Create and use a map with column chart symbols

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Column chart symbols are used with maps to show the number of occurrences or proportions of categorical data associated to a single feature, using either a count or a summary statistic. Column chart symbols are created on a map using a string field and a location field containing coincident values.

Column chart symbols can answer questions about your data, such as the following:

  • How are categorical values distributed geographically?
  • How is the data ranked?


A GIS analyst working for a consortium of colleges wants to find which states have high-value colleges (colleges with a high ratio of earnings after graduation compared to tuition and fee costs). Part of her analysis includes comparing the number of public, private for-profit, and private nonprofit schools both within and between states. Creating a map with column chart symbols allows the analyst to make both comparisons simultaneously.

Column chart symbols showing college types by state

The analyst can tell from the map that the states with larger populations have more colleges overall. She decides to normalize the data by changing the symbols from Expanded to Stacked Percent. That way, she can compare the proportions of college types between states without being influenced by the total numbers of colleges in the state.

Column chart symbols showing the proportion of college types by state

Create a map with column chart symbols


Column chart symbols can only be created with multipart datasets in which features are collocated. These datasets can be created using a one-to-many join, or by enabling location on a dataset. If location is enabled with addresses or coordinates, Repeat identical features must remain unselected.

Complete the following steps to create a map with column chart symbols:

  1. Create a multipart dataset using one of the following methods:
    • Create a join between two datasets. Generally, these datasets will include the features you want to display on the map and a boundary layer.

      The join should be one-to-many, meaning each boundary feature contains more than one feature to map. In the example above, a join was created between a dataset with insurance data and state boundaries.

    • Enable location for the dataset.

      If you enable location for points using addresses or coordinates, Repeat identical features must remain unselected. This method should only be used in situations where multiple data points appear in the exact same location. For example, a dataset containing monthly status updates for fire hydrants in a city could contain a new input each month for each fire hydrant. Enabling location without repeating identical features will aggregate the inputs for each hydrant.

      If you enable location using geography, there should be multiple features within each boundary. This method functions the same as a one-to-many join.

  2. Expand a dataset in the data pane so that the fields are visible.
  3. Select one of the following combinations of data:
    • A location field plus a string field
    • A location field, a string field, and a number or rate/ratio field

    If you created a join in step 1, the location field you select must be the field that corresponds to the boundaries.


    You can search for fields using the search bar in the data pane.

  4. Drag the field to the page and drop it on the Map drop zone.

    You can also create a map by selecting a field and clicking the Map button above the data pane.

    If the map was created using a location field, string field, and number or rate/ratio field, then the map will be styled using pie chart symbols. If the map was created using a location field and a string field, then the map will be styled using unique symbols.

  5. Expand the legend to display the Layer options pane.
  6. Browse to the Symbology tab Symbology.
  7. Change Symbol type to Columns.

Usage notes

The Layer options pane is accessible by clicking the arrow next to the layer name and includes the following configuration options:

  • Use the Legend tab Legend to view the unique values on the map and make selections based on the values. To change the color associated with a value, click the symbol and choose a color from the palette or enter a hex value.
  • Use the Symbology tab Symbology to do the following:
    • Change the field and statistic displayed on the map or switch to a different type of map.
    • Change the display between Stacked Count, Stacked Percent, and Expanded.
      • Stacked Count—Each geographic feature is symbolized using a single bar with categories visualized as subgroups of the bar. The bar height is determined by the overall value of the Style by field and statistic, and the height of each category segment is determined by the statistic for the category.
      • Stacked Percent—Each geographic feature is symbolized using a single bar with categories visualized as subgroups of the bar. The bar height is uniform for each geographical feature, and the height of each category segment represents the percentage of that category relative to the geographic feature.
      • Expanded—Each category is represented by a separate bar. Bar heights are determined by the Style by field and statistic for each category.
  • Use the Annotation tab Annotation to configure the map pop-ups for the layer.
  • Use the Appearance tab Appearance to do the following:
    • Symbols—Change the symbol style properties, such as symbol size and layer transparency.
    • Layer effects—Enable bloom and drop shadow effects.
  • Use the Attributes tab Attributes to view details for features that are selected on the map.

Use the Card filter button Card filter to remove any unwanted data from your card. Filters can be applied to all string, number, rate/ratio, and date/time fields. A card filter does not affect other cards using the same dataset.

Use the Selection tools button Selection tools to select features on the map using the single select, box select, and lasso tools; zoom to the selection; or invert the selection.

Use the Zoom tools button Zoom tools to zoom in or out on the map, zoom to a selection, set the default extent of the map, zoom to a layer, or lock navigation on the map.

Use the Visualization type button Visualization type to switch directly between a map with column chart symbols and other visualizations, such as a summary table, stacked bar chart, chord diagram, or treemap.

Use the Sync extents button Sync extents to link the extent of all maps on the page so they zoom and pan simultaneously.

Use the Maximize button Maximize to enlarge the card. Other cards on the page will be reduced to thumbnails. The card can be returned to its previous size using the Restore down button Restore down.

Use the Enable cross filters button Enable cross filters to allow filters to be created on the card using selections on other cards. Cross filters can be removed using the Disable cross filters button Disable cross filters.

Use the Flip card button Flip card to view the back of the card. The Card info tab Card info includes a count of features and a text box for a description of the card.

Use the Card options button Card options to access the following menu options:

  • Appearance button Appearance—Change the background color, foreground color, border of the card, and map rotation, and add or remove the basemap layers and north arrow.
  • Order button Order—Move the card forward or send the card backward relative to other cards on the page.
  • Delete button Delete—Remove the card from the page. If you did not intend to delete the card, you can retrieve it using the Undo button Undo.


Column chart symbols show all unique categories associated with a single feature or location. If the features contain many unique categories or large differences between minimum and maximum counts, the column chart symbols may be difficult to interpret.


Use the following resources to learn more about maps: