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Create color-coded maps

A color-coded map provides information about an area of interest. You can identify important patterns in the area you are investigating by viewing information about key metrics on a map. You can map demographic information, consumer spending patterns, information about a business, and other variables.

Before starting the Color-Coded Maps workflow, set the map extent using the Zoom levels tool. To create a color-coded map, do the following:

  1. In the Maps tab, click Create Maps and select Color-Coded Maps.

    The Color-Coded Maps pane opens.

  2. Select a variable to map. Find a variable in one of the following ways:
    • Click the Popular tab. This tab displays a set of curated variables. If an administrator in your ArcGIS Online organization has modified this list or added custom variables, those are also listed here.
    • Click the Favorites tab. This tab displays your favorite variables, as marked in the data browser.
    • Click the Recent tab. This tab displays your most recently used variables.
    • Click Browse all variables. Use the data browser to search for variables or browse by category.
    • Click Create a custom variable. Use the data browser to create a custom variable that focuses on a specific type, range, or combination of data.

    When you click a variable, the map automatically updates to show the distribution of this variable at the current zoom level. The workflow pane displays options to modify the color-coded map.

  3. Zoom in or out and pan the map to view different levels of geography or other parts of the map.

    The map automatically updates to show the distribution of the variable for the map extent, at the level of geography most appropriate for this extent.

  4. To select a different variable to map, click Change variable Change variable and use the data browser to select another variable. Depending on the variable chosen, you can switch the vintage of the variable or choose different calculation options.
  5. In the Legend tab of the workflow pane, adjust the geography level and map extent, change the map colors, and work with data classification. Modify the map in the following ways:
    • Use the Geography drop-down menu to choose a geography level, such as Counties or States. You can lock the geography level by clicking Lock Lock. When locked, the geography level will not change when the map extent is changed.

      Note:

      Small geographies are not available at all zoom levels. When using the Geography drop-down menu, you can automatically zoom to the appropriate map extent by clicking Zoom to enable.

    • Use the Map extent drop-down menu to change the extent, selecting a site or boundary in the current project to color code.

    • Depending on the map style, you can change the colors on the map from the Legend tab. Click a color swatch and select a color. The map automatically updates. Click Reverse colorsReverse colors to reverse the selected color scale. Click Save colors to add your custom color range to the options in the Style tab.

    • Depending on the map style, click Filter to adjust the range of values visible on the map. Click Save.

    • Depending on the map style, check the Lock ranges while panning check box to keep class ranges the same as you pan the map. This allows you to compare different areas using the same ranges.

    • Depending on the map style, click Edit to adjust the way the variable is broken into color-coded groups, or classes, on the map. To change the class break values, move the sliders or type in new values. Use the drop-down menus to choose the number of classes and the classification method.

      Choose Quantile as the classification method to create classes with the same number of features. Choose Natural breaks to partition data into classes based on peaks and valleys in the data distribution. Choose Equal interval to create classes with equal spacing on the number line between the lowest and highest values of the variable. Once your edits are complete, click Save.

  6. In the Style tab of the workflow pane, modify the appearance of the color-coded map.

    You can change the map style, colors, classification method, classes, transparency, border, and labels. Changes made appear immediately on the map. Choose from the following map style options:

