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Places with Polar Bear Shaped License Plates

2022: Day 3 (Polygons)

Nov 3, 2022

When I found out a few months ago that a polar bear shaped license plate exists, I became obsessed. I immediately added it to my growing list of "Map Ideas".

Tool: ArcGIS Pro



  1. Since I knew this would be a world map, I had two things to start playing with: a) the projection and b) the polygons.

    1. Projection: I wanted to have the Northwest Territories as centered/featured as possible and selected several options before landing on the Fuller Projection.

    2. Polygons: if you haven't discovered the super fun and stylized political and natural polygons available via, drop everything and go explore now. I was originally playing with a simplified and angular style for the state/provinences, but then I chose an atypical projection so I decided to make the state/provinences a bit more recognizable and used standard Natural Earth polygons.

  2. Once I picked the Natural Earth polygons, I realized there were a LOT of really tiny islands that were kind of distracting and made the map look noisy. So I added an additional field to the polygons and calculated the area. I added a definition query to only show polygons bigger than a certain area to clean it up.

  3. I created a copy of the Natural Earth layer and created a definition query for JUST Northwest Territorities and gave it a bright color, which I pulled directly from the month tag on the license plate image I found.

  4. The idea to make the whole map look like a license plate came very late in the design process. I had noticed the font on the license plate and was trying to replicate it (using Google Font Bebas Neue). When I chose to match it for the title, I made the realization -- OH what if the whole map looked like a license plate. The end!

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