Ok, it’s a fluff piece, but it’s a cute fluff piece.
Ok, it’s a fluff piece, but it’s a cute fluff piece.
A Mexican government funded commission is moving to distribute 70,000 maps to aid people trying to cross into the US. They will feature water cache locations, show transportation routes, and locations of rescue beacons. Although I’m not an expert, this is one of the first instances I’ve heard of a government using mapping to help people leave its own country. CNN has the details
From Jesse:Ã‚Â A map of Arizona!
If so you may be interested in the spanish speaking blog La Cartoteca. From the entries that I have ‘read’ (my spanish teacher would be sad) so far La Cartoteca seems to focus on cartography with some general geography and miscellaneous content for good measure. Alejandro Polanco Masa, the blog author also has another interesting blog called Technologia Obsoleta. Check them out if you speak spanish, or you can try a Babelfish translation if you are truly curious.
One of the main issues in geospatial technologies today is the quality of the output whether it be for a presentation, map in a document or a poster. The underlying issue is the lack of training in digital cartographic concepts, the art that enables the user to convey the science. In Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS, John Krygier and Denis Wood, both well published Geographers and Cartographers, are cognizant of this duality and have presented a unique mix of visual example and explanatory text that introduces readers to the basic concepts of creating effective maps.
The first impression, before you even begin to read this book, as you are leafing through, is that the authors had a specific objective: to introduce the reader to map design. This is conveyed in the text of course, but the layout of the book is as much an exercise in, and example of, design as the content inside. From chapter headers to the figure layout and captioning, the content works to blend form with function in a way that makes it obvious that this book is separate from most of the current texts on map making. This is definitely an example of practice what you preach.
The actual text may seem overly simplistic at first, especially if you are familiar with cartography texts by MacEachren, Kraak, and others; however, this is deceptive as the format and organization the authors chose allow the reader to get to the heart of the information in an informal yet effective style. In all honesty I was quite critical when I began the book but quickly came to enjoy the book because of its minimal text and graphical approach to the subject matter.
Overall, Making Maps will make a strong textbook for digital cartography classes and a useful text for those of us who have been struggling with map design for representing our analyses. Even seasoned GIS professionals and cartographers will find useful information and design tips in the book. It is almost worth picking up for the glowing cover blurb that Anne Knowles provides alone. The one wish that I have is that it would be great to have a companion CD or website for the book, which could present interactive examples and more examples in color.
One of our listeners, Jody, emailed us a link to ColorBrewer, an online tool to help people select color schemes for maps. It uses a flash-based map to demonstrate how changing colors affects the look of a map and how that impacts the information being represented. It’s a nice tool to give a user an introduction to choosing colors for maps, so they can immediately see the visual impact of their choices. Cynthia Brewer, the Penn State geographer who designed the ColorBrewer, has also written the book Designing Better Maps: a Guide for GIS users.
A cartogram is a map that distorts geographic boundaries based on different values of a variable. So, if smaller areas have higher values, they will be deliberately distorted to look bigger. Here is an example of the world map distorted based on population. It was done by ODT, Inc. which produces alternate views of map, such as world maps with South on the top or the Pacific Ocean in the center.
A student in the UK has mapped the London Tube system using time as his base of measure, not distance. While his approach isn’t exactly novel, it is interesting, especially coming from a non GIS background.
Head over to Geoplace.com for a nice article from GeoWorld on the relationship between GIS and Cartography by Tony Daniels and Kapil Chhabra, which fits nicely with Jesse’s post below.
(Note: The link above was broken, but has been restored – 11/18/05)
So far this week we have talked about the main areas of consideration in Geography (physical and human) and the modern technologies that underpin them (GIS Day). Today we look at perhaps the oldest portion of geography, cartography. While not all cartographers are geographers, nor are all geographers cartographers, there is a deep symbiotic relationship that exists. Cartography has existed in some form since the beginning of what we know as human civilization, from the earliest abstract interpretations of space to modern near-real maps and data. Continue reading→
After our podcast episode on cartography, John Krygier emailed us, and mentioned that CartoTalk might be a good resource for people interested in cartography and map design. It is a forum with over 250 members and topics include news, general discussions, a map gallery, and advice and tutorials.
Registrations is free, so if you’re interested in cartography, check it out.