Project #5 Making a Dot Density Map

Project #5Making a Dot Density Map

this project will take advantage of understandingdot density mapsand using their features to solve problems.The dot density map is a popular form of thematic mapping used by cartographers. A dot is used to represent a specific number of items (e.g., one dot representing 1,000 persons or entities), and the symbol is repeated until the,total number of items in an area is accounted for. As a decision-making tool, the technique allows for inferring density without using derived data.A good rule of thumb for mapping the United States isto use counties (or smaller units) when mapping the country, and use census tracts (or smaller units) when mapping at the state level. The larger the map scale you use, the more locational error is introduced with respect to dot placement.

This project will take advantage of analyzing data found in existing maps to determine the density of fishing and boating sites to areas of critical environmental concern.


  1. Using the OLIVER Interactive GIS tool add the following layers:
  • Office of Fishing and Boating Access Sites– found within the Conservation-Recreation/Office of Fishing and Boating Access Sites subfolder
  • Areas of Critical Environmental ConcernACECs– found within the Conservation-Recreation/Areas of Critical Environmental Concern subfolder


For brevity, the map with combined layers is below. The map provides data for fishing and boating access sites (point layer) represented by the boat symbols spread across the Commonwealth. Additionally, the map provides areas deemed as critical environmental concern (I changed the color to red for easier viewing.

The Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) datalayers provide digital polygon and line boundaries for areas that have been designated ACECs by the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). ACECs are places in Massachusetts that receive special recognition because of the quality, uniqueness and significance of their natural and cultural resources.  These areas are identified and nominated at the community level and are reviewed and designated by the state’s EEA Secretary.  ACEC designation creates a framework for local and regional stewardship of these critical resource areas and ecosystems.  ACEC designation also requires stricter environmental review of certain kinds of proposed development under state jurisdiction within the ACEC boundaries.


Figure 1 Combined Maps for Project 5

Analyze the map explain how the data is displayed. Your next task is to change the color of the fishing and boating access sites to be represented as one entity while leaving the Areas of critical environmental concern layer the same. Depending on the color chosen, your map should look similar to the one depicted below.

Figure 2 Revised Maps for Project 5

Using the “Draw a Buffer” tool at the bottom left of the OLIVER window, you will create your own Dot Density maps to represent the density of fishing and boating access sites to Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. Your task will be to resize each buffer (by mile) to represent the density of sites against the areas of environmental concern. You can divide the Commonwealth into three areas (West, Central, Northeast, coast, southeast, etc). For analysis purposes, use a 25 mile buffer for areas further away from the coast and a 5-10 mile buffer for areas closer to the coast.


Since OLIVER does not allow for saving multiple buffers within the map, you will have to create several maps with individual buffers (at different sizes) to represent your analysis. For example, one of buffers I created is below. When analyzing the critical areas within the west/southwest part of the Commonwealth, I used a 25-mile buffer and determined that there are approximately 25 fishing and boating access sites within this range (Figure 3). The buffer is used to determine the density of sites within a 25-mile radius. This is similar to the dot density analysis used in ArcGIS.  For your analysis, you can go into additional detail on the types of access (canoe, boating, etc) and why do you think some (pick one or two) of these sites may have restrictions because of the environmental concern.


Figure 3 25-mile Buffer West/Southwest Area


Figure 4 25-mile Buffer for North Central Area


 Within your report

  1. Describe and discuss dot density maps and the maps being used for this analysis.
  2. Analyze and display thedata on boating and fishing sites by type in addition to the areas of environmental concern.

Submission of Project

You project should be submitted, in Word document form via the Turnitin link within the corresponding Week by the due date. The following are the requirements for the Word file:

  • Cover Page
  • Project Summary/Introduction
  • Explanation of maps and layers used
  • Buffered maps (insert cropped pics of each map into the Word Document and label each appropriately)
  • Analysis/ Recommendations (if any, related to the design and aesthetics or even future analysis)
  • Conclusion
  • References (textbook, articles on dot density maps, OLIVER, etc)


This project is worth 30 points. The following rubric will be used to assess your project submission.

Critical Elements Exemplary (3) Good (2) Fair (1) Poor (0)
Visuals All visuals added with clear understanding of how they connect to the objective without errors Proper amount and use of visuals, but some small errors in captions or explanations. Some visuals added, but less than the required number or some visuals do not connect to the objective. Student did not answer this question.


All objectives clearly and professionally met by thorough informative text Informative text I clear and helpful in understanding objective. Sources cited where necessary. Some errors in grammar or missing information. Some informative text added, but more needed to properly address objectives. Student did not answer this question.
Embedded Map


Map contains all data in clean, easy to read format. Clear attention to details of making a professional map. Evidence in effort to display data. All data sets are clear and understandable. Still some small errors, such as layer order, transparency, popups, or symbology Map construction is attempted, but is missing data layers, or is unreadable. Student did not answer this question.


All questions are completed correctly and show clear comprehension of concepts. All questions completed and most questions answered correctly. Only a few questions lack full analysis. Most questions attempted, but more than half are incomplete or incorrect. Student did not answer questions.


Project fully completed on, or before given timeframe. Worktime well utilized with clear regards to deadline. Project mostly completed, with some errors present requiring resubmission. Work time well utilized. Project attempted, but far from complete before given deadline. Project not completed.

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