I have to send a thanks to Esri’s John Nelson @john_m_nelson for the inspiration on this! John recently shared a tutorial that teaches you to create a beautiful “hand drawn” style map of any place of interest for your Dad – a perfect Father’s Day idea! It got me thinking about custom vector basemap styles for Dad’s favorite sports team – a card with a custom map on it might make his day!
Making a very cool, custom map for Dad is pretty easy and you can learn some handy tips along the way as well. Case in point, imagine making a map of your Dad’s hometown or favorite city, perhaps Seattle for example, if he happens to be a big Mariners or Seahawks fan. Simply set your map extents to an area of interest, define your custom basemap style, use it to create a story map, map journal, or print your map out as a poster or for inclusion on a card. I’m a huge sports fan, and I tell you what, I’d love this!
To create your custom color or themed basemap for use in your maps or apps, you have a couple of choices. From a savvy developer, the team basemaps app has been open sourced and placed on Github. This is a simple and fun way to create your custom, sports themed basemap. The second choice involves dabbling with Vector Tile Style editor. Both are explained below.
Team Basemaps Services
The team basemaps map service provides pre-defined color basemap layers defined for just about every professional sports team you can imagine. Users can select from English Premiere League teams, the MBL (baseball), MLS soccer, NBA basketball, NFL football, and NHL hockey. Simply zoom to an area of interest, elect a team from the pull-down menu, and capture the image for use any way you see fit. Instruction on creating your sports theme basemap are HERE
Seattle map with Seattle Mariners basemap layer – see the interactive webmap HERE
Vector Tile Styles
Vector tiles support dynamic, interactive cartography that can be customized and personalized. It was back in 2015 when Andrew Turner of Esri first announced that ArcGIS would be supporting vector tile basemaps (See this fine article), and, since then, Esri has rolled out some great enhancements that have enable GIS professionals and map makers to do some amazing things!
To get started, all you need to do is select an existing basemap, like my favorite, the World Dark Grey Canvas basemap, then start customizing the layer properties like colors and labels, patterns, transparency settings, and zoom level visibility. Last year, when the Nashville Predators made their Stanley Cup playoff run I created a cool, Predators Vector basemap layer (See HERE), the layer is available in ArcGIS Online – perhaps useful for those Dads that are Preds fans! Below we share a fun GEO Jobe themed Basemap created with the Style Editor. See full instruction in this how to article.
A GEO Jobe color themed vector tile basemap
Regardless of which method you use, creating a custom basemap is fun and the possibilities are endless. Best of all, you know Dad is going to love it, and you’ll also learn something new that you can possibly apply to your work or on a future project.
For you dads out there, have a Happy Father’s Day. If you create a cool map for dad, please feel free to tell us about it. You can message us any time on Twitter @geojobegis