ArcGIS Living Atlas

Texture Tiles

Remember unfolding that crisp new map at the onset of roadtrip planning…and then trying to re-fold it back into submission? Over time the maps we love get a lived-in feel of texture and utility. They aren’t unsightly wrinkles or creases, they are earned marks of a partnership between the map reader and the map.

One of the joys of print cartography is the knowledge that the result will be handled, traced, folded, pocketed, rolled-up, tattered, spilled on, and in general loved by its reader. Oh, and digital cartography too!

Here are five vector tile layers that you can drape atop your map to breathe a little bit of tactile life into it…

Folded Paper Texture

Just admit it. You’ll never get this folded back the original way.

Map with a folded paper texture.

Watercolor Paper Texture

I just want to pencil in some notes right on top of this map.

Map with a watercolor paper texture.

Parchment Texture

Hey this map looks like it was ripped right out of a library book!

Map with a parchment texture.

Crinkled Paper Texture

If this map could talk! I want to grab it with my fist and stuff it into my duster pocket for a fast getaway.

Poster Paper Texture

Ok ok, I see, just a little bit of fade and grain; looks like it could be plastered on the wall outside of a theater.

Map with a poster paper texture.

See? Imbue a sense of story and tactile charm right into your map.



Here is an ArcGIS Online group where you can peruse them all at once. Looking forward to seeing your rough-up, folded-up, dusted-up lived in maps!

Happy texture 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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