From the first time you had to write an essay for school, you’ve probably been told that you need to cite your sources, or in other words, give credit to the people whose words or ideas you are including. But did you know that you also need to cite your sources for maps?
We often receive questions from researchers about publishing maps they’ve created in ArcGIS: Am I allowed to include the imagery (World Imagery basemap)? Do I need to obtain permission to use a map or basemap? What information do I need to include about the map? The short answer to all those questions is: it depends on the context.
Using Static Maps in Publications
You do not need to obtain permission from Esri to include static maps, whether screen capture or printed, in academic publications, for personal use, or in most use cases that do not involve direct resale or commercial monetization of the map. However, if you think your use of the map may fall outside the permitted uses for static maps, you can submit a copyright request to Esri.
When you do use a static map in a publication, you need to include three things:
- Attribution on or near the map of the sources for the basemap and any layers that are not your own content.
- An entry in your reference list, including the full URL for the item page, for the basemap and any layers that are not your own content.
- A statement acknowledging the use of ArcGIS software by Esri to create the map.
In this screen capture example, the sources for the basemap, layers in the Community Map of Canada, and an open data layer of healthcare facilities are displayed at the bottom of the map along with “Powered by Esri”.
The reference format you use will depend on the required format specified by the journal or other publication or by your department or institution. If no format is specified, you may follow the recommended reference format for an ArcGIS Online basemap:
Author. “Map title” [format]. Scale. “Title of the complete document or site”. Information date. URL – (The date viewed).
For example, if you are using the Community Map of Canada basemap, you might include the following in your reference list:
Esri Canada. “Topographic/Topographie” [Web Map]. Scale Not Given. “The Community Map of Canada Vector Basemap”. April 23, 2021. https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=98652eb8458a464fa95feb9bd812b29a. (September 29,2021).
Using Dynamic Maps in Publications
It is just as important to cite your sources for a dynamic map published online, whether it is embedded in a website, shared as a web app, or included in a story map, as it is to cite your sources for a static map. Unless you are building an app with an API that does not automatically include attribution, the data sources and “Powered by Esri” will be displayed at the bottom of the map. If you’ve created any of the data in your map and would like to give yourself credit, add the information to the Credits (Attribution) field in the item details for your data layer.
You should also include information about any layers in your map that are not your own so that people who view your map can find out more about the data you have used and how you used it. A few ways you might do so:
- Acknowledge the sources in the description in the web map overview.
- Add a Details or About widget in the web app displaying your map.
- Include a reference list on the website where the map is embedded.
- Use the tools in ArcGIS StoryMaps for including citations.
The most important thing to remember is that if you are using something created by someone else in your work, whether it is their words, ideas, data, maps, or images, they should be given credit for their creative work.
This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.