Important Note

Tufts ended funding for its Open Courseware initiative in 2014. We are now planning to retire this site on June 30, 2018. Content will be available for Tufts contributors after that date. If you have any questions about this please write to

Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Barbara Parmenter, Ph.D.

1. Assignment 3 - Basic Mapping (10 points)

Introduction to GIS for Urban and Environmental Analysis

Barbara Parmenter, PhD, Tufts University, 2007

Format : Text or PDF document (Note: the maps can be in one document, or can be posted/turned in as clearly labeled individual maps)

Please see the Cartography Tip Sheet for guidance. 

Based on what you have learned in the GIS tutorials using the Somerville and MassGIS data and the tutorials in the textbook, use ArcGIS to create six good maps of Somerville or another area of interest to you (potentially your project area if you have a project idea). Each map should show a different aspect of the area (e.g., transportation, land use, environment, aerial photography, the built environment, topography). Each map should have an inset map showing the general location of the larger map (Creating a Map with ArcMap in Session 2 tells how to do this).

Feel free to use any you can download from the internet - see the [Data Resources] link on the main GIS wiki), not just what you used in the tutorials. Your map should have a legend (with the layers named to make sense, not data-speak), a title, scale, north arrow, and information about you, the cartographer, and where the data sets came from (to your best knowledge).

Only include in the legend items that make sense (e.g., an aerial photo does not need to be listed in the legend as an aerial photo - it is pretty obvious what it is!).

Each map should use the same layout framework (e.g., the same position for the map frame, title, scale, etc.). Once you create the first layout, save the map file to an appropriate name (e.g., land_use) and print that, then change the visible layers and save it to a second map file (e.g., built_environment), print that, then create a third mapfile (e.g., aerial_view) and save that. By saving each version as a different map file, you can easily pull each up again by opening that map file.

Try to have as little white space as possible on your map (page space with nothing on it). Use the File-Page and Print Set-up function to change the page between portrait and landscape depending on the best fit of your map (Somerville is tough because it slants!). Enlarge your map to the maximum extent possible, and place the title, scale bar and other info into the white spaces that are left over from the map.

Look at the Cartography Tip Sheet for more guidance.