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Elements of Map Composition. OR How to make a decent map!. Steps to Creating a Map. Define the Purpose of the map Audience? How will map be used? Restatement into a design problem Visualization to Creation Design solution - arrangement of map’s image elements to facilitate communication

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elements of map composition

Elements of Map Composition

OR

How to make a decent map!

steps to creating a map
Steps to Creating a Map
  • Define the Purpose of the map
    • Audience?
    • How will map be used?
  • Restatement into a design problem
  • Visualization to Creation
  • Design solution - arrangement of map’s image elements to facilitate communication
    • Sort of an outline
  • Graphic design
the well designed map
The Well Designed Map…
  • Has a single purpose!
  • Size and scale determine the level of detail
      • You cannot simply blow up a map from 8.5-11 to something that would hang on the wall.
      • A small map size will limit detail
      • A large map viewed from a distance has same problem
  • Reader can easily interpret features
  • Reader can instantaneously understand its message (or not, if that is the purpose).
for example
For example

If you were trying to make the case that you should be able to limit the publics use of your lake which map would you use?

elements of a thematic map
Elements of a thematic map
  • Title
  • Legend
  • Scale
  • Credits
  • Mapped and unmapped areas
  • Graticule
  • Borders and neatlines
  • Symbols
  • Place names and labels
slide6

Mapped Area

Title

Border

Legend

Neatline

Gradicule

Purpose, metadata

Unmapped Area

Credits

Scale

slide7

Too Much White Space!

No Placenames

ArcView Export screw up in 8.3! Only went to 3000 m in Layout!

the elements one by one
The elements one-by-one
  • Title
    • Draws attention by virtue of its size (big!)
    • focuses attention on primary purpose of content of map
    • not always needed
  • Legend
    • Principle reference to symbology
    • MUST be there
the elements one by one9
The elements one-by-one
  • Scale
    • A MUST!
    • Types
      • graphic -- the bar
      • verbal -- 1” = 1 mile (watch this one)
      • a ratio 1/24,000 (this one too)
    • Because of ubiquitous nature of Xerox machines the graphic scale is a must, the others are optional
the elements one by one10
The elements one-by-one
  • Credits
    • another, older, term for metadata
    • Some metadata can be placed on map
      • Data source
      • Statement of accuracy, both spatial and attribute
      • Date data collected, date map made
      • Your name, assignment # etc…
the elements one by one11
The elements one-by-one
  • Mapped and unmapped areas
    • Objects, land, water, and other geographical features important to the purpose of the map
    • makes the composition a map rather than a diagram
    • The most prominent map element
  • Graticule & Grids
    • Graticule – geographic coordinates
    • Often omitted
      • useful if location info is important and there are no features like roads or steams
      • Or if you need to fill space with something
    • Grid - feature at B3
the elements one by one12
The elements one-by-one
  • Borders and neatlines
    • Borders serve to restrain eye movement and focus attention on the map. A Border surrounds all the elements of a map.
    • Neatlines are:
      • finer than borders
      • drawn inside borders
      • mainly decoration
borders or not

Location of St, Louis

Location of St, Louis

Legend

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Legend

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Borders or Not
  • You can use solid fills to define map area
the elements one by one14
The elements one-by-one
  • Symbology
    • can be actual symbols (style of city point) and/or colors and patterns
    • most important part of map -- if user does not know what the symbolization is the map is useless
    • Designer has little control over placement (location should be as accurate as possible given scale) but can control size and color
the elements one by one15
The elements one-by-one
  • Place names and labels
    • Primary means of communicating to user
    • Orients user on map (similar to Graticule)
    • Can provide important info re map purpose
composition
Composition
  • You have all the data
  • You have the symbolization plan
  • Now you have to visualize the map
    • A creative process
    • Trial and error process
      • Where to put borders, neatlines
      • What style of borders, neatlines
      • Where does the legend go?
      • The title
      • And so on
composition17
Composition
  • Purpose of composition
    • Forces designer or organize the visual material
    • Stresses the purpose of the map
    • Directs the users attention
    • Develops an aesthetic approach for the map
composition planar organization

Visual center:

5% height aboveGeometric center

Arrange content

around

this point

Geometric

center

Composition: Planar Organization
  • Balance
    • visual impact of arrangement
      • is the map “heavy” at top, bottom, sides???
visual weight
Visual weight
  • depends on location
    • obj weight increases with distance from center
    • obj at top are heavier than those at bottom
    • obj on right are heavier than those on left
  • depends on size (Duh!)
  • depends on color, interest, and isolation
    • Red>Blue, Bright>dark
    • complex > simple
    • isolated > groups
  • For Example …
using eye movement
Using Eye Movement

Eye goes left to right

Generally you want the reader to see the map BEFORE seeing the legend – can’t always do#

slide26

St. Louis too far from visual center, balance not bad, however

Better, but a little heavy on right

Balance with legend etc.

slide27

Location of St, Louis

Legend

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slide32
Text
  • Use mixture of upper and lower case
  • ALL UPPER CASE IS HARDER TO READ
  • Use sans serif text
  • No fancy fonts
  • Big print for important stuff
  • Little print for not so important stuff
using color
Using Color
  • Color is tricky
  • There are definite color preferences
  • There are definite color combination preferences
  • There are standard color codes (like for planning)
  • The map should NOT be garish!
slide34
So
  • Creating maps is a creating a document for a specific purpose -- to communicate something to the reader
  • It is an iterative process
  • There are some basic rules or guides that can be used – described above an in the on-line course module.
summary of guidelines
Summary of Guidelines
  • Map layout – where are the pieces going to go – major pieces – visual center – eye path – uneven juxtaposition of parts
    • The map area and what’s in it
    • Legend placement (usually to right of map
    • Scale bar, North Arrow
    • Balance
    • White space
  • Map Title – Large – not always needed
summary of guidelines36
Summary of Guidelines
  • Credits (Metadata) usually present
  • For FOR557- Author’s name & date!
  • Borders and neatlines.
    • Border around ALL map pieces or solid fill
    • Neatlines (or fill) around (in) various pieces
  • Color – tricky – but not garish!
map evaluation criteria
Map Evaluation Criteria
  • Graphic Map ……………………………………..50%
    • Border (or fill)……………10%
    • White space …………………5%
    • Balance…………………………...5%
    • Color………………………………..5%
    • N arrow, legend …………..10%
    • Neatlines (or fill)…………..5%
    • Graphics ……………………….10%
  • Total ………………………………………….……….50%
map evaluation criteria38
Map Evaluation Criteria
  • Title …………………………………………..5%
  • Legend ………………………………………20%
    • All features represented
    • Only those specific feature types present
    • Good graphically
  • Scale Bar …………………………………..10%
  • Credits ………………………………… …….5%
  • Map Works…………………………………10%
  • Sub Total……………………………………………..50%
  • Grand Total……………………………………………………100%
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