ArcGIS Living Atlas

How to find (and style!) detailed water polygons for your map

I often struggle to find high resolution polygons for things that tend to change, like water, urban, ice, whatever. Here’s how you can wrangle some up-to-date, detailed, water polygons for your small or medium scale maps (plus five different ways you can style them up)…

Here’s the gist…

0:00 Large scale vs small scale
0:42 Sentinel-2 Land Cover Explorer (get ready to live)
1:13 Download land cover data
1:33 Isolate a section of the image
2:44 Optional step to extract only water (or whatever)
3:07 Converting the raster image to polygons
3:31 Filtering polygons to only water
4:33 Styling: wavy water fill
5:21 Styling: coastal gradients
6:01 Styling: old-school rippled water rings
7:13 Styling: beveled edge water
7:59 Styling: stylistic pattern fill
8:30 Other land cover features you can use this on

Accessing this sort of high res, timely, data used to be super hard, or expensive, or impossible. The ability to explore high resolution land cover data, all over the earth, across six years of collection, is A) a ton of fun, and B) remarkably useful for your cartographic adventures. Check out this great resource and start packing your maps with all sorts of detailed and current watery goodness.

Happy Mapping! John

About the author

I have far too much fun looking for ways to understand and present data visually, hopefully driving product strategy and engaging users. I work in the ArcGIS Living Atlas team at Esri, pushing and pulling data in all sorts of absurd ways and then sharing the process. I also design user experiences for maps and apps. When I'm not doing those things, I'm chasing around toddlers and wrangling chickens, and generally getting into other ad-hoc adventures. Life is good. You might also like these Styles for ArcGIS Pro:

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