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DEM/Hillshde Transparency in Legend

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#1
Andrew

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Hi all,

I think anyone using ArcGIS will have come across this problem at one point in time.
Placing a DEM ontop of a hillshade with some transparency is something commonly done, but I have always had trouble displaying the terrain from my map in the legend accurately.

This link to the ESRI mapping centre I found quite handy, it maybe a long a bit long winded but its a work around none the less. I was also quite happy with the result.

Hope some else finds it as useful as I did.

Cheers
Andrew

#2
Adam Wilbert

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There is also the trick of breaking the legend down into the basic drawing forms, then re-coloring spot colors in the legend with the eye-dropper tool. This works well for representing, say, a 50% transparent solid fill for parkland that sits on top of your hillshade. Its definitely a hack-job, but that seems to be the way ArcMap works. Somewhere along the way though you have to ask yourself why one would even bother. When I find myself applying analysis-level tools simply to achieve some basic graphic pazaz, (my favorite is the multiple ring buffer = poor-man's-gradient) I shake my fist at the ESRI Gods and curse them. ... Then I export to Illustrator. :)

-Adam

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#3
David T

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Somewhere along the way though you have to ask yourself why one would even bother. When I find myself applying analysis-level tools simply to achieve some basic graphic pazaz, (my favorite is the multiple ring buffer = poor-man's-gradient) I shake my fist at the ESRI Gods and curse them. ... Then I export to Illustrator. :)

-Adam


Well...as we know, ArcGIS is a GIS tool, not a graphics tool. So, sometimes you have to make good with the tool you've got.

Actually, these types of tutorials and tricks are great for those of us that don't have access to Illustrator. The Marine Corps doesn't have an enterprise license for Illustrator, and getting the program installed costs us (and by extension, the taxpayer) a lot of money to 'rent' for single install on a machine. It can be difficult to do nice cartography in the Marine Corps - like that multiple-ring buffer/gradient - but, it works.

Besides, it's fun to stretch the envelope, and try to do things a different way. :) (I realize some of you don't have that luxury though)
David Toney, GISP
GIS Manager
United States Marine Corps
West Coast Installations

#4
Adam Wilbert

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Don't get me wrong, I totally agree with you. I think I might have as many shapefiles saved that aren't data at all but some complicated graphical effect as I have discrete datasets. Ring-Buffer lakes and shorelines aplenty! And I appreciate the fact that ESRI publishes these workarounds. But I'd also appreciate it if they would admit that they're overly-complicated hacks and build in the basic functionality, since its obviously needed and wanted. Okay, a short rant of mine. :P And you're absolutely right, stretching the envelope is kind of fun in a won't-admit-it-to-my-spouse sort of geeky way. I'm sorry if my comment came across snooty. It was not intended as such.

The coolest thing that I saw come out of that ESRI Maping Center was the toolbox for creating shaded relief using multiple light sources. They used it on their Crater Lake example, but I can't find it now. It blew me away as far as what I thought was possible in Arc.

Adam Wilbert
CartoGaia.com & AdamWilbert.com
Lynda.com author of "Up and Running with ArcGIS"


#5
DaveB

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Here’s another method, especially useful for data symbolized with stretched color ramps, using polygons in a data frame:

First, you’ll want to create a rectangle feature in an otherwise empty polygon dataset. The shape should be similar to how you want the final legend to look. For example, if you want a tall narrow legend make the rectangle feature tall and narrow.

Next, you would add a data frame that contains two copies of this rectangle data layer. You can name the 2 layers to reflect the data, for example, “Hypsometric” or “Hillshade”. Then you would use gradient fills to symbolize the rectangles, using the same color ramps as on your map. For example a black and white ramp for the hillshade and a color ramp for the hypsometric layer. Rotate one of the ramps 90 degrees so it runs at right angles to the other ramp. And set the transparency in the Layer Properties > Display tab to match the transparency used in the corresponding layer in your map.

You will need to add any tick marks and labels as graphics in the layout.

Here is an example of a legend made with this method:

Attached Files


Dave Barnes
Esri
Product Engineer
Map Geek

#6
Andrew

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Ahhh its all ok, I didn't interpret your comment as snooty Adam :)

I just find this site really handy since I first found out about on this forum. For me as a GIS analyst I consider myself to be very at all things GIS, but on the map production and cartographic output side of things not as good as I would like (yet!).

When I am asked to produce a map to advertise works or projects to the public, I really want to put my best foot forward for both my sake and the company I work for. I really do believe that since becoming a member of this forum, and finding the ESRI mapping centre site for me means that I have been able to squeeze every last bit of potential out of ArcGIS which is my only tool. Internal customers have noticed a difference in the final product I forward them and from the feedback I have received it has been all good.

Andrew

#7
David T

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I'm sorry if my comment came across snooty. It was not intended as such.


Don't worry! You didn't come across snooty at all.

I'm the one that's always on the ArcGIS high horse, defending it's cartographic capabilities. And that's because it's the only tool I'm allowed to use.

Trust me, if I could get Illustrator to all of my GIS Analysts, for map production - I would. But that's just not the focus of the Marine Corps. So, my job is to figure out the best way to utilize the tools that we have, and to help the Marine Corps Analysts and Managers make better maps.
David Toney, GISP
GIS Manager
United States Marine Corps
West Coast Installations

#8
Matthew Hampton

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Nice trick DaveB!

I never thought of using a Dataframe in a legend. Thanks for opening my eyes a little wider...

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#9
Jillita

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I can't believe my luck in finding this thread exactly when I needed it! I was wondering how I'd represent landuse in a legend when I have a hillshade transparency giving me a multitude of other colors. I used the new dataframe trick and it worked perfectly. Thanks!

Attached Files



#10
rudy

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I never thought of using a Dataframe in a legend.

Neither did I. The ESRI Mapping Center has a recent post on the same thing with colourful illustrations to boot.




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