Creating strip map index features

Strip map index features can be used to define each page of your strip map. These features define the spatial extent and map rotation for each page along with providing the data that can be used to label the next and the previous pages.

Strip map example

The example above shows a strip map for the Rhine River between the cities of Köln and Koblenz. This 44-page series can be easily created by any ArcMap user with an Internet connection. The data comes from the World Topographic map service available at ArcGIS Online. You can easily re-create this strip map using Data Driven Pages, the geoprocessing tools available from the Data Driven Pages toolset, data frame properties, and dynamic text. You will need to create the line feature used to determine the route of the strip map. This can be done by creating a new line feature class using the ArcMap editing tools.

The following steps use the Strip_Map_Index_Features geoprocessing tool to create a strip map index feature class. This is the feature class used to define the map extents for the example strip map above. These steps assume you have completed the steps outlined in the following topics:


Though you can adapt these steps for your own maps or strip map, keep in mind that the steps cited in this example are specific for the sample map book shown above. Using these exact steps on a different set of maps may lead to unexpected results.

  1. Open the Strip_Map_Index_Features geoprocessing tool.

    You can find the tool by opening Search and typing Grid Index Features, or you can locate the tool under Toolboxes > System Toolboxes > Cartography Tools > Data Driven Pages.

    Strip Map Index Features geoprocessing tool options

  2. Click Input Line Features arrow and choose the line layer Upper Rhine.
  3. This is the feature class you created when preparing the map for this particular strip map example.
  4. Click the Output Feature Class browse button Open and specify the location and name for the grid index features you are about to create. For example, you can name this feature class strip_map_index and save it to your default geodatabase.
  5. Click the units arrow and choose Kilometers.
  6. Enter 2.4 for the Length Along the Line.
  7. Enter 1.8 for the Length Perpendicular to the Line.
  8. The dimensions of the data frame for the main map is 8 inches by 6 inches. The aspect ratio is 0.75 (6/8). For best results, this aspect ratio should be maintained in determining the dimensions for the strip map index feature. The dimensions are 2.4 km along the river and 1.8 km perpendicular to the river.
  9. Click the Page Orientation arrow and choose VERTICAL.
  10. This parameter is used to determine the orientation of the input line features on the layout page. A value of HORIZONTAL means that direction of the strip map series on the page is left to right. A value of VERTICAL means that direction of the strip map series on the page is top to bottom. The geographic orientation for the portion of the Rhine River we want to map is north–south. Therefore, we want our strip map pages to flow from top to bottom. In doing so, we maintain north toward the top of the page. VERTICAL is the appropriate choice. If the line feature we were mapping were predominately east–west, we would want the direction of the strip map to be left to right on the page.
  11. Leave the default values for Percentage of Overlap, Starting Page Number, and Strip Map Direction.
  12. Learn more about the Strip_Map_Index_Features geoprocessing tool
  13. Click OK.

A new feature class, strip_map_index is created, and if ArcMap is open, added to your active data frame. As you can see, there are some grids that only cover water. This feature class contains fields that are vital to creating a strip map. These fields include

For more information on these fields and other fields created by this tool, see Strip_Map_Index_Features. The next step in creating the strip map is enabling Data Driven Pages.

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