    • Counts and Amounts (Color)—This map style distinguishes features based on a color ramp. Suitable for showing low to high numeric data values such as age, income, or ratio.
    • Counts and Amounts (Size)—This map style uses an orderable sequence of proportional sizes to represent numerical data. Larger symbols indicate larger numbers.
    • Color & Size—Map two variables and style the color and size of point symbols on the map. This is suitable when you want to show count information, such as total population, shaded by another variable, such as population density.
    • Bivariate—Map two variables using a single grid color ramp to classify both attributes on the map. This map style requires two different variables. See Add a variable to select a second variable.
    • Dot Density—This map style displays the variable as a collection of equally sized dots within each polygon on the map.
    • Dot Density with Color-Coded Map—Map two variables and finalize settings for the dot density of the first variable and the color ramp to classify the other variable in the background. This is suitable when you want to show count information shaded by a color-coded variable in the background.
    • Dot Density with Colored Dots—Map two variables as a collection of equally sized dots. First finalize settings for dot density, representing the first variable, and the color ramp for the dot color, representing the second variable.
  7. In the Data tab of the workflow pane, view the data in a table or bar chart. Do the following:
    • In Table view Table view, hover over an item in the table and the corresponding area is highlighted on the map.
    • To view the bar chart, click the Chart Chart view button. Hover over an item in the chart and the corresponding area is highlighted on the map.
    • You can apply an ascending or descending sort order.
    • Click Export to Excel to export the data from the color-coded map to an Excel worksheet.
  8. Click Next.
  9. To complete the workflow, the following options are available:
    • Click View/Edit Results to return to the workflow results (step 3 in the above instructions).
    • Click New Color-Coded Map to return to the first stage of the workflow and start a new map (step 2 in the above instructions).
    • Click I'm Done to close the Color-Coded Maps workflow.

Add a second variable

After you have mapped one variable, click Add variable in the workflow pane to map a second variable. For example, if you created a color-coded map of the Total Population variable, you can click Add variable and then use the data browser to add the Population Density variable to the map.

When there are two variables on the map, the default map style is Color & Size, with the color of the symbols representing one of the variables and the size of the symbols representing the other. You can also use the Bivariate, Dot Density with Color-Coded Map, and Dot Density with Colored Dots styles to map two variables.

To modify the map style when color-coding two variables, do the following:

  1. In the workflow pane, in the Style tab, select a map style.
  2. Modify the map using available styling options.

    If you select a style that only maps one variable, the map displays the first of the two variables you added. To view the other variable, click Switch variables.

    On the Data tab of the workflow pane, the variable values for all geographies in the color-coded map are shown.

  3. To view both variables in the Table or Chart view, click View full table.

    You can apply an ascending or descending sort order.

  4. Click Export to Excel to export the table as an Excel worksheet.

    Values for both variables are exported.

Map styles

You can explore your data through a variety of map styles. When you style a color-coded map, the type of data and number of variables determine the styling options. You can experiment with color ramps, line weights, transparency, symbols, and other graphic elements, and see your choices reflected immediately on the map. The map styles are described below.

Note:

Not all map styles are available for every color-coded map.

Counts and Amounts (Color)

Styling counts and amounts by color can highlight data variances. For example, a light-to-dark color theme can show low-to-high data values. This style maps only one variable. If you have two variables on the map, you can click Switch variables to view the second one in this style. Settings for this map style include the following:

  • Use the Theme drop-down menu to choose a color theme. Each theme can tell a different story by matching colors to data in different ways. Choose Default colors to use a color ramp that highlights the contrast between areas on the map with high and low values of the variable. Choose High to Low to apply a color ramp with a continuous gradient of a single color-this is suitable for mapping variables like population density. Choose Above and Below to use a color ramp that applies two distinctive color gradients to the values above and below a value like zero, or the average. This is suitable for mapping a variable such as population growth rate, to highlight areas where the population is increasing (growth rate above zero) and declining.

  • Use the Colors drop-down menu to choose a color ramp. Click Reverse ramp colors Reverse ramp colors to change the direction of the color ramp.

  • Use the Method drop-down menu to choose a classification method. Choose Quantile to create classes with the same number of features. Choose Natural breaks to partition data into classes based on peaks and valleys in the data distribution. Choose Equal interval to create classes with equal spacing on the number line between the lowest and highest values of the variable.

  • Use the Classes slider to choose the number of classes, or groups, the data is broken into.

  • Use the Transparency slider to adjust the color transparency.

  • Use the Border drop-down menu to choose the border weight. Click the color swatch to choose a border color.

  • Use the Place and Road check boxes to turn labels on or off for these geographical features.

