Esri ArcMap: Map colors for shape files

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  hoangvietanh 6 years, 8 months ago.

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    can someone tell me if I’m missing something here….

    I download the cultural vector data from here

    I want some software that will open them as they appear in the thumbnails.

    Open to suggestions here. Presumably I must use something like ArcMap.

    I did try the illustrator / map publisher > but this just defaulted to grey.

    I create a new project, add data by selecting the shp files.

    These are all added without problems but they are default insipid pale colors and don’t look like the rich green / blue thumbnails.

    What am I doing wrong? Using the wrong software? opening the wrong file?

    Are there separate project files that I need to open / download?

    thanks for any pointers.




    @JP: Adding a default symbology to Natural Earth is a popular request. Unfortunately, the industry standard shapefile format the project uses for distribution does not allow styling, only the raw geometry and attributes. There are, however, complementary solutions (like distributing an MXD, Layer file, or Cascadenik CSS) but we don’t offer one at present.

    At first blush, adding styling to Natural Earth seems like a simple task. Rivers and lakes should be blue, land creamy brown, and so on. But sometimes rivers shouldn’t be blue, I’ve seen white and purple be just as effective. It’s dependent on the type and complexity of the map one is designing to communicate a specific message. That’s what drives “custom” cartography versus simply overlaying markers on a generic basemap (mashing up over Google, Bing, OSM, MQ, etc).

    When Tom and I initiated the project, we envisioned Natural Earth as a source for quality raw map ingredients to facilitate custom (bespoke) cartography; a gourmet restaurant supply wholesaler, if you will. The thumbnails you see with each Natural Earth theme are akin to the tempting photos that glossy cookbooks run along side their recipes. But like at any good restaurant, sated mappers what to know the secret of a good recipe so they can try it at home and share them with friends (or customers). High quality ingredients alone aren’t always enough.

    I’d like to include a few, kitchen-tested recipes recommendations with Natural Earth. If you’d like to help beta test one, please let me know. I hear the kitchen timer buzzing now ;)




    +1. A default symbology set in the form of mxd will add a lot of value for the casual mappers. There are many people who are fairly advanced GIS users but working more on the analytical side would benefit from the default styling. I would say for an average “analytical GIS” user, styling such a large dataset as Natural Earth is a big hurdle.

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