Making multiple legend boxes all same size using ArcGIS for Desktop?

Making multiple legend boxes all same size using ArcGIS for Desktop?

How do I make all the rectangle or (legend box) all the same ? Look at the circles I marked in the pictures. It should be very simple thing to do. Anyone out there have a good workaround ?

Seems like the simplest thing to do would be to use the Drawing toolbar to create a rectangle graphic in your layout and use that as the background for your legend instead of the legend's built-in background (which you'll need to turn off in the legend properties). The graphic rectangle will not change size when your legend does. Just size the rectangle so it will accommodate the largest legend you'll be using.

To do this you can right-click on each Legend element and access the Size and Position tab of its Properties where you can explicitly set its Width and Height:

These actions can be automated using ArcPy to set the elementHeight and elementWidth properties - see LegendElement (arcpy.mapping).

I'm guessing your legends are dynamic now, meaning whatever is listed in your TOC is what is being displayed. Longer layer names will make your legend box wider.

Here are some options:

Convert to graphic

  1. Convert legend to Graphics (right click on layout legend element and select Convert to Graphic)
  2. Select each graphic and Ungroup
  3. Manually move, and expand each legend box to align/look the same

Extend layer name

Another workaround would be to extend one of your layer names to equal the number of total characters for the one data frame that has the longest name. Name could be extended with blank spaces, see example below (Layer 4 name extended with blank spaces to equal longest layer name from other data frame). This option you do not have to worry about converting to graphic and assigning things. This option may be scripting using python to get layer name lengths using python/arcpy.

Managing Multiple Layouts in ArcGIS Pro

This tutorial will show how to create multiple layouts in ArcGIS Pro by importing an existing ArcMap document. Individual layouts will be exported as a series of PDF maps designed for printing, posting in reports, and viewing with presentation software.

ArcGIS Pro is a 64-bit, multithreaded application that runs on Windows and allows users to share maps with others using ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS. It readily imports existing ArcMap map documents (.mxd files), including symbology, project parameters, and layouts.

Exercise Overview

The first step will be to import a legacy fire department incident response planning map that was previously created, updated, and managed in ArcMap into ArcGIS Pro. It was designed to report specific types of emergency responses. Data links will be updated to display current information using standard data grouping and symbology. Next, 2016 emergency response points will be added to the map from a Microsoft Excel worksheet. Multiple copies of this single layout will be made and prepared as individual layouts for publication to response groups.

Getting Started with an ArcMap Document

Start ArcMap and open KFD_Basemap.mxd. This map was created in ArcGIS 10.4 for Desktop and includes boundary and response information for the Kent Fire Department (KFD), located in southern King County, Washington.

This map includes one layout created in a custom 12-inch by 9-inch frame, an aspect ratio that exports as a 4-inch by 3-inch landscape graphic suitable for reports and Microsoft PowerPoint slides. It has been updated with 2016 titles and legends and includes several spatial bookmarks. In the table of contents, notice the broken data links to all response data.

After you review this MXD document, close ArcMap.

Importing the Map into ArcGIS Pro

Verify that an ArcGIS Pro license is available to you through your ArcGIS Online for organizations account. Open ArcGIS Pro. If you are not already signed in to ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS, you will be prompted to sign in.

In the ArcGIS Pro startup screen, choose Create a new project and use the Blank template. Store the new project in KFD and name it KFD_Pro. The new KFD_Pro folder is located at the same level as the GDBFiles (containing the data files) and XLSFiles (containing the incident data) folders.

Import KFD_Basemap.mxd into the project by clicking the Insert tab on the ribbon, selecting Import Map from the Map tab and navigating to KFD, and choosing KFD_Basemap.mxd. The imported map will look just like it did in ArcMap.

Look at the top of the Map pane to see the active KFD_Basemap Layout tab, which is highlighted in blue. On the left, the docked Contents pane shows the drawing order of items contained in the KFD_Basemap Layout. Click View tab and choose Project > Project Pane to open the Project Pane on the right side of the workspace.

In the Project pane (not the Contents pane), expand Maps, right-click KFD_Basemap, and choose Open. The interface changes to the Map tab and the Contents pane shows how the layers are symbolized. All data sources to the layers in the KFD Response Group are broken, but don’t worry about them. They will be fixed.

Before saving the project, add a basemap from the Living Atlas gallery. Click the Basemap drop-down. From the available basemaps, select OpenStreetMap.

Click the Save button (third folder icon in the upper left corner of the interface), or press Ctrl+S to save the updated project.

Adding, Posting, and Exploring 2016 Incidents

An Excel worksheet, KFD_Incidents_2016, stored in KFDXLSFiles, contains a training subset of the 2016 incidents for the Kent Fire Department. On the Map tab, click the Add Data drop-down (in the Layer group) and select Add XY Event Data. In the Make XY Event Layer pane on the right, click the folder icon and navigate to KFDXLSFiles. Open KFD_Incidents_2016 and select KFD_Incidents_2016$.

