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Create a map series

Map Series gives you the ability to generate a set of output pages by taking a single layout and iterating over a set of map extents. The extents are defined by the features in a layer and are sometimes called tiles, sections, or areas of interest (AOI). The layer that defines the extents is referred to as an index layer. Any feature layer can serve as the index layer. You create and customize one or multiple Map Series in your project on the Layout tab in the Page Setup group. The Map Series dialog box allows you to choose the Map Series type, and set options for Index Layer, Optional Fields, and Map Extent.

Enabling Map Series

The Enable check box enables Map Series for the layout. Unchecking the check box disables Map Series functionality. This check box needs to be checked to create, view, and utilize Map Series. If unchecked, any Map Series settings you made will be cleared. Map Series will restore the previous settings the next time you enable Map Series for the layout.

Map Series required elements

The four elements required for the creation of Map Series are as follows:

  • Map frame
  • Index layer
  • Name field
  • Sort field

Map frame

To create a map series, you'll need to choose a map frame from the Map Frame drop-down menu. The drop-down menu displays all the map frames in the project. Only a single map frame can be chosen at a time. The map extent of the map frame changes for each page in the map series. These map extents are driven by the spatial extent of features within the index layer.

Index layer

To create a map series, choose an index layer from the Layer drop-down list. The default index layer is the topmost polygon layer of the map frame. The index layer defines the geographic extent of the main map frame for each page in the map series. Each feature in the index layer drives, or defines, each page in the map series. The geographic extent of the feature helps define the map extent of the map frame for the page (this extent can be further customized under Map Extent). Attributes of the index layer provide values for other Map Series parameters.

This drop-down menu displays a list of layers from the map frame. You can choose any feature layer from the selected map frame for the index layer (as long as there is at least one feature in the layer).

Name field

Each page in the map series needs a name, and the names are taken from this field. As the map series iterates through the features in the index layer and each page is defined, the attribute value for the chosen name field is used as the page name.

Choose the name field from the list in the Name Field drop-down menu. The default is the first field using the string "name" in the field name. If there is no field using "name" in the field name, the default will use the first available valid field. You can choose to use a different field by selecting it from the drop-down menu.

This drop-down menu displays a list of applicable fields from the index layer. This list includes fields from a table joined to the index layer. These include short integer, long integer, and string.

To avoid confusion when working with a map series, you should choose a name field in which all values are unique. However, this is not required, and Map Series will accept null and duplicate values for page names.

Sort field

Pages in the map series need to be sorted. There needs to be a first page, a last page, and all the pages in between. The Sort Field provides the sorting logic and index for the pages. The first page of the series, or page 1, is determined based on the values of this field and whether the sort is in ascending order or descending order. The index always starts with 1 and ends with the number of pages created. This index changes when you change the sort field or refresh the pages after editing the sort field values.

Since sort order is required for Map Series to work, a default field is chosen each time a new index layer is selected. The default is the first field using the string "PageNumber" in the field name. In many cases, you may want to apply your own page number values. Often, these values also match the order in which you want to sort your pages. Again, these values may or may not match the page index number. If there is no field using "PageNumber" in the field name, Map Series will then use FID or ObjectID.

You can use a different field by choosing it from the drop-down menu. The drop-down menu displays a list of applicable fields from the index layer. This list includes fields from a table joined to the index layer. These include short integer, long integer, float, double, date, and string.

Map Series will accept null and duplicate values in the Sort Field, but you should try to avoid this whenever possible.

Optional fields

Map Series provides optional fields you can use to further customize your pages. These fields must be an attribute of the index layer or field from a table that is joined to the index layer. They include the following:

  • Group By
  • Page Number
  • First Page
  • Rotation
  • Spatial Reference

Group By

Map Series allows you to choose a field to group the pages of the series. For example, if you were making a map series of counties (or a subset of them) in the United States, you may want to keep the counties from each state together. In this case, you could choose the State filed from the Group By drop-down menu.

