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Mapping with ArcGIS Pro by Ryan Malhoski, Amy Rock

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Generalizing boundaries

When making thematic maps, the data we use for reference can actually draw the viewer's eye from the data we, as mapmakers, want to show them. A lot of boundaries that mapmakers use as a basemap can distract viewers from the main purpose of the map. Unless it is specifically needed, you should generalize the boundaries within your basemap. For example, see the following figure:

Figure 6.10: Manhattan island outline comparison

The first boundary on the left shows the island of Manhattan with every pier and a little bit of land around the edge of the island. When a map viewer first looks at this, they will most likely ...

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