X Field and Y Field should be automatically populated. If not, choose LonDec83 from the drop-down for the X Field and choose LatDec83 from the drop-down for the Y Field. The spatial reference will remain GCS_WGS_1984. Accept the default Layer Name. Click Run. More than 6,000 incidents will be added to the map.

Several bookmarks were created in the original ArcMap document and have been exported to the ArcGIS Pro project. Click the Bookmarks drop-down to view them. The KFD Basemap 1:65000 bookmark is set at the project’s full extent. Other bookmarks show each station’s primary response area at a larger scale. Test each bookmark before returning to the 1:65000 bookmark.

Return to the Contents pane, right-click the KFD_Incidents_2016Making multiple legend boxes all same size using ArcGIS for Desktop? - Geographic Information Systems,[nobr][H1toH2]

What is a GIS?

A GIS (Geographical Information System) is a computer-based tool that analyzes, stores, manipulates and visualizes geographic information on a map. GIS main purpose is to show correlation among spatial data, analyze spatial information, query geographic data and show the results in form of reports, maps, tables or any other output is suitable for you.

GIS analysis can be used in various fields of activity as it is powerful and flexible enough to address many needs in different disciplines. Just to mention few examples: business, public and private transport, education, natural hazards assessment, public health, resources optimization…

Available maps

Collector provides access to maps with editable data that are either owned by the mobile worker or shared with a group containing the mobile worker. By default, maps that meet these requirements display in the app. However, you may have maps that you don't want to be used in Collector . As the map author, you can exclude maps from the app by disabling the map's Use in ArcGIS Collector setting. See the Use in ArcGIS Collector setting in ArcGIS Online or the Use in ArcGIS Collector setting in ArcGIS Enterprise .

If you're using ArcGIS Enterprise , excluding maps requires 10.7 or later.

Land Use and Cover

National Land Cover Database

The National Land Cover Database (NLCD) provides nationwide land cover data at a 30 m resolution with 16 land use and cover classes. It is supported by the Multi-Resolution Land characteristics Consortium (MRLC). NLCD provides information about current and historical land covers. The latest version of NLCD offers land cover maps for 2001, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013, and 2016. NLCD is in a raster format, showing the spatial variations of land covers at the resolution of 30 m.

CropScape &ndash Cropland Data Layer

CropScape &ndash Cropland Data Layer (CDL) provides crop-specific land cover maps covering the United States in a raster format. The data are supported by the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistic Service (USDA NASS). The land cover data are available for every year from 1997, enabling the tracking of changes in land covers (or crop-specific areas) (USDA 2020). The CDL data are also prepared in a grid format at the resolution of 30 m.

Terra Populus

Terra Populus provides land cover/use and climate data supported by the National Science Foundation. Terra Populus also provides human-environment data for geographic space coupled with census data from all over the world (GIS Geography 2020).


There are three digital soil data levels available for the United States: Soil Survey Geographic Database (SSURGO), State Soil Geographic Database (STATSGO), and National Soil Survey Geographic Database (NATSGO). SSURGO contains the most detailed county-level soil data, and STATSGO is a less detailed statewide soil map. NATSGO is a very general soil map of the United States. These soil layers are in a vector format. Soils that have the same or similar characteristics are grouped by polygons. There are the grid versions of the soil data layers: gridded SSURGO (or gSSURGO), gridded NATSGO (or gNATSGO), and Raster Soil Survey (RSS). The soil information of RSS is mainly derived from SSURGO. All the three data layers, SSURGO, STATSGO, and RSS, are integrated into gNATSGO. The gSSURGO and gNATSGO are provided at the resolutions of 10 m (statewide) and 30 m (the conterminous United States). Compared to the others, RSS has a relatively fine spatial resolution of 5 meters. The soil data are supported by the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS). Users can select specific areas of interest in the Geospatial Data Gateway (GDG) viewer ( or directly download the statewide soil maps at The topography and soil data assume that elevation and soil characteristics do not change over time, so they are not updated regularly.

Making multiple legend boxes all same size using ArcGIS for Desktop? - Geographic Information Systems

  • Select a layer
  • Select a field
  • Select an operator
  • Enter a value. Depending on field type and underlying data source, useful information like delimiter, wild card and case-sensitivity will be displayed.
  • Click "Add to Query". Make more complex queries by repeating the above concatenating them with "and"s and "or"s and grouping with parenthesis.
  • Click "Run".

The most common problem arises when a field is a String data type, but looks like it contains numbers or dates. The query shown above, since the field is numeric (Double), will return the results you would expect. If the field type was String, the query would look like and would return records where ImpValue = "200". This is because alphabetically, "2" is bigger than "10" or "100000". The same problem affects dates, where "6/12/1982" is greater than "1/1/2020". Depending on the quality of the underlying data, and your knowlege of SQL, you can sometimes work around it, but it's often hopeless.


