Chloropleth maps distinguish classes of data through different colors.
Geoliteracy is increasing; is part of media literacy. Geoliteracy analyses map making techniques, political and ideological agendas, common human error, aesthetic, and communication.
More geospatial data available than any other time. Finding the right data can be hard. Preparing data for use requires skill and patience.
Learn how to make a map from raw data. Apply filters to raw data to reduce the complexity of the map.
Sometimes you get a hard copy and digitize the map by tracing and other techniques.
Metadata is data about data. Metadata tells us where maps come from, what projection they are in, and other details.
The ability to use symbols, maps, diagrams, etc. to effectively communicate.
Maps are made to communicate ideas
Maps model reality through:
Using visual icons to represent features
Removing features or making data clear
Grouping similar features to reduce complexity
USGS Quads have been developed for over 150 years
Every map maker has different preferences
Elements of Maps
- Data, selection, projection, scale, convention
Try not to intentionally deceive the reader.
“Dangers of defaults”
Tools constrain design, always question default settings.
Idea: design maps for varying media. One map, multiple formats:
Progressive enhancement for GIS?
e.g. css @media for scalable maps.
- Show the data (show behind the scenes, name sources)
- Display the data clearly
- Just enough beautification
- Try not to distort the data
- present many numbers in a small space
- make large data sets coherent, readable, understandable
- reduce amount of data towards coherency
- encourage the eye to view the data
- create levels of detail, broad to fine
- have a clear purpose, description, extrapolation, tabulation, decoration
- closely integrate with statistical and verbal descriptions
The map should be useful to a reader even if absent from the original document or context.
- Who are the intended audience?
- What is the message or story? What is the purpose?
- Where is the data for the map?
- How will the final product be displayed and/or distributed? (E.g. 8.5 x 11, ANSI E, B&W?)
Map scale is changing with technologies including web mapping (GIS, online maps, etc.)
- Caption (state what the map shows)
- Author, contact info
- Missing values
- Legend (all symbols and colors)
- Scale (e.g. scalebar)
- orientation (north arrow)
- Borders and neatlines
- Emphasize key info.
- De-emphasize other info
- create visual balance
The optical center, or where our eyes naturally tend to come to rest, is just above and to the right of the geometric center.
The golden ratio can be expressed as:
A is to B as A + B is to A