M. Murad-al-shaikh

ESRI, Inc., Training Dept, Redlands, USA


Many organizations have adopted a Geographic Information System (GIS) to assist in their demanding projects. At first they were more worried about building the database and getting trained on the use of the GIS software in performing analysis. They were, then, not so much interested in cartography. But, as skills developed, users started asking for more tools on how to improve their maps.

GIS software has introduced and improved several cartographic tools that can help the map maker automate all aspects of cartographic visualization and rendering of the map with minimum of efforts. This has certainly introduced new challenges in cartographic training; where instructor-led as well as Internet courses dedicated to serve the GIS user community were needed to be developed. The concept of a digital cartographic database and how an organization should consider cartography even at the onset of its database design efforts, has certainly introduced an added challenge on how teaching database design with cartography in mind has changed.

The objective of this paper is to introduce those sophisticated tools that will help automate the mapping efforts, to produce quality maps that are worthy of the time spent on complicated analysis, and clearly and impressively visualize the results.

A sample of the tools that will be discussed are those to automate labeling and annotation, those to enhance map readability and figure-ground effect, and those to improve the map layout and symbology, to name but few; all in compliance with the international cartographic standards.