Standard basemaps provided by ESRI. Not all sites have basemaps, those that do generally allow you to toggle between two. Note: If the site uses the Basemap Toggle, specifying a basemap on the command-line will replace the pre-configured alternate basemap for the duration of your browsing session.

The basemap control is usually on the left panel's Layers tab.

  • They force the use of a very inaccurate coordinate system.
  • They limit the zoom scales to a short list of pre-determined values.

The "Measure Tools" does correct for the coordinate system and reports fairly accurate areas and distances.

You can also use a command-line option, "basemap=none" to eliminate the basemap. Note: This feature is not yet implemented in all sites.


Select by Buffer

Command Line Options

  • "zoom=80.41,37.2,24000" center map at longitude, latitude with a scale of 1:24000
  • "zoom=10926400,3602700,12000" center map at x, y (VA NAD83 SP South) with a scale of 1:12000
  • "zoom=80.415,37.2,80.409,37.204" zoom to area specified in longitude, latitude
  • Common options
  • tool=info - Identify by point (usually the default)
  • tool=info2 - Identify by rectangle
  • tool=info3 - Identify by polygon
  • tool=info4 - Identify by multipoint
  • tool=pan - Pan
  • tool=zoomin - Zoom In - not for touch screen
  • tool=zoomin - Zoom Out - not for touch screen

Draw Tools

To access: Click the "Tools" icon in the top toolbar, then select "Draw Tools" from the pulldown on the "Tools" panel. Add lines, shapes and text to the map. You can control the appearance via the "Edit Symbols" panel.

Icon Descriptions
Draw the shape selected in the pull-down.
Stop drawing.
Same as double-click on map, for Lines and Polygons. Most other symbols are single-click or click-and-drag.
Delete last item.
Clear all items. Note: Most other functions that draw on the map (such as Identify or Measure) will also clear all the drawn items. See the "Measure" and "View Files" tools for a method of saving your work.


The Identify button is located on the horizontal toolbar on the left side of the map display. Just click the Identify button when you want to change the Active Identify Layer or identify method. The Active Identify Layer selection can be changed from the dialog box that appears. The user can now identify by Point (default), by Rectangle, by Polygon or by MultiPoint.

When WebGIS initially loads, identifying parcels by point is usually the default selected tool (site dependent). The user can immediately click or touch the screen to identify parcels.

You can use command-line options to change the initial layer and selection mode.

The user can close the Identify dialog box. WebGIS will remember your settings.

Note: If you use a selection method other than "By Point", remember to change back to "by Point" the other selection methods can interfere with the normal panning/zooming behavior.

Attributes at Point

  • The point used is computed from the selected feature, not the point the user picked on the map (if using Identify). It is done this way to produce consistent results regardless of how the feature was selected.
  • The selected feature, a parcel for example, can easily overlap multiple features in other layers, such as soils or zoning, only one of which would be listed. A worst-case example would be a parcel that is 99% in a flood zone, but the computed point happens not to be.


Left Panel

The Left Panel is a sliding panel. It is defaulted to open when WebGIS is loaded on a desktop pc, laptops and tablets. It will be defaulted to close when WebGIS is loaded on smartphones. You will find all the Layers and Legend information in this panel. Simply click the Tab buttons at the top of the Left Panel to access those items. You can close and open it by pressing the toggle button. You can also close it by swiping the panel left. Closing the Left panel will give you a full screen experience.

  • About Tab
  • Shows the Legal Disclaimer information and other relevant information regarding the site.
  • Layers Tab
  • Turn layers on by clicking an empty box ("On" column) beside the layer. If a layer has 2 boxes the second one ("Lbl" column) will turn on the layer's labels.
  • Some layers only are visible at a set scale. Those layers have colored asterisks ( * * ) beside their names. This means you will have to zoom in to see those layers once you turn them on.
    • A red asterisk ( * ) means you will have to zoom in to see those layers once you turn them on.
    • A orange asterisk ( * ) means you will have to zoom in to see those layers once you turn them on to see the layer's labels.
    • Legend Tab
    • As you turn layers on and off, the Legend will be updated accordingly.

    Measure Tools

    To access: Click the "Tools" icon in the top toolbar, then select "Measure Tools" from the pulldown on the "Tools" panel. Measure distances and areas. You can control the appearance via the "Edit Symbols" panel.
    Icon Descriptions
    Measure area.
    Measure distance/perimeter.
    Mark multiple points.
    Useful for selecting multiple non-adjacent features.
    Stop measuring.
    Same as double-click on map.
    Remove last measure.
    Clear all measure data.
    Redraw the measure shapes.
    Useful when another command, such as "Select Features by Buffer", redraws the map. Check "Use new symbology" to use colors, line types, etc. set in the "Edit Symbols" panel.
    Save measure feature(s) to point file.
    Not available on all browsers. Creates a point file that can be imported with the "View Files" tool.
    Save measure feature(s) to kml file.
    Not available on all browsers. Creates a kml file that can be viewed in Google Earth or imported with the "View Files" tool.


