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Project 5 Thematic Maps Aaron Henning & Carl Sherlock Thematic Maps Basics Transfer geographic data into geographic information Highlight one attribute’s geographic distribution Single purpose or “theme” in mind Review: Reference maps portray many attributes and features

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Project 5 Thematic Maps

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Project 5 thematic maps l.jpg

Project 5Thematic Maps

Aaron Henning & Carl Sherlock

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Thematic Maps Basics

  • Transfer geographic data into geographic information

  • Highlight one attribute’s geographic distribution

  • Single purpose or “theme” in mind

  • Review: Reference maps portray many attributes and features

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Reference vs. Thematic

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Thematic Maps

  • Use abstract, graphic symbols that represent the quantities and qualities that make locations meaningful

  • The use of colors and symbols to project attribute data

  • Attribute data examples: density, counts, rates, etc.

  • Cynthia Brewer’s presentation

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Thematic Mapping

  • Counts

    • Showing a symbol for each individual or group of individuals

    • Fails when many individuals or groups are present and/or when location is unknown

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Thematic Mapping

  • Porportional Symbol Maps

    • Also called graduated symbol maps

    • They represent classes of counts not individual counts

    • Useful for counts that lack location

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Thematic Mapping

  • Chloropleth – “place” & “value”

    • Involves coloring geographic areas to represent categories of rates or densities

    • Most common type of thematic map

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Thematic Mapping

Pie Chart

  • Rates and densities

    • Simply one count divided by another count

    • In densities, the divisor is the magnitude of a geographic area

    • Can be in various formats

Bar Graph

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Starting the Project

  • Go to

  • Left side menu, hover cursor over “DATA SETS”

  • Click on “Decennial Census”

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  • Making sure you are selecting “Census 2000 Summary File 1”, choose “Thematic Maps” on right hand menu

  • Select “county” under geographic type

  • Select your state, then select your county, and hit “Next”

  • This will display all of the data themes that can be displayed on a map  pick one and click “Show Result”

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  • Directly above map where it says “Display map by:”, select “Census Tract” from drop-down menu

  • Adjust zoom and pan to make data as visible as possible

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  • At top of left side menu under “Change…”, select “data classes”

  • From here you can change classing method, color scheme, and number of classes

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Classing Methods Review

  • Quantile (percentile)

    • Equal number of featuresin each class

  • Equal Interval

    • Equal range of valuesin each class

  • Natural Breaks

    • Divides features and/or range of values according to pre-existing groupings or divisions

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  • When finished customizing, right click map and select “Save picture as...” (repeat for legend)

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  • You have now successfully found and downloaded all data for your first map

  • For this project, you need a total of 3 maps

    • At least one needs to be of ACS Data

    • From FactFinder homepage, hover over “Data Sets” and click on “American Community Survey” and follow same process

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Think about this, it will help you with the write-up

  • Take a moment to analyze your map – why is the data how it is?

  • Why does the tract that corresponds to campus and downtown have the lowest percent of persons under 18?

Map 1: Percent Persons Under 18 Years of Age

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Finding Map Scale

  • In bottom left corner of your map image, it will tell you distance across (Dg)

  • The actual width of the image is ~6” (Dm)

  • Remember the formula?

    S = Dm / Dg

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  • Thematic Mapping

  • Attribute data transformed into useful geographic information

  • Designed with a central purpose or theme

  • Different types of data are represented in different ways

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  • Baxter, Ryan. Census Mapping and Thematic Maps. GEOG 121 Lecture. 11/20/06

  • Brewer, Cynthia. Cartographic Inspirations for Designing Better Data Visualizations. GEOG 121 Guest Presentation. 10/11/06

  • Census Bureau FactFinder. Accessed 11/20/06.

  • ESRI Virtual Campus: Module 6. Accessed 11/19/06.

  • The Pennsylvanian Marketing and Planning Center. Accessed 11/20/06.

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  • Aaron Henning –

  • Carl Sherlock –


  • Course Example


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