We quickly cover how best to incorporate map layouts into written reports

In this special edition, I’ll cover how you can better incorporate your maps into things like reports or theses, or wherever they need to end up.

We often focus on stand along maps where everything that is needed. Maybe they end up as PDFs at a DOC visitor centre, or are emailed out to people to show them your amazing results. We do the hard work of composing the map and then put together a layout for its final form. As an example, here’s my results from the Walkway Management System project:

This map has pretty much everything it needs to live life outside the womb: Title, Scale Bar, North Arrow, Legend, and for extra kicks, an inset and locator map.

If I also want to include my map into a report, there may be a few additional things to consider. Perhaps the most important is that most figures or tables in reports/theses have a caption – this is good practice. With that in mind, one of the key things I’d be thinking about with the above map is if I really need the title. I’d argue that the title of the map should really be in the caption, so I need to think about how I do this from the layout.

Specifically with the title, I’ve got two options: either delete the title all together, or just shift it off to the side, off the page. I’m going to go with this one in case I need to reuse the title another time (and don’t want to set up a completely different layout – here’s how it looks in Pro:

Next I’m ready to export the map from the Share ribbon > Export Layout:

Notice that I’ve got a lot of formats to choose from under File Type. PDFs are not a good option here as they can’t be inserted into a Word doc, but just about any other image format will work. I lean towards JPGs but that’s just how I was raised. After you have set an output location and name (usually to a folder rather than a geodatabase) the map can be exported – but here’s what I get:

With this I’ve got a lot of empty space at the top where the title was. How can I show the map elements with just a wee border around the map elements? The trick here is to add a graphic rectangle and use that to help clip the map.

Not difficult – go to Insert > Graphics and Text and find the rectangle:

Then draw a box around the bits you want to show – the key step is to tick the “Clip to graphics extent” box before you export:

Then, your exported JPG is now just the are within the box:

(I get the frame for free.) You could probably make the argument that I don’t need my inset and locator maps – maybe I’ve already got a locator map in my report and the inset isn’t adding much. No worries – just resize the graphic (after shifting the legend onto the map) and shift the inset and locator off the page:

To get this:

It’s a bit fiddly, but there you go.

If you wanted to get really tricky and have the frame turned off, just before you click Export, change the colour of the graphic box to NoColor and the frame shouldn’t display.

Other things to consider when incorporating maps:

  • Give each map/figure a caption – this is essentially the title of the map
  • Refer to each figure in the map, ideally before we see it on the page
  • Place the map/figure as close as you can after where you’ve referred to it
  • Think carefully about what needs to be in the map figures – do I need the locator? Do I need the inset?