Page Number

Map Series also allows you to define a page number. The page number can be based on an index layer attribute. These values can be alphanumeric. For example, you can use Roman numerals or numbers with dashes to number your pages. If you're inserting pages between maps, you may be skipping page numbers as you populate this field.

For example, suppose you are designing a map book where there will be pages for 10 map features. You want the map book to include a title page, a table of contents, and an overview map, and you want tabular information to be inserted between each map page. You need to incorporate a number of files to get this final product. One of these documents is the map with the Map Series for the 10 map features. To account for the anticipated pages at the beginning of the map book and the inserted page between each map page, add a Page Number field to the index layer and populate the field as follows (the features have already been sorted accordingly):

Page Number

Page 4

Page 6

Page 8

Page 10

Page 12

Page 14

Page 16

Page 18

Page 20

Page 22

You select this field from the page number drop-down menu and create your map series. Note the difference between the table above (Page Number) with the one below (Page index, Page number, Page with count).

Page indexPage numberPage with count

1

Page 4

1 of 10

2

Page 6

2 of 10

3

Page 8

3 of 10

4

Page 10

4 of 10

5

Page 12

5 of 10

6

Page 14

6 of 10

7

Page 16

7 of 10

8

Page 18

8 of 10

9

Page 20

9 of 10

10

Page 22

10 of 10

This is an optional field. The drop-down menu is filtered to display applicable field types. This list includes fields from a table joined to the index layer. These include short integer, long integer, double, and text.

These page number field values can be used to drive dynamic text in the map layout. You can add dynamic text for the page index using the page number drop-down list on the Map Series dialog box, or you can apply the formatting tag Page <dyn type="page" property="page number"/> to an existing text element.

First Page

In some cases, you may want to start the map series pages at a page other than the first page. For example, you may want the first three pages in your map book to be for a title, a table of contents, and an overview map. The maps (the results of the map series PDF export) actually begin on page four. You enter 4 in the Page Number text box on the Map Series dialog box. If you have a dynamic text element for page numbers in your layout, you should see Page 4 displayed for the first map page. Remember, since this is the first map, the index number for this page is 1. If you wanted to export only this page, you would use 1 to identify the page in the Page Range text box even though the page number is 4.

To learn more about exporting, see Export Map Series.

Rotation

There are some use cases where you want to apply a map rotation to specific pages or all pages in your map series. For example, a common type of map series that requires map rotation is a strip map. A strip map often follows a linear feature. To make such a map series more readable, the map's page orientation is such that the linear feature draws from top to bottom and is centered on the page. This requires that the map frame be rotated.

This drop-down menu displays a list of applicable fields from the index layer. This list includes fields from a table joined to the index layer. These include short integer, long integer, float, and double.

Spatial Reference

There may be cases where you want to use specific spatial references for specific pages in your map series. You have three different ways to apply spatial references in Map Series. One way is to use the entire spatial reference string. This way, you can customize spatial reference parameters as you see fit.

Here is an example of a spatial reference string for geographic coordinate system WGS 1984:

GEOGCS ["GCS_WGS_1984",DATUM["D_WGS_1984",SPHEROID["WGS_1984",6378137,298.257223563]],PRIMEM["Greenwich",0],UNIT["Degree",0.0174532925199433]]

A drawback to using the spatial reference string is that it can be very long and cumbersome. It is too large to store in a shapefile. Another way to apply spatial references is to point to a projection file on disk if you have one. This can be a file local to your machine or a file on a network. You need to have the proper permission to these files.

Here is an example of the path to the WGS 1984 projection file:

C:\MyProjectionFiles\WGS 1984.prj.

The last way to apply spatial reference is to use factory codes. A factory code is an integer identifier that is unique by coordinate system. Custom coordinate systems have a factory code of 0. Factory codes can be stored as either short or long integers.

The factory code for geographic coordinate system WGS 1984 is 4326.

