Why we love it
Though we often think of GIS as focused on the earth, ArcGIS Pro is powerful enough to map the heavens above. We love how this star chart and companion story map use vivid illustrations and clear explanations for celestial mapping terms such as coordinates and constellation boundaries. The charts make great use of color and labels, and the map offers a beautiful depiction of the arc of the Milky Way across the sky. Minimal constellation figures in the overview maps help us to quickly orient ourselves in the night sky.
Why it works
This map presents the endeavor of charting the stars as an approachable map-making process, using clever cartographic techniques for visualization. The graduated symbology represents the stars’ relative brightness. This gives the chart depth atop intuitive nighttime colors. Larger areas of the night sky are made prominent by a smart labeling hierarchy, while annotation further enhances the labels. A clean layout brings together Northern and Southern hemisphere charts. Each technique makes this very dense dataset beautifully legible.
Heather Gabriel Smith
Heather Smith is a cartographer and artist. She works at Esri designing and testing symbology features in ArcGIS Pro.