Map requirements

Below are a few tips on map requirements to help you get the essential information together so we can produce effective viewable maps.

Map requirements – ArcMap Exports

  • Background layer can be a raster (aerial photo or topographic) or vector graphic (polygons).
  • All other layers must be vectors


  • When there is a raster layer in a group then any layer below it becomes part of the raster ‘image’ in the exported pdf, even the layers that were vector themselves. If there is only one raster layer in the map then that is okay as long as it is the bottom layer.
  • When vector layers have a transparency applied to them (as in the NPWS estate and reserves), they also become rasters when exported as part of the pdf and cause the same issue.


  • Turn off the transparency on all layers.
  • Turn off any raster layers unless they are the base layer.
  • When exporting from ArcMap as a pdf select the advanced tab and make certain that ‘export pdf layers is chosen’.


  • If the bottom layer is a raster image ensure it is the actual size of the brochure map or sign map and export at 300 dpi.
  • Dashed lines – tracks (and any other dashed lines) are to be exported as solid lines. They are then converted back to dashes in Adobe Illustrator.
  • If the map is for signage, please indicate the viewing direction (45 degree increments) i.e. south, south east, east etc – to enable the creation of a heads up map for the visitor.


From this we will create a finished map similar to below or to your specifications.

Aerial photograph background maps

Final Map for Coffs Creek Section
Solitary Islands Coastal Walk – aerial photograph background
Detailed photographic background map
Detailed photographic background map

Shape file background maps

Dorrigo shape file map
Dorrigo shape file map

Illustrative maps

Wickham trailhead map
Wickham illustrative map
NAI 2014 Conference in Denver