ArcGIS Living Atlas

One Minute Map Hacks: 51-55

Hacks 1-5
Hacks 6-10
Hacks 11-15
Hacks 16-20
Hacks 21-25
Hacks 26-30
Hacks 31-35
Hacks 36-40
Hacks 41-45
Hacks 46-50

Back for more, or have you accidentally clicked this link? I’ll just blissfully presume the first and present to you five more one-minute hacks for your mapping arsenal. We’re up to 55 hacks, if you can believe it. So if you are feeling dangerous, settle in and and share the next five minutes (checks notes…oh shoot, these add up to 6 minutes 12 seconds) with me as we skate through some maybe-educational mappery…

Honestly, many of these “hacks” are just short demonstrations of using a feature just as it was intended. But not this one. This is an honest to goodness willful mis-use of unsuspecting tools. If you run a hillshade on a slope layer, you inadvertently (or vertently, if you are actually trying it out) creating a vertical edge enhancement. All those terraces and coastlines crisp right up.


Terrain artist Sean Fleming leans heavily on calculating slope from elevation models to make his hillshades “crispy.” This hack shows how to make a hillshade map without ever even breaking out the hillshade tool.

Here is a super sneaky, non-technical, surprisingly handy, way to make a complex multivariate point symbol in ArcGIS Pro by making duplicate versions of a layer and offsetting them.

Knowing where something isn’t can be just as important as where it is. Spatial selection doesn’t care; spatial selection just takes what it wants.

If you haven’t seen this map by Warren Davison yet, then by all means check it out; I’ll wait here. Back? Ok, here’s a way to randomly sprinkle happy little SVG trees around your map. Doesn’t have to be trees, doesn’t have to be SVGs, and it doesn’t have to be random. But once you get playing with this you’ll have all manner of repeating symbol marker skills to wield and pretty much nothing will be able to stop you.

Well thank you for wisely investing six minutes twelve seconds of your allotted time on this earth with me as we talk maps and hacks and map hacks. It was fun. We should do this again for the next installment of hacks 56-60. Until then, please commit all of these to memory.

Love, 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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