For those readers out there who don’t know this, I really love making maps. More accurately, I love finding better ways to convey information/data to different audiences using maps. So though I do enjoy the aesthetics of a nicely “drawn” map, most of mine are rather simple in design. I want my maps, and the projects created to make them, to be used and useful. My absolute favorite kind of mapping involves developing a process for more automated mapping especially when we are talking a lot of maps. So boiled down, I like to develop a process for making more uniform and consistent-looking maps through a map series that clearly convey the intended message. For those who were lucky enough to know my former JJG boss, Tom Mettille, I thank/curse him for my little obsession with consistency and attention to detail. Well, him, my supervisor at the time, Michelle Lee, and a couple projects our JJG GIS team did for the Legal Services Corporation Office of Inspector General (OIG) – Georgia Legal Services Program and Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the extended study that covered Atlanta, Georgia, Montana, and Southern California. For a bit more background, I started working for their team as a GIS intern during the first GA/ATL project that was done in ArcView GIS 3.x. The extended study was done using ArcMap 8.x. They asked me to be the lead in the cartographic development for the extended study. The client wanted an “automated” mapping process that could be used for essentially any U.S. geography. Yeah, I know. I came up with the best solution I could. If you want to know more about that solution, leave a comment or email me. Back in the ArcGIS Desktop 8.x and 9.x days, I made good use of the DS Mapbook tools. Seriously, I owe these guys and gals a beer or twenty. The tool was so popular that it eventually became Data Driven Pages in the 10.x versions. What’s weird about that last sentence is the use of “popular” because every time I would bring up DS Mapbook, or now bring up Data Driven Pages, I get this quizzical look of confusion and then the inevitable question, “What’s that do?” If you are asking that question right now, Data Driven Pages (and DS Mapbook) allows you to create a series of map pages based on a grid layer (polygon). The map pages are stored within a ArcMap project (MXD). You can find out more from ArcGIS Help 10.2 for Data Driven Pages. This week, I’ve been helping Randy with one of our clients in forestry/timber. He asked me to create maps for all the tracts they have in their properties that will be used for getting edits from the timber guys. So far, I have 44 tracts falling within 4 main properties but I’m anticipating that they will get more. This needs to be done with topos then with aerial imagery in the background, so at least 88 maps so far. I also wanted to give them a cleaner, more consistent-looking product to share with their own clients. I need to make this easy and repeatable so hello, Data Driven Pages. Source.