When you specify a Spatial Reference field, values from this field define the spatial reference of the map frame for each page in the map series. If the value in this field is null, incomplete, or otherwise unusable, Map Series will ignore the field and apply the last spatial reference used to the current page.

If you select a field for Spatial Reference, create Map Series (by clicking OK) and decide you do not want to use the field to drive spatial references, you can change the spatial reference from the drop-down menu.

This drop-down menu displays a list of applicable fields from the Index Layer. This list includes fields from a table joined to the Index Layer. These include short integer, long integer, and text. If you do not want to apply different spatial references to your pages, do not specify this field.

Map Extent

Best Fit

The Best Fit option provides a margin, measured along the horizontal or the vertical axis, between the edge of the map frame and the closet point of the index feature. The location of this closest point determines whether the margin is measured along the horizontal or the vertical. Other points of measurement may be larger than the specified fit. This is especially true for index features that are geometrically asymmetric or irregular. This is expected. A margin can be specified as a percentage, in map units, or in page units.

A percentage value of 100 percent places the closest point of the index feature adjacent to the edge of the map frame. The size, or distance, between map frame edges is calculated as a percentage of the distance, in map units, of the axis containing the closest point. For example, the closest point is along the vertical axis. The longest vertical length of the feature is 150 km. A margin percentage value set at 110 percent results in a map frame of (150 km * 110%) = 165 km, with a margin of 7.5 km on either side. Since the distance between the feature and the map frame edge along the horizontal axis is farther, the margin will be greater than 7.5 km. Values less than 100 percent shrink the data frame to an extent that is within the extent of the index feature.

Margins specified in map or page units are also measured from the edge of the map frame to the closest point of the index feature. Unlike percentage, the size value is applied to each side of the horizontal axis or the vertical axis. For example, a margin is set at 50 km. The closest point of the index feature is along the vertical axis. You should see a 50 km distance between the map frame edge and the closest part of the feature. At the other end of the axis, and along the horizontal, you will see margins greater than 50 km. You will see similar results if you choose page units to measure the margin.

Center and Maintain Scale

By choosing the Center and Maintain Scale option, the map frame for each page in the map series is centered on the index feature and maintains a constant map scale. The drop-down menu allows you to choose a map scale from the list or create a custom scale.

Use Scale From Field

By choosing the Use Scale from Field option, the scale of the map frame for each page in the map series is data driven. Use the drop-down list to select an appropriate field containing the data you want to use to determine scale. The drop-down list is filtered to display applicable field types. These include short integer, long integer, float, and double.

When you specify a Scale From Field, values from this field define the map scale of the detail data frame for each page in the map series. If a value is null, the map series uses the scale value of the previous page. Any fixed scale or a fixed extent associated with the map frame is ignored when map series is enabled.

Steps to create a map series

  1. Ensure that there is a map frame on your layout.
  2. On the Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Map Series.
  3. On the Layout Properties dialog box, click Map Series.

    Map Series is enabled and Spatial is chosen by default.

  4. Under Index Layer, check the setting for the map frame. If this is not the map frame you want for the map series, choose a different map frame from the drop-down menu.
  5. Check the default for Layer. If this is not the layer you want to use as the Index Layer, choose a different layer from the drop-down menu.
  6. Check the default for the Name Field. If this is not the field you want to use to name your page, choose a different field from the drop-down menu.
  7. Check the default for the Sort Field. If this is not the field you want use to sort your pages, choose a different field from the drop-down menu.
  8. Under Optional Fields, check the default for Page Number. If this is not the field you want to use to get the page number for each page, choose a different field from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, choosing no field for page number will automatically generate page numbers, beginning with the Starting Page Number value.
  9. Under Optional Fields, select the additional fields you want to apply such as Rotation or Spatial Reference. Otherwise, leave the defaults.
  10. On the Map Extent tab, choose the extent option you want to use.
  11. Click OK.

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