    The Print button is located on the horizontal toolbar on the left side of the map display. Click the print icon to launch the print dialog. At the print dialog box, you can setup the format, file type, size, orientation, etc. Note: Print may take a few seconds. An indicator will appear after you press the "Click to Print" button. You can continue to use WebGIS while the print is being developed.

    Note: Some sites use basemaps to provide a pretty background image, but basemaps also force the use of a very inaccurate coordinate system. This makes the "Preserve Scale" option nearly useless. You can use the command-line option "basemap=none" to disable basemaps and allow more accurate scaling. (This option is not available on all sites.)

    • Format: Map only
    • This is the default setting. This setting will produce a screen capture of the map area only.
    • To see a print preview, click the "Click to Print" button. The map will open in another window. You will be able to right click and save the image to your location
    • Format: Map & Data
    • To get a report that includes the map and the information details, change the Format to "Map & Data" as indicated below.
    • To see a print preview, click the "Click to Print" button. The map will open in another window with all the data information included.
    • You will then have to use your browser print function (Ctrl P) to print the Print results.
    • Format: Presentation
    • To get a professional style map for presentations, change the Format to "Presentation" as indicated below.
    • To see a print preview, click the "Click to Print" button. The map will open in another window with all the data information included.


    The Search button is located on the horizontal toolbar on the left side of the map display. The Search box is defaulted to be initialized on startup. Each locality enables different search capabilities so it may look different. Click on the dropdown box to change to a different type of search.

    • Owner example: Search D Smith or Dan Smith rather than Daniel Smith Jr
    • Address example: Search 570 Hollow rather than 570 Old Hollow Road


    The Results are located across the bottom in a sliding panel, similar to the left panel. It will automatically slide up when results are found. The user can scroll through the table. You can close and open it by pressing the Results button located at the bottom left corner of the map.

    • Each field can be sorted by clicking on the field header.
    • Click a Row to select and zoom to a desired feature. This will automatically close the Results table. Use the Results button to reopen the table to pick another feature from the list.
    • Click the "Highlight" link at the top of the table to highlight all of the results. This will automatically close the Results table. Use the Results button to reopen the table to pick another feature from the list.
    • Click the "Clear Highlight" link at the top of the table to clear the highlights.
    • Click the "Export to CSV" link at the top of the table to export the results to a comma separated values file that can be imported into MS Excel or Access.

    Search Results


    To access: Click the "Tools" icon in the top toolbar, then select "Settings" from the pulldown on the "Tools" panel. Change appearance and behavior of site. If you have local storage enabled for the site, the settings will persist between sessions.
    North Arrow Display north arrow in upper left corner of map. Currently, north is always top of screen, so a north arrow is somewhat redundant.
    Auto-hide Windows Only display one floating panel over the map at a time. Good for de-cluttering small screens. On larger screens, you can move the panels around so they are not on top of each other.
    Auto-hide Results Automatically hide the Results panel at the bottom of the map when one of the results is selected.
    Coordinate Display Turn on coordinate display at bottom of map to show cursor location. Not particularly useful on touch screen devices.
    Lat/Long Format "DMS" displays Lat/Long coordinates in Degrees/Minutes/Seconds format (37°12'18"). "Degrees" displays Lat/Long coordinates in decimal degrees format (37.205). This affects not only the map's coordinate display, but also the data display of the "Measure" and "View Files" tools.
    Coord. Format Change the coordinate display of the "Measure" and "View Files" tools.

    Edit Symbols

    To access: Open the left panel , click the "Legend" tab, then expand the "Edit Symbols" panel.

    Change appearance (colors, line widths, etc.) of user-generated features (see below) on the map. If you have local storage enabled for the site, the settings will persist between sessions. Sorry, you cannot change the symbology of the underlying data layers.

    Table of Contents


    The various map Navigation and Tool buttons are located within toolbars positioned on the left side of the map display. On smaller devices, some buttons may not be available. On touch enabled devices, zooming can be done by pinching and panning can be done by dragging your finger across the screen.

    1) Toggle Left Panel
    2) Pan map tool
    3) Zoom In by box map tool
    4) Zoom Out by box map tool
    5) Identify features map tool
    6) Open Search Window
    7) Open Print Window
    8) Opens Tools Window
    9) Opens Help Kiosk Window
    10) Zoom In
    11) Zoom Out
    12) Zoom to Physical Location (enable GPS)
    13) Zoom to Previous Extent
    14) Zoom to Next Extent
    15) Zoom to Intial Extent


    Bookmarks Save a named view of the current display extents. See also "Presets".
    Draw Tools Draw lines, shapes and text on the map. Details
    Measure Tools Measure lengths and areas. Details
    Settings Change how the site looks or acts. Details
    View Files Import and display various files on the map. Details
    ZoomTools Zomm to specific location or scale. Details

    View Files

    To access: Click the "Tools" icon in the top toolbar, then select "View Files" from the pulldown on the "Tools" panel.

    Tool to read several types of files and display them on the map.

