If you haven’t discovered Data Driven Pages yet, boy do we have a treat for you.

Why are Data Driven Pages so awesome?

Data driven pages allow you to easily create multi-paged map books from one map file that are consistent in appearance. It will definitely make your life easier if you have to break up an area into multiple maps for better viewing of data. For instance, 1:20k maps along a 500km corridor feature, such as a river or pipeline, or 1:10k maps covering a whole municipality.

  • Consistent appearance: Create one layout then generate pages based on an indexing layer
  • Easy setup: create an index layer, set up, do a little adjusting and there you have it
  • Three indexing options: a regular grid over the extent of your area of interest, a strip grid for linear features and an irregular grid based of features in a feature class
  • Dynamic text: auto generates map elements such as scale bar, north arrow, page number and map name
  • Rotating data frame: Using the angle attribute is useful for strip indexes because it rotates the data for a better fit the data frame.

Some tips for using Data Driven Pages

Once you have added and symbolized all your data to the map it time to decide how you want to define your pages. Creating a Grid index using a feature class with just one polygon, such as the province of British Columbia, will create a regular grid over the extent of that polygon. If you choose a feature class with multiple polygons it will create an index for each feature, such as each province in Canada or for each sample plot in a study area. With a linear feature, such as a river or highway, you can create a strip index to create a grid of along the linear feature. You can also edit the index layer you created if it needs some tweaking. For instance, if there is map page that only contains a small portion of the area of interest it can be shifted to overlap more with another index polygon.

When setting up your data driven pages you can set the scale for each map page to remain the same or you may want the scale to change depending on the size of the feature indexed. Some other great things to do use when setting up your layout are dynamic map elements and a locator map. Elements such as the north arrow, page number, title, scale, and extent indicators will update depending on the map page. The location map is great for view were the data on a particular map page is located in relation to the rest of the data.

For more details checkout esri’s resources on data driven pages.

Image: NASA
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