Creating a Map Layout from Start to Finish - Map Data and Data Frames

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Map Data and Data Frames

All maps must have at least one data frame (or pane) and some data within that map. Using the Insert Menu, we can insert as many data frames as deemed necessary to best convey the message of our map. Data frames help us to eliminate white space as well as provide a place for an overview (showing the location of a county within a state) or focus map (showing a congested downtown area among a bike path map). Sometimes, the data will be spread out across a large geographic area, such as a map of the United States which includes Alaska and/or Hawaii or a map that focuses on the East and West Coasts, but excluded Middle America. Using the Data Frame Properties, we can change the projection of each data frame. In cases where the data should be represented in all the same projection, such as with overview and focus maps, data is most often copied from one data frame to the next. Knowing that the first layer added to a new data frame dictates the projection it will take, by setting a projection for one layer (using the Project tool if necessary), the copying that layer to other data frames will transfer that projection. Also knowing that a Data Frames projection will project all the layers on the fly, you can also just change the projection for the data frames individually.