Up and Running with ArcGIS
Illustration by John Hersey

Inserting a locator map


Up and Running with ArcGIS

with Adam Wilbert

Video: Inserting a locator map

The page layout view allows us to create multiple maps on the same page.

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Watch the Online Video Course Up and Running with ArcGIS
3h 13m Beginner Mar 11, 2014

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Get up and running with ArcGIS, a true geographic information system (GIS) that allows you to dig into highly accurate geospatial data in a way other mapping applications can't compete with. It's great creating maps, analyzing data for land use studies and other reports, and preparing data for use in an application or database. Let Adam Wilbert show you how to display, analyze, and illustrate geospatial data with ArcGIS. He explores how to import data from multiple sources, manage it with the ArcGIS catalog, and then start making maps. Learn how to lay out your data in the ArcMap component; add symbols, scale bars, and legends; and get your maps out of ArcGIS and into the real world, whether it's for printing or export to another application.

Topics include:
  • Understanding vector vs. raster data
  • Modifying metadata
  • Adding data to a map
  • Importing data from online providers
  • Labeling features
  • Joining data
  • Clipping data to a study area
  • Working with map layouts
  • Creating a legend
  • Printing and exporting the map to a file
Business Developer IT
Adam Wilbert

Inserting a locator map

The page layout view allows us to create multiple maps on the same page. This can be useful for creating a locator or overview map to help orient the reader to our area of focus. Let me show you how that's done. In order to start we need to create a data frame like going up to the Insert menu and inserting a Data Frame here. That'll add a New Data Frame to our Table of Contents. Let's go ahead and add some data into this. I'll go over to the Catalog pane over here. I'll go into my Data Files. And in the Global folder, I'm going to go ahead and grab the Admin States and Provinces file from this geodata base.

I'm going to drag and drop it into the New Data Frame. And I'm also going to grab, from the Catalog, the Bounding Box here. I'll drag and drop that down below here. Now I see that we got a new data frame here on our map layout let's go ahead and quickly style these elements so that I can visualize it a little better. I'll click on the patch here and I'll change its styling to this blue style go ahead and say Okay. I'll go ahead and click on the patch for the States and Provinces layer and I'm going to scroll down and choose this gray layer here. Now we need to zoom our map in and choose an appropriate projection for our locator map.

We'll go ahead and double click on the data frame layer here and switch over to the Coordinate System tab. Let's go down and cho find a coordinate system that matches the United States. We'll go into Projected Coordinate Systems > Continental > North America. And I'm going to scroll down the list until I get to USA continuous Allgers Equal Area Conic USGS. Go ahead and select that and say Apply. And we're going to say Okay to this warning that a transformation is going to happen. So we'll say Okay to that. And you'll notice in the background that our map has changed here. Let's also while we're here in the Data Frame Properties, switch up to this Extent Indicators tab here.

Here we can tell ArcMap that we want this data frame to draw a box around the area of focus from another data frame. So here I'm going to choose this Layers data frame here, which represents what our main portion of our map is. And I'm going to move it over here to Show extent indicators for these data frames here. We'll say Apply and go ahead and say Yes to that. And you notice it updates, so now we get a little red box around our area of focus here in Washington state. Okay. Let's go ahead and say Okay to the Data Frame Properties window. And we'll Accept this warning once again. And now, I need to zoom in this map area to the area of the United States.

So we'll use our standard zoom in tool here. And I'll drag a box around the United States there. And that'll zoom in, and maybe I just reposition this just a little bit better, like so. And I'll use the pan tool to really fine tune this position here. Now it's just a matter of taking this data frame and putting it into an appropriate position on our map. For that, I want to use the Select tool here and I'm just going to grab the new data frame and I can position that wherever it makes most sense. We can resize it and scale it however we need. And it might take a little bit of fine tuning to get this thing into the right position.

And I'm going to pan it just a little more here. And the last thing I'm going to do is style this just a little bit more, I'm going to take this dark black outline here, and maybe change it to a lighter gray so it doesn't stand out so much. I don't want this to be the focus of my attention. I want this main part of the map to hold the focus for our readers here. So I'll continue working on this, but after adding a second or even a third or fourth data frame to your layout, allows you to display multiple study areas on one sheet of paper. Or, as we've seen here, it can give you the opportunity to help orient your map readers by giving context to the main topic of your map.

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