Creating a Map Layout from Start to Finish - Map Credits and Date

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Credits, Date, and Projection

Cartographer Credits, Citation of Sources, and Date

Like a title, all maps should include credits. Cartographer credits may be the actual name of the cartographer, as in the case of a GIS 101 lab, or may be the organization the cartographer works for, such as the USGS or NOAA. Source credits should always be given whenever you do not create the data as it is assumed that the cartographer or someone in the cartographer’s organization created any data in the map which is not sourced to another organization. Source credits do not need to be long or detailed or necessarily layer specific. If you create a map with which you have layers from USGS and your GIS 101 class, a perfectly acceptable way to cite both sources is: “Data Sources: USGS and GIS 101 Lab Data”.

Dating the map’s creation is a required map element. A reader should know when a thematic map was created to consider if the material is still relevant or if they should be looking at it in a historic way. General reference maps tend to have a longer life span, but should still include a date - at least a creation year, if not month and year.

Credits and date should be presented in a clearly read font, avoiding scripts and typefaces such as Comic Sans, and the text size should be one that can be easily read without being a distraction. While the credits and date should always be included on maps, they shouldn’t be the star of the show, either.

Map Projection

Including the map’s projection in text from provides a reader with an idea of how the distortion is being presented. A reader may know that a thematic map presented in a Mercator projection will preserve shape - an excellent choice to present data with a large extent that doesn’t require the reader to navigate anything.

Like map credits, the projection should be a text size that is readable but no overwhelming and in a typeface that is not a script or inappropriate.

Using Text Boxes to Add Credits and Projection Text

For credits and projection text, unless you need to set a frame and background color, the easiest way is just to add a text box from the Insert menu, type in the information, and place a carriage return (the enter key on the keyboard) between each line.

If you need to set a frame and background, see the instructions in the “Titles and Subtitles” section to draw a Rectangle Text. You most likely will want to avoid “Polygon Text” and “Splined Text” for credits and projections, however, it’s not out of the question if you use cartographic discretion.

  1. Select”Text” from the Insert menu
  2. Press “Enter” on the keyboard
  1. Double-click on the resulting text box to more easily type the information
  1. In the resulting Properties dialog box, set the justification
  2. Use the “Change Symbol” button to adjust the font