Counts and Amounts (Size)

This map style uses an orderable sequence of proportional sizes to represent numerical data. Adjust the size of the symbols to clarify the story you're telling. For example, you can use proportional symbols to show the annual average daily traffic in a city. Higher values are drawn with larger symbols and lower values are drawn with smaller symbols. Settings for this map style include the following:

  • Use the Transparency slider to adjust the color transparency.
  • Use the Border drop-down menu to choose the border weight. Click the color swatch to choose a border color.
  • Use the Place and Road check boxes to turn labels on or off for these geographical features.

Click More options to view additional settings:

  • Use the Symbol drop-down menu to change the symbol, modify its color, or upload your own.
  • If you have two variables on the map, use the Divided by drop-down menu to select the second variable and adjust values for the comparison.
  • Use the handles on the size value slider to adjust the values for symbol sizes.
  • Check the Classify data check box. Use the Method drop-down menu to choose a classification method. Choose Quantile to create classes with the same number of features. Choose Natural breaks to partition data into classes based on peaks and valleys in the data distribution. Choose Equal interval to create classes with equal spacing on the number line between the lowest and highest values of the variable. Use the Classes slider to choose the number of classes, or groups, the data is broken into.

Color & Size

Map two variables and style the color and size of point symbols on the map. This is a good style to use to show count information (size) shaded by a rate (color)—for example, the number of people with no health insurance shaded by the percentage of the population that is uninsured. You can also map a single variable twice: once to set the size of the symbols and again to set the colors, based on which part of the data you want to emphasize. Settings for this map style include the following:

  • Use the Transparency slider to adjust the color transparency.
  • Use the Border drop-down menu to choose the border weight. Click the color swatch to choose a border color.
  • Use the Place and Road check boxes to turn labels on or off for these geographical features.

Click More options to view additional settings:

  • In the Color tab, use the Symbol drop-down menu to change the symbol and modify its color.
  • In the Color tab, use the Theme drop-down menu to choose a color theme. Each theme can tell a different story by matching colors to data in different ways. Choose High to Low to apply a color ramp with a continuous gradient of a single color—this is suitable for mapping variables like population density. Choose Above and Below to use a color ramp that applies two distinctive color gradients to the values above and below a value like zero or the average. This is suitable for mapping a variable such as population growth rate to distinctly highlight areas where the population is increasing (growth rate above zero) and declining. Choose Centered On to add transparency to the outliers in the data, visually highlighting the values within +/- 1 standard deviation of the mean of all the values. This is suitable when you want to map the values at the center of the range, for example, areas with household incomes close to the mean. Choose Extremes to apply focus to the tail ends of the range, that is, the values outside +/- 1 standard deviation of the mean. This is suitable when the values at the extremes are of interest, for example, when mapping variables pertaining to poverty levels or crime. Use the color sliders to adjust the theme's color gradient.
  • In the Size tab, use the handles on the size value slider to adjust the values for symbol sizes. Use the symbol size slider, or enter values, to adjust the symbol sizes.

Bivariate

Map two variables using a single grid color ramp to classify both attributes on the map. Bivariate maps show the quantitative relationship between two variables. Bivariate symbology is best used to emphasize the highest and lowest values on the map or to find correlations. This map style applies a distinct graduated color ramp to the classified data in each attribute and then combines the color ramps, allowing you to see where the attributes may be related. This map style requires two different variables. See Add a variable to select a second variable. Settings for this map style include the following:

  • Use the Colors drop-down menu to choose a color ramp. Click Reverse ramp colors Reverse ramp colors to change the direction of the color ramp.
  • Use the Method drop-down menu to choose a classification method. Choose Quantile to create classes with the same number of features. Choose Natural breaks to partition data into classes based on peaks and valleys in the data distribution. Choose Equal interval to create classes with equal spacing on the number line between the lowest and highest values of the variable.
  • Use the Classes slider to choose the number of classes, or groups, the data is broken into.
  • Use the Transparency slider to adjust the color transparency.
  • Use the Border drop-down menu to choose the border weight. Click the color swatch to choose a border color.
  • Use the Place and Road check boxes to turn labels on or off for these geographical features.

