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 has been making maps since she was an undergraduate student. She has a Bachelors in Geography and Spanish from Valparaiso University, a Masters in Geography from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in Geography from Oregon State University. She is a senior product engineer on the Living Atlas team, and her work focuses on determining and sharing best practices for mapping and analysis with modern GIS. She publishes and presents world-wide on many aspects of mapping and GIS. She is a co-author of Map Use: Reading, Analysis, Interpretation, and she is a co-editor for the Atlas of Oregon. Aileen is a former president of CaGIS (the U.S. cartographic association) and is actively involved with the International Cartographic Association in which she is the lead delegate for the United States.

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