    • Kml: A standard Google Earth KML file.
    • Point: A delimited text file of x/y coordinates. Details
    • Shape: A standard ESRI shape file consisting of a pair of .shp and .shx files.
    • Traverse: A text file in ESRI ArcMap traverse file format.
      Traverse file details and sample.

    View Files - Point File Details

    The file can contain comments - any line that starts with "#", "//" or "'" (apostrophe/single quote) will be ignored.

    The file can contain multiple features, separated by "magic" line "##NEWREC". Not applicable for "Treat as: Points", they are always individual features.

    For "Treat as:", Polylines require at least 2 points per feature Polygons require at least 3 points per feature.

    View Files - Traverse File Details

    The tool only supports the following tags:

    DT optional, must be QB if included
    DU optional, must be DMS if included
    SP x y: one record required. XY Coordinates can be Longitude/Latitude, State Plane (feet), or Web Mercator (meters).
    DD bearing distance: at least one record is required. Distance must be in feet.

    Only one feature is allowed per file, but you can load multiple files at the same time.

    The file can contain comments - any line that starts with "#", "//" or "'" (apostrophe/single quote) will be ignored.

    Zoom Tools

    To access: Click the "Tools" icon in the top toolbar, then select "Zoom Tools" from the pulldown on the "Tools" panel.

    How to Calculate the Area of Polygon in ArcMap

    First, open up an ArcGIS session and load in the polygon data you want to calculate the area on. Make sure your data is in a projection system.

    Next, select the polygon file that you want to calculate area on and right click. This will open up a menu of options for that layer. Select the “Open Attribute Table” to open up the associate attribute data for your polygon layer.

    In the upper left hand corner of the attribute table window, click on the Table Options icon to open up the menu options. Select the “add field” option.

    When the “add field” dialogue box appears, type in the name of the field that will store the area values (e.g. name it “area”). Select “double” as the field type. Next, set your precision and scale values. Precision is the total number of digits that can be stored in the field, counting on both sides of the decimal place. A precision of 3 means that there can be at maximum number of digits can be 3. Scale for floating and double fields is the number of digits to the right of the decimal place. It is always better to overestimate the fields to avoid truncation of your values. Enter your values and hit the “OK” button to add the new field.

    Right click on the new field and select the “calculate geometry” option on the menu. Click “Yes” to move past the editing session warning that pops up.

    If you are working in a geographic coordinate system, you will not be able to calculate geometry. The calculate area and perimeter options will be disabled. ArcGIS uses planimetric algorithms to calculate geometry such as area and perimeter.

    To be able to calculate area, you will need to work with projected GIS data. There are two ways to do this: either load in projected data or load the data into a data frame that has a projected coordinate system (PCS) assigned to it. To set a PCS on a data frame, right click on the layer icon and select “properties” from the drop down menu. Then select the “coordinate system” tab and select a coordinate system from the options.

    Once you have set the requisite PCS, go back to the attribute field, right click on the designated empty area field to re-select the calculate geometry option. In the “calculate geometry” window, select the “area” option from the drop down menu at the top of the form. Then select the PCS you want to use in your calculations. This can either be the PCS for the data layer or the data frame.

    Finally, select the units you want the area calculation to be in. The units available for selection will be compatible with the PCS units. If you want acreage, make sure your PCS is in feet and then select the acreage option in the drop down for units.

    Hit the “OK” button to run the area geometry calculation.

    The area calculation will then run and your area field will be populated with the area values.

    Installing third-party packages

    In order to make our application, we will have to rely on the rich and varied ecosystem of third-party packages that already exists for GIS usage.

    The Python Package Index (PyPI) website currently lists more than 240 packages tagged Topic :: Scientific/Engineering :: GIS. For a less overwhelming overview of the more popular GIS-related Python libraries, check out the catalogue at the Python-GIS-Resources website created by the author:

    We will have to define which packages to use and install, and this depends on the type of application we are making. What we want to make in this article is a lightweight, highly portable, extendable, and general-purpose GIS application. For these reasons, we avoid heavy packages like GDAL, NumPy, Matplotlib, SciPy, and Mapnik (weighing in at about 30 MB each or about 150-200 MB if we combine them all together). Instead, we focus on lighter third-party packages specialized for each specific functionality.

    • Step 1—open your operating system’s command line (not the Python IDLE). On Windows, this is done by searching your system for cmd.exe and running it.
    • Step 2—in the black screen window that pops up, one simply types pip install packagename. This will only work if pip is on your system’s environment path. If this is not the case, a quick fix is to simply type the full path to the pip script C:Python27Scriptspip instead of just pip.

    Since some of our dependencies have multiple purposes and are not unique, we will install these ones now. One of them is the Python Imaging Library (PIL), which we will use for the raster data model and for visualization. Let’s go ahead and install PIL for Windows now:

    1. Go to
    2. Click on the latest .exe file link for our 32-bit Python 2.7 environment to download the PIL installer, which is currently Pillow-2.6.1.win32-py2.7.exe.
    3. Run the installation file.
    4. Open the IDLE interactive shell and type importPIL to make sure it was installed correctly.