Dot Density

This map style displays the variable as a collection of equally sized dots within each polygon on the map. With this style, each dot represents a count of something or someone, such as citizens, sales, or crimes. When you apply this map style, you select the quantity represented by each dot—for example, one dot represents 20 trees. The Density and Dot value controls are not independent but inversely related to each other. Lowering the Density value proportionately increases the Dot value, and vice versa.

By default, the Dot value dynamically changes when the map extent is changed. You can click Lock Lock to keep the current dot value and prevent it from changing, if that dot value is supported at the modified map extent. This style maps only one variable. If you have two variables on your map, you can click Switch variables to view the second one in this style. Settings for this map style include the following:

  • For Dot value, click Edit Edit to adjust the value that a dot represents. Optionally, click Lock Lock to prevent the value from changing.
  • Use the Density slider to adjust the density of dots on the map.
  • Use the Size slider to adjust the size of the dots.
  • Use the Dot color swatch to choose the color of the dots.
  • Use the Transparency slider to adjust the color transparency.
  • Use the Border drop-down menu to choose the border weight. Click the color swatch to choose a border color.
  • Use the Background color swatch to choose a background color for the map.
  • Use the Place and Road check boxes to turn labels on or off for these geographical features.

Dot Density with Color-Coded Map

Choose two variables and use dot density to map the first variable and a color ramp to classify the other variable in the background. You can use the same attribute twice, represented as a collection of equally sized dots in the foreground and classified with the color ramp in the background. For example, you can map the total population as dots and shade the background according to per capita income. To do so, select Total Population as the variable on the Dot density tab and Per Capita Income as the variable on the Color coded maps tab. Settings for this map style include the following:

  • In the Dot density tab, follow the instructions above for the Dot density map style.
  • In the Color coded maps tab, follow the instructions above for the Counts and Amounts (Color) map style.
  • Use the Transparency slider to adjust the color transparency.
  • Use the Border drop-down menu to choose the border weight. Click the color swatch to choose a border color.
  • Use the Place and Road check boxes to turn labels on or off for these geographical features.

Dot Density with Colored Dots

Choose two variables and use dot density to map the first variable and dot color to classify the other variable. First finalize settings for dot density, representing the first variable, and the color ramp for the dot color, representing the second variable. You can use the same variable twice, classified by both dot density and dot color. For example, you can map the total population and shade the dots by a color-classified variable, such as per capita income. To do so, select Total Population as the variable on the Dot density tab and Per Capita Income as the variable on the Color tab. It is suggested that you use the Dark Gray Canvas basemap to achieve the best visualization experience. Settings for this map style include the following:

  • In the Dot density tab, follow the instructions above for the Dot density map style.
  • In the Color tab, follow the instructions above for the Counts and Amounts (Color) map style.
  • Use the Transparency slider to adjust the color transparency.
  • Use the Border drop-down menu to choose the border weight. Click the color swatch to choose a border color.
  • Use the Background color swatch to choose a background color for the map.
  • Use the Place and Road check boxes to turn labels on or off for these geographical features.

Set preferences

You can set preferences for ArcGIS Community Analyst in the app preferences. For the Color-Coded Maps workflow, you can set color, transparency, and border preferences for the map and choose preferences for data breaks. Administrators can set preferences for the entire organization.

To set the workflow preferences, do the following:

  1. On the top ribbon, click Preferences Preferences.

    The Preferences window opens.

  2. Expand the Maps section, expand the Create Maps section, and click Color-Coded Maps.
  3. Optionally, set the following preferences:
    • Use the Colors drop-down menu to select a color ramp.
    • Use the Color Order drop-down menu to use the default or reversed color order for the color ramp selected.
    • Use the Transparency slider to set the color-coded map transparency.
    • Use the Border drop-down menu to choose the border weight. Click the color swatch to choose a border color.
    • Use the Breaks slider to set the number of classes.
    • Use the Method drop-down menu to choose a preferred classification method.

    You can restore the default settings by clicking Restore Defaults.

  4. To save your changes, click Save or, optionally, click Save and Close to close the Preferences window. To view your changes, refresh the app.

Workflow video

Note:

This video was created using ArcGIS Business Analyst Web App, where the user experience and workflows are identical to ArcGIS Community Analyst.