ArcGIS Living Atlas

How to make this vintage basemap in ArcGIS Online

With a handful of tricks, you can turn the most minimalist basemap into something positively decadent. In this video you’ll see the thoughtful and intentional use of blend modes, surprisingly simple use of the Vector Tile Style Editor, reckless and wild use of effects, and a blatantly mischievous use of paper textures from Living Atlas.

We’ll start with this, the Human Geography Khaki basemap and turn it into the Georgian-era-looking basemap thing…

before and after comparison

The process is mostly one of fun exploration of effects in the form of fast and intuitive messing about with sliders. Here’s a how-to, if you’d like to see the process and follow along. And here is the Georgian basemap, itself, if you’d like to check it out or use it in one of your maps.

If you are like me, and just skipped to the end to see the results, here is how (in the event you liked the results) to add the Georgian basemap to your web map. Note: this map uses effects so it will not render as designed in ArcGIS Pro. It will work in the ArcGIS Online Map Viewer and apps.

Using This Basemap in an Existing Map

Here’s how you can make it your web map’s basemap. In the list of webmap options (Georgian won’t be in your list), find the Living Atlas button at the bottom:

choose to search Living Atlas for a basemap

Then search Living Atlas for Georgian:

search Living Atlas for Georgian

Then, just, like, add it:

you've made Georgian the basemap!

Here are some snapshots of the Georgian basemap…

Georgian basemap example
Georgian basemap example
Georgian basemap example
Georgian basemap example

And guess what? If you want to change it up, you totally can! Get some inspiration from the video to push and pull this basemap style in any direction you want. The visual capabilities for customization are brimming with opportunity. Have fun!

Love, John

P.S. The Old Timey labels are also available in Living Atlas if you’d like to give your basemap reference an 18th Century vibe.

labels set in an old-time font go a long way in giving a map a period effect

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: esriurl.com/nelsonstyles

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