    Another central package we will be using is Shapely, used for location testing and geometric manipulation. To install it on Windows, perform the following steps:


    3.1 Maps

    The map designed in this study follows the guidance of creating choropleth maps for public health. In general, a good practice of creating choropleth map is to begin with a common method and then manually adjust data classification based on the actual distribution of the data and the consideration of targeted readers. For designing maps for public health, Brewer ( 2006 ) suggest using extreme outliner as one individual class and then applying a data classification method to the remaining dataset. In this study, New York City's confirmed COVID-19 cases are more than the half of the state's total, this is very important consideration to use New York City's number as one individual class when classifying the dataset.

    The author first retrieves the reported data from multiple resources including NYSDOH and news outlets to assemble the county-level dataset. Due to the large data value that each borough in New York City has confirmed COVID-19 cases over 10,000, data value over 10,000 is a data class itself. The data classification is then developed based on the actual variation of data in other counties. To make the maps comparable with another published choropleth map (see Figure 6), this study also uses seven classes to contrast the variance in actual data. These classes are in the following ranges: 1–50 51–100 101–500 500–1,000 1,001–5,000 5,001–10,000 and over 10,000. For symbolizing the classified counties, the tool ColorBrewer (Harrower & Brewer, 2003 ) provides reference for selecting contrasting colors in this study. Figure 5 shows the published map using ArcGIS Online (ESRI, 2020 ), a cloud-based mapping platform for public access and interactive display.

    To evaluate the effectiveness of the map designed in this study, the author selects two other published thematic maps for comparison. The first chosen map is published by the NYSDOH using choropleth design (Figure 6). The differences between the NYSDOH's and this study's thematic maps are only the color schemes and data classification. In particular, the NYSDOH map creates two classes for the large outlier, as value over 10,000 is further separated into two ranges: 10,000–14,999 and over 20,000. The legend is confusing as the data value from 15,000 to 19,999 is not shown. It is likely that the value does not exist in the actual dataset, but the information on the legend can be confusing to readers. This map groups all value below 100 into one class. The other map is published by The New York Times ( 2020 ) using proportional symbols (Figure 2).

    There are elements such as labels which are inconsistent on all three maps. For example, the author's own design has the most labels, but the map published by NYSDOH has no labels. To ensure the same amount of information and level of details on each map are used, the author manually update labels on all maps for controlling these aspects for the assessment purpose. As shown in Figures 2, 5, 2, 5, and 6, only a few labels including New York (City), Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Binghamton, and Albany are shown to maintain the same amount of information. In addition, the legends in all three maps are manually relocated to the same area in each map. Data visualized in all maps is the same, which was reported on June 16, 2020.

    3.2 Materials

    This study carries out an experiment to address three questions related to the designed maps. First, can a reader accurately understand the symbolized number of cases on a map? Second, how does a reader associate the impression of severity with the symbolized number of cases? Third, what is a reader's preference of maps for presenting COVID-19 cases?

    This experiment employs two online platforms, as a solution to social distancing and no participant physically available on the author's campus. Qualtrics ( is the online platform where all tasks in experiment are developed. Prolific ( is the platform employed to recruit participants and administrate reimbursement. Prolific is a similar human task distribution platform like Amazon's Mechanic Turk. This study chooses Prolific based on a comparison of a few online survey platforms, out of which Prolific leads to higher quality in user responses (Palan & Schitter, 2018 ). With provided anonymous link, eligible participants recruited from Prolific can assess the developed study by Qualtrics and redirected to Prolific to receive reimbursement when they complete all tasks. Participants can only work on experimental tasks on computers or tablets, but not on mobile phones.

    3.3 Procedure

    The only criterion for qualifying participants is that they can read and understand English proficiently, as it is the language used in all experimental tasks. Since Prolific can reject a participant's request to proceed if this participant does not have the verified language skill in his or her previously registered profile. When a qualified participant at Prolific decides to participate after reading the descriptions of this study and announced reimbursement, he or she can directly proceed to the experiment.

    Each participant completes three main sections in the experiment. The first section asks a participant's age groups, experience with maps, and familiarity with New York in a fixed order. The second section is the main component of this study. Each participant answers 10 questions related to individual map designs and interpretations. All these questions in this section appear to each participant in a random order to avoid order effects on participant's interpretations. To make sure that participants interpret the map based on their impression and understanding, each participant can only see one question with a map at a time, instead of presenting all questions to participants at once. The third section asks participant's preference to one of three maps and briefly elaborates their reasons. Questions in the third section are also in a fixed order as in the first section.

