What happened to the Map Critique Station?

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

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Please note that this is a re-post of this blog entry.

In the past, you may have noticed or visited the Map Critique Station at the Esri User Conference (UC). This year, we’re taking a different approach to helping you improve your maps. Instead of the Map Critique Station, we’re providing a complete set of map evaluation resources that you can access before, during, and after the UC.

We want to give you the ability to improve your own maps through a better appreciation of what works and what doesn’t, rather than relying on external resources like Esri’s cartographers. Our goal is to teach about this very important part of map making and allow you to repeat the evaluation process with any map you make or your colleagues make.

Before UC

We’re developing a map evaluation checklist that will be posted on Esri’s Mapping Center on the ArcGIS Resources page. This document will give you a set of best practices to consider as you develop your maps.


We’re hosting three offerings of a 75-minute technical workshop session entitled “Value Your Maps: A Checklist to Map Evaluation.” This workshop, hosted by Esri’s Ken Field (Editor of The Cartographic Journal) and Allen Carroll (former Chief Cartographer for the National Geographic Society), will teach you how to objectively evaluate your own maps using the map evaluation checklist. It will be offered at the following times:

If you can’t make it to one of these sessions, you’ll be able to pick-up the checklist at either the ArcMap island in the Esri Showcase or the Map Gallery kiosk.

After UC

We’re working on a series of map making and evaluation articles that will be featured in ArcUser. Articles such as “Making Meaningful Maps” and “Choosing an Appropriate Map Projection” will include examples that illustrate many of the same challenges you probably face with your own maps.

We hope these resources together will provide you with the information and techniques you need to make your maps great. The ability to reflect on and evaluate your own maps is an important skill for great cartographic design and should help you better communicate your intended messages through your maps.

About the author

Dr. Aileen Buckley is a cartographer who’s been at Esri since 2003. She finds and shares best practices for mapping and analysis with ArcGIS, which leads her to publish widely and present world-wide.

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