ArcGIS Pro

How to make this map of Indonesia

Here is a map of the area around Indonesia. It sports a pretty dramatic vignette, a sculpted terrain, rippley water lines, a paper texture, and that crazy glassy overview map. And it was made entirely in ArcGIS Pro.

The islands of Indonesia. Click to embiggen.

For your carto-adventure edification, I’ve made a two-part video series showing how to make it. I’ll also list the steps beneath each video if you wisely decide you can’t abide my nasally Midwestern narration.

0:00 Intro. Set the hook…

0:13 Grabbing a big ocean polygon from Natural Earth.

1:38 Pulling in the glorious World Imagery basemap (coordinated by well-rounded, passionate, results-driven, Living Atlas colleague Robert Waterman; hero of basemaps).

2:05 Pulling in regular, and dark, hillshade (coordinated by masterful terrain-slinging Living Atlas colleague, Rajinder Nagi; champion of elevation).

2:40 Using blend modes to digitally stitch the hillshade texture to the imagery colors for a terrain that looks carved out of play-doh.

4:05 Ditching Web Mercator in favor of the charmingly-orthographic World from Space projection…and changing its center to Indonesia.

5:33 Creating a new layout to fit a typical 1920 x 1080 monitor.

6:02 Big margin and neatline. Just kidding, we’ll take this map right to the edge. And crush the neatline into oblivion.

6:59 How to work with that basemap credits text. You aren’t stuck with it as-is! Endlessly grateful to Heather Smith for teaching me this.

7:47 Oh goodness, here we go with the gradient! Ah a nice circular smooth gradient to inject some vignette loveliness into our map.

9:38 Adding in a complete hack sandy coast bevel effect.

12:03 Using buffers to create coastally-radiating water lines? No way! Just use symbol layers so it dynamically draws well at all scales!

15:44 Bring in some papery texture. Give this map a bit of tactile realism. Here’s where you can download the paper texture image I used. Then blend it into the map.

0:00 Re-cap. You don’t need to trouble yourself with this.

0:15 LAND! We’ll grab some moderate-precision polygons from the generous and handy Natural Earth.

0:36 Inserting a new map into the Pro project, and adding the land layer.

0:54 Applying the Indonesia-specific version of the World from Space projection.

1:12 Adding this simple overview map into the layout.

1:27 Dissolving all the land polygons into a single mega multi-part polygon using the Dissolve tool. If you assign no dissolve field, it just dissolves everything. 🙂

2:45 Giving this global land polygon a smooth circular gradient. White in the middle and transparent white at the edge.

3:40 Ah, the extent indicator! A handy little rectangle that dynamically knows where to draw a view extent on your overview map. Check it.

3:49 An extent indicator is just another polygon so we can style it up with all the glassy/shadowy tricks we have up our sleeves.

5:19 Smiting that default map frame outline.

6:10 Don’t forget to add/style the data credits! And always sign your work.

Well thank you friends for coming along on this fantastic map voyage! If you use some, or all, of these tricks in a map you’re working on believe me when I tell you I would love to see it. Feel free to share a link in the comments or email or socials or whatever!

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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