    In the second section, participants answer three types of questions. The first type of questions asks participants to estimate the number in terms of the designed symbol and legend. For example, next to a map, a participant sees the question “What is the approximate number of confirmed cases in Buffalo area?.” The participant chooses one of the three listed numbers. The second type of questions asks a participant if an area with designed symbol on map appears severe. For example, a question asks, “Does the situation of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rochester area appear severe to you?.” A participant then chooses “not severe,” “severe,” or “very severe” as the answer. The third type of questions shows participants all three maps with confirmed COVID-19 cases of an area and asks which map they think best represent the situation. For example, a question asks, “Rochester area (highlighted on map) has about 2,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases, which map do you think best visualize this situation?.”

    In total 149 participants submitted their responses. Due to two incomplete answers, this study analyzes the remaining 147 complete responses. Most participants are from North America and Europe while only few are from other continents. Figure 7 shows participants' locations.

    Legacy Pictometry Viewer Help

    See About Pictometry Aerial Photos for an overview of Pictometry and Exploring Pictometry for a quick overview of the tools in the legacy viewer.

    Changing the Photo Year

      Changes the year the photo was taken. The new photo is displayed centered on the original red crosshair location on the default North view.

    Default Pictometry Tool

    There is no "default" tool. Your Windows select cursor is shown initially. The Windows select cursor is not a photo tool and has no function in the photo itself. If you don't want to see the current Pictometry tool, simply pick another tool that sticks, such as Set Crosshair, Zoom Box or Pan.

    Zooming, Magnification, and Clarity

    There are several zoom tools that zoom the photo in or out, magnifying or backing away from the image. The current photo magnification is displayed as a percentage along with the photo date and time on the far left of the tool bar. The default magnification or zoom level is 100%.

    As you zoom in, the zoom level increases to more than one hundred percent: 133%, 178%, and so on, up to 999% and beyond in some cases. As you zoom out, the zoom level decreases to less than one hundred percent: 75%, 56%, and all the way down to 10%.

    The 100% zoom level is special. As you zoom in from 100%, the picture starts to get fuzzy. As you zoom out beyond 100%, the picture can show minor artifacts caused by interpolating the photo pixels for display at the screen pixel size. At 100% magnification each photo pixel is displayed as exactly one screen pixel, showing the sharpest and clearest image possible. If you are going to screen capture or print the photo view, a zoom level of 100% should provide the best result.

    The 100% zoom level is only meaningful for the main window photo. Photos displayed in the Quad View window are scaled to approximately 1/4 of the main window photo size.

    Navigation Tools

    • The crosshair specifies the point which becomes the center when you rotate the photo view by choosing a different direction (N,S,E,W).
    • The crosshair is the starting point for the Walking Man tool.
    • Moving the crosshair in the Photo Overview window moves the crosshair to that point in the main photo window as well.
    • If the Zoom to MapGuide tool was used to open a MapGuide map, moving the Pictometry crosshair location re-centers the MapGuide map at that location.
    • Each of the four Quad View photos are centered on the location of the red crosshair (except when the crosshair is close to the edge of the photo).

    Using the Walking Man tool, you can pick a point on the photo and the "man" moves there from the last picked point or from the crosshair center on the first pick. Each pick refreshes the photo so it's best to not pick points too quickly. Pick a point and wait for the photo to catch up before picking the next point.

    You can also pick a point, hold down the mouse button, drag a "string" line to the desired location and then release the mouse button at the desired point. This is particularly helpful for "walking" long distances as you can literally drag the walking man off the photo window where the point you want to go to would be if the photo was there. This can be helpful when "walking" to the adjacent photo. While holding down the point outside the photo area, the photo scrolls until it gets to the edge of the particular photo. When you release the mouse, the adjacent photo is then displayed. You may want to Unzoom and then use this technique to quickly navigate to an adjacent photo.

    Picking the Zoom Goto tool opens a popup window with a drop-down list of search categories to choose from. Categories include Parcel Code, Owner Name, Street Intersection, Schools, Street Number and more. The Zoom Goto Street Number category does exactly the same thing as the separate button. The button makes it easier and faster to use this commonly used Zoom Goto category.

    You tell Zoom Goto what you want to see. Zoom Goto then finds the photo, zooms to the location within the photo and moves the crosshair to the point or centroid (geographic center) of the photo feature. Zoom Goto is the best, and sometimes only way, within Pictometry to navigate long distances across many photos.

    Changing Photo Direction

    • The buttons change the view to a different photo looking toward the selected button direction. Pick the direction you want to look toward.
    • The Rotate View Clockwise and Rotate View Counterclockwise buttons rotate the view approximately 90 degrees, allowing you to click through all four directions with one button.

    Changing the photo direction also rotates the N, S, E, and W direction buttons. The direction you are looking toward always appears "depressed" and is on top to indicate it's the current direction. The button positions approximate the N,S,E,W indicator shown on the photo. They turn in lock step.

    It can be a bit confusing when you pick a N, S, E, or W direction button and the button you picked changes to a new direction and the picked direction moves to the top. You'll find it helps to pick the direction you want to look toward and then move the mouse cursor away from the buttons while the buttons change and the new photo is displayed. Better yet, use a rotation button to cycle through the four direction views.

