION) is that it can be reused. So you don’t have to recreate text for each map you make. But this becomes a disadvantage if you want to customize / tweak the features for one map without effecting other maps (and again, this comes up most often for annotation). You may want to just tweak the data for one map, but you CAN’T. If you tweak the annotation is will be changed in all or your maps… (just like if you had moved Seattle out into the bay).
HOW TO AVOID THIS…
If you need to tweak / customize annotation (or anything else) for a particular map you need to have a feature class that ISN’T being used for your other maps. So you could either Copy / Paste your annotation feature class (in the CATALOG PANE, not the Map Contents) OR you can simply create a new annotation feature class. And then you tweak the new annotation layer, leaving the one you had alone so that the old map isn’t altered.
There are, of course, more sophisticated ways of creating multiple versions of certain features within a single annotation feature class, some of which could be used for one map and others for other maps… but for now, simply creating multiple annotation feature classes is probably the way to go. So you might have Cities_Anno_Map2a and Cities_Anno_Map_3, etc.
PS – locking a map frame (in a layout) prevents it from being panned / zoomed / moved / etc. – but does not lock the data (because, again, the data is separate from the map so that it can be used in other maps…
I’m trying to add a Leader Line but it won’t show up…
Having set the properties for the Leader Lines (for the Labels) and then converted the labels to annotation, try editing / moving one piece of annotation to see if the leader line appears.
Leader line are kind of weird in ArcGIS Pro. See: https://huxley.wwu.edu/sal/tut-pro-leader-line
How do I make curved (‘splined’) text?
You can either choose a label style that is curved to begin with (in which case all of the annotation that is created will have a curve ‘potential’ built into the text string. Or you can add the ability to curve an existing (straight) annotation text string by changing the underlying line segment (that the annotation text follows) from a straight line to a Bezier Curve:
- From the Edit ribbon, select a piece of annotation
- Click the Edit Vertices option in the ribbon (this should show the line upon which the anno is drawn)
- Right-click on the anno’s baseline (the line under the letters) and choose Change Segment / To Bezier Curve
- You can now tweak the curves using the vertex ‘handles’
- Add (or remove) vertices as needed… (I find that often having just two vertices, one at each end of the line, is best)
- See also: https://huxley.wwu.edu/sal/tut-pro-curved-anno
CARIBBEAN: Nassava (or Mona) Island is missing… Should I skip it?
No, you should not.
It’s true. Some of the features you want (i.e., are required) to label on a map may not be included in the data set that you happen to have… (the same is true for features like the Panama Canal or the mountains).
How you solve this is up to you, but I wouldn’t skip it just because it’s not in the data you have… If your boss asks you to label something for a map would you just not bother if your data didn’t include that feature??
For Map 3-O can I create my own data for my chosen topic? How?
Sure, you’re welcome to choose whatever you want for a topic and to create your own data if needed.
As for data creation, there are two options. One is to create a feature class in Pro and Share that to a web layer. I’d recommend creating a new Map View that has only the one layer in it and Sharing that to a web layer (otherwise Pro wants to export everything else in the Map view also). Once it’s uploaded to your ArcGIS Online account (as a Feature Service) you can add it to whatever maps (in Pro or ArcGIS Online) that you want.
The other option would be to start your ArcGIS Online Web Map (pre-StoryMap) in the old Map Viewer. In the old Map Viewer you can create Map Notes (points or text) that are saved as part of your Map. You then would need to Save that map and then Open it in the new Map Viewer Beta for further development. You can’t create Map Notes in the new Viewer, but if you open an existing map that has Map Notes the display just fine.
Either way should work. And the final results would be similar. Creating a feature class in Pro is slightly more work, but gives you more flexibility (and you would be able to edit the data later if you needed to).
San Juans: How do I add “Islands’ to end of labels (and thus Anno)?
You can add text to labels by using a Label Expression (not to be confused with a Label SQL Query Expression). The basic idea is to add a text string to whatever attributes that are being used in the label.
Having added labels (using whatever field you wish) click on the Expression icon to the right of the Field drop-down-menu box in the Labeling ribbon. This should open the Label Properties pane to the Label Expression sub-tab.
In the label expression, instead of using just a field name
something like: $feature.NAME
you can add a text string to the field. For example:
$feature.NAME + ” Island”
This will add the word Island after each label. Note the use of the + sign to add a text string and the ” ” marks for the text string. Note also the inclusion of the space before the word Island (so you get Orcas Island instead of OrcasIsland).
These examples use the Arcade Language. See Help files for more information or for creating label expressions in other languages…
How to change the color of all (or many) anno text strings?
You can change the color / size / font / style / etc. of a single annotation text string by selecting it with the Edit ribbon Select tool and then opening the Attributes pane (from the Edit ribbon). Choose the Annotation tab (as opposed to the Attributes tab) and then make symbology changes as desired. Click the Symbol button for more properties.
If you want to change the color of more than one text string (or all of the text strings) select those that you want (using the Edit ribbon Select tool or by opening the anno Attribute table, etc.). With multiple text strings selected, open the Attributes pane (as above).
In the Attributes pane, you should see a list of all of the text strings you that are selected. Either select them all in the list (select the top one, scroll down and use Shift-click to select the last one and all in between) OR click on the layer name above the list (which will then apply changes to the full list). Make changes to the Symbology as desired, which will be applied to all of the text strings in the list.
Save your Edits.