30 second guide

Arc Explorer is Easy to Learn
Arc Explorer is Easy to Learn

Each workstation is currently configured independently, but with a similar setup:

  • Map Maker I is the main community facility
  • Map Maker II is being used by Sue, use the Map Maker profile.

Viewing maps or selecting a view to copy into a presentation or publish to a website is quite easy.

Printing good quality basic maps is quite easy.

Creating basic maps with your data is quite easy, but requires considerable discipline.

Using other people’s data, querying and customising views can be difficult.

Making maps of publication quality, with keys can be quite difficult.

Start by reading View Maps with Arc Explorer (Java version)

When things go wrong

Map Maker and Arc GIS can play up from time to time.

The usual causes are:

  • You have tried to load a corrupt data set
  • You are trying to view or link to a very large data set / database
  • You are performing a complex operation on a very large data set

That said, both programs will throw inexplicable errors from time to time.   If you get repeated errors try:

  • Closing the program and starting it again
  • Restarting the Workstation / PC

If neither of these resolves your problem, and you cannot open the program, it may need reinstalling.

Otherwise you can try and

  • Simplify your project by reducing the number layers, the linked databases
  • Start the project again

Maps, Layers, Attributes and Meta Data

A map is a view of one or more data layers.

Data layers contain polygons, lines or points or images (commonly TIF format.)

So we can make maps from data that is arranged in layers.

Data with attributes (fields that can contain multiple pieces of information about a polygon, line or a point) can be styled to make keys for legends and more useful maps.

Attribute data can be queried directly (e.g. using a spreadsheet) or spatially using one of the GIS tools.

Meta Data describes your data.  In many cases the data sets that we have received have little or no accompanying meta data.

Data provenence e.g.  from a government body shouldn’t imply that it either accurate or up to date, nor imply ownership – check that you have the right to use / publish it.  Always give credits to data providers.

The usefulness of any data is dependent on the purpose of your enquiry, the quality of the data, and its resolution.

The Public Map Store

Each workstation has a Public Map Store.

The Public Map Store is where all the map data and core projects are kept.

Do not save your projects here unless you wish to make them public or have them potentially overwritten when an update is performed. The Public Map Store will be updated from time to time.

To make sure your maps are stored permanantly ALWAYS save them to the My Documents folder.

Print a Basic OS Map

So you need a basic map to take on a site visit?

If you need an Ordnance Survey Map, you can use the mapping facility to get a detailed map at the following scales

  • 1:50,000
  • 1:25,000
  • 1:10,00
  • 1:2,500

While Arc Explorer Java is really good for viewing and exploring data, it is very poor for printing.

Map Maker on the other hand will ensure good quality prints.

Load up the All Maps project and zoom into the area you wish to print, Map Maker should automatically pick the map at a scale suitable for showing on screen.

Adjust your view and simply FILE > PRINT

Quick Print is just that, remember only to set the orientation of your map.  Limitation: there is no preview and the OS licence number will be missing.

Scaled Print opens up options to use borders, select a variety of output sizes up to A0, use a pre-made template, and also preview your artful creation.



You pressed print and nothing happened? Check you sent it to the correct printer or set your default printer.

You want the relevant OS key to print out as a legend? It can be done, but that’s another article.