Ask A Cartographer

Proper Citation of feature classes

December 01 2010 | 0 comments
Categories: Map Data, Publishing

How would you properly cite feature classes in a report or reference page?

Mapping Center Answer:

This is actually a longer answer than you probably want, but since I am in the process of writing a blog entry on this subject, I will also copy the draft of my blog entry here.  In this case, I am using the example of data that came from our Esri Data and Maps Media Kit - you would want to think about this in terms of the data used on your map:

The ESRI Data & Maps Media Kit is a wonderful collection of data that is provided with the software under license. The data are listed on what is referred to as the "Redistribution Rights Matrix". This Matrix is also located on our website at this link for the most current version of Data & Maps. When you use the data, you should cross check each data layer and consult the Matrix for information on the Redistribution Rights. If you click on the link above and look up the data layers you are using under the appropriate category (World, USA, etc.) you will find a redistribution code on the right hand side. The definitions for the codes are located in the subsequent pages (the FAQ's section) of that website link. Simply scroll down to find the definitions. You should be able to find the redistribution rights for any data layer you are using.

For example, if you are using the data in a hard copy, static format, you will need a "Yes 1" at a minimum or a "Yes 4" for the data layers you are using. Because this Matrix is in place for the data in the media kit, Esri does not provide formal permission grants for requests you may send us to use these data. It is up to you, the end user, to consult the Matrix and confirm that the type of use you propose is in fact permitted by the data vendor(s). Once the end user confirms that he or she has the proper rights to use the data as they have proposed, all that is required is that the data vendor be sourced for the use of the data.

The data vendor information is conveniently located on the Matrix in the second column. For example, under Canada, the shapefile "province.*" is a "Yes 1, 2" for Redistribution. You would then refer to the column "Data Source" and find that this data was provided under license by DMTI Spatial Inc. So, following this example, for the Canada layer "province.*" your attribution for the map created using this data should read "Source: DMTI Spatial Inc." This should be done for each data layer being used to create a map.

With regard to a statement on the map or in the publication (e.g., book, article) in which the map appears, Esri would be grateful if you would reference the use of Esri software to create your maps in a statement such as:

"Maps throughout this book were created using ArcGIS® software by Esri. ArcGIS® and ArcMap™ are the intellectual property of Esri and are used herein under license. Copyright © Esri. All rights reserved. For more information about Esri® software, please visit www.esri.com."

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