    Picking a new center point before changing direction

    When you change the photo direction, the photo view "rotates" around the red crosshair on the photo. That is, the new photo will be positioned at approximately the same place as the photo you are viewing. However, if you've moved the view using the scrollbars or the Pan or Zoom Box tools, when you change direction the new view will be back at the location first shown on the first direction's photo. If you've moved the photo view by panning, zooming or scrolling you can use the Set Crosshair tool to set the red crosshair to the new location for the photo center when you change directions.

    The "O" (Orthophoto) button

    The "O" in the center button stands for "Orthophoto". The orthophoto view is a view looking straight down. Orthophotos are not "oblique". They are not angled views like the other Pictometry photos. You can't change the direction of the orthophotos. The top of the orthophoto is always north.

    Miscellaneous Tools

    The Next Photo and Previous Photo tools show additional photo views that are useful in some situations. They are not essential to using Pictometry effectively. Unlike Internet Explorer's similar arrow buttons, Next Photo and Previous Photo do not move forward and back in your Pictometry viewing history.

    These tools enable you to see somewhat different views of the area in the same direction that may help you, but aren't what Pictometry considers the "best" photo. They are in addition to the views you get by changing directions (N,S,E,W). You can think of these different views as a "stack" of photos that all include your area of interest and where Pictometry has chosen one to be displayed by default.

    The "stack" includes several different photos of the area on the ground as defined by the red crosshair location and all looking in the current direction. There may be as few as 2 or 3 photos or as many as 9 or 10 photos in the same direction that show each location on the ground.

    • The distance from the camera to the red crosshair location may be closer or further away.
    • The viewing angles are somewhat different.
    • The red crosshair area may be closer to the photo edges. As a result, the photo may cover more or less of your area of interest.

    The photo you see by default at any of the N,S,E,W directions is the one that Pictometry considers the "best", having the best viewing angle, the best distance from the camera, and is not near the edge of the photo. The default "best" photo may be anywhere in the "stack" of photos that include the red crosshair point.

    The Next Photo tool moves forward in the stack. The Previous Photo tool moves backwards in the stack. Since the number of available photos at the red crosshair location varies and the position of the default "best" photo in the stack varies, the number of photos after and before the default photo varies. The relative position (+1, +2,+3, -1, -2, etc) is displayed at the left end of the Pictometry toolbar whenever a photo other than the default photo is being displayed.

      The Quad View window will be the same size as your main Pictometry Window. Since the four views are each scaled to be a quarter of the main view size, it's often helpful to resize your main Pictometry Window to a bigger size first. You may also want to drag the Quad View window to a better screen location after it opens.

    • All the zoom tools, including the Zoom Goto tool, also zoom the quad views.
    • The Set Crosshair and Walking Man tools change the location on the quad views as well as the main photo.
    • If the overview window is open, moving the crosshair on the overview window moves the crosshair on both the main photo and the quad views.
    • The Pan tool only changes the main photo, not the quad views which can be panned independently using the scroll bars on each quad view.
    • There are no tools or controls on the Quad View window other than the scroll bars on each view. That is, you can't control the main photo view from the Quad View window.

    You can make your own "penta view" that also includes the orthophoto (straight down) by opening the Quad View and picking the "O" button on the main photo window to show the orthophoto view on that window..

    • Picking a point on the Photo Overview moves the crosshair to that point on both the overview and the main photo window. The main photo image moves to center the crosshair or to show a view of the picked area, depending on the current zoom scale.
    • If the crosshair is moved on the main photo, it moves to the corresponding location on the Photo Overview.

    The MapGuide map tracks the location of the Pictometry crosshair. That is, moving the Pictometry crosshair location re-centers the MapGuide map at that location. You can move the Pictometry crosshair with the Set Crosshair, Walking Man, and Zoom Goto tools.

    The full photo is downloaded, not just the current view. You can display, print, or use the saved JPG file in any photo or graphics program of your choice, even Microsoft Paint included with Windows. There is no way to clip or trim the photo to just your area of interest before downloading. You may want to clip after downloading in your photo or graphics program.

    1. Be sure you've clicked the download tool button and you can see the photo displayed in a new web browser window.
    2. Right-click anywhere over the newly displayed photo itself.
    3. Choose "Save Picture As. " from the displayed menu.
    4. When the Save Picture dialog opens, navigate to the directory on your system where you want to save the file, adjust the file name if you want, and pick the "Save" button.

    It's also possible to download as a JPG file using File, Save As. from the Internet Explorer tools menu. However, the process isn't as clean or simple as right-clicking over the photo and choosing "Save Picture As. ".

    Due to the perspective nature of Pictometry oblique photos, it's not possible to seamlessly join individual photos to make an image of a larger area. This is because the scale and size varies from near to far across each photo. For example, see two adjacent photos and what happens attempting to merge and align them on a large parking garage near the right edge. You can easily see that the building sizes are different and that the streets don't line up.