Do research on your mapping subject! There is always a visual narrative to present in your design and cartography. If there is a theme that ties into your map, try to incorporate it and make design choices beyond options that ‘just look nice’.
King Edward I built a series of fortresses to aid his conquest of north Wales. These castles have been termed the Ring of Iron. The most notable are Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech; all have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This map poster, in the style of a 13th-century manuscript, displays the castle locations and provides further information on these fortifications. It also features a building footprint of Harlech Castle to, highlight its double-wall structure and its architectural symmetry.
For a more detailed walk through of the creation of this map, check out the Putting the ArcGIS cartography tools through their paces session from our 2023 Annual Conference.
The 13th Century theme of the map was heavily inspired by the works of Matthew Paris, a monk of St Albans Abbey, particularly his map of Great Britain. Inspiration was also taken from 13th/14th-century manuscripts that also depict King Edward I and other works by Matthew Paris (a, b, c).
The map uses symbol layers in ArcGIS Pro to mimic the styling of our inspirations, starting from shared style files. By layering different textures of parchment, watercolour and brushstrokes with different blending modes, we can achieve an old medieval map style.
This map also uses a lot of custom artwork, such as the icons, letterings and decorative border. These little details really add to the overall medieval theme.
Balqis (she/hers) is a GIS Consultant at Esri UK with a background in Earth Sciences. Alongside her interests in GIS and Cartography, Balqis enjoys painting, going on walks and playing badminton.