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I asked for help in Creating species distribution map? about creating a species richness map out of X/Y coordinates and an information how many species there are in each coordinate. I finally got it done. But the result is not very nice (see picture 1). I used graduated colors and then squares of size 4, to not get single points everywhere, but kind of closed layers.

  1. Do you have any idea how to improve this?
  2. How can I get my map to a nicer shape as we are used to, like in picture 2?

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This is the result so far.

Any ideas how to improve it?

Or do you think the first map without any projection was better?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by PolyGeo Oct 24 '17 at 6:46

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Can you provide further details about the creation of the map? As I understand, you present the points with symbology aimed to create a surface-like presentation. Have you considered using an interpolation to predict a biodiversity surface from your points? it might as well help you with the aesthtics of your output. – dof1985 Mar 15 '15 at 15:27
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    Looks like a Mercator projection (pic1) you need to reproject the data in Robinson Projection (pic2) resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#/Robinson/… – Mapperz Mar 15 '15 at 15:40
  • Hello dof1985. That is exactly what I did. Sorry for not being precise enough. I got coordinates with a value of how many species occur there (At XY 11 species, at XYZ 15 species). I dont want to do too much interpolation of any kind, because this map right now is already an interpolation. The occurences are derived from habitat features, not from actual sightings. You understand what I mean? But if it allows for improving the aethetics without actually changing the result, that would be interesting. That said, I was more looking for tips how to design what I have. I really appreciate you help – Sara Mar 15 '15 at 18:45
  • @ Mapperz: I did not use any projection at all. It is just WGS1984. But can I change that to the Robinson Projection you mentioned, without changing the actual result? I dont want that, because the result is fine - I was just hoping to be able to "pimp" it a little bit for the publication. I am thankful for any hint. Cheers! – Sara Mar 15 '15 at 18:47
  • @Sara Yes, you can reproject in the Robinson projection without changing the actual result. You just need to change the coordinate system of your dataframe. – radouxju Mar 15 '15 at 19:46

The aesthetics might look better if you used colors that are more similar to one another, so you wouldn't get such an affront to your eyes. If you look inside national geographic, they often have basemap features in dark grays and blacks, with dividing lines in white, with a single color representing the variable they are showing. Usually a muted red. Using a more simple 1-color ramp might produce more nice-looking results!

Also, I'm not too sure how your data is coded, but if you have more continuous data than ~10 levels, you may want to just add more levels in between so the colors change more gradually than what you're showing here.

Also a legend would be helpful to show what the colors mean!

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