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I'm in the process of building a statewide map of all the transportation modes, waterways, and other information for a whooping total of 40 layers.

I was wondering if you have seen print maps that have many displayed layers in a professional and beautiful manner, and if you can share it, or at least provide some of the design aspects that made the map so "pretty".

My question is different from beautiful maps as I'm only interested in printing them and not putting them on the web

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That is a tough question to answer in a forum. I have many printed maps that have many layers. It does take quite a bit of diligence to create and manage these documents after the initial creation. I use many varied techniques to layer and overlay information. As a for instance... labeling items in the same layer with differing labels requires utilizing sql, sometimes adding a new field to theme on, a lot of finess to make sure they don't overpost or get dropped, and finally patience. My software has a pause label button. However most of the time I prefer to wait (sometimes 4-5mins) for a redraw with labels because inevitably I will finalize my map and hit print only to discover I had the labels paused! (which means they don't print!!!). In many cases I have two copies of each layer one for the map (with thick visible lines/symbols to make it pop) and one for the legend (which needs a nice thin line to keep from overrunning the label). Managing all of this and managing layer naming, and document naming requires either a lot of diligence or some pretty thin hair. Pretty maps are a completely 'nother story. Just pray they don't say politically correct color scheme.

using transparency, color schemes, and patterns

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Ack, I have a negative gut reaction whenever I see hatching in a GIS context. I can let it pass for CAD, but not GIS. – jvangeld Nov 11 '10 at 4:10
Not bad enough to earn a down-vote, though. Maybe you could give an explanation for the hatching? – jvangeld Nov 11 '10 at 4:11
when the boss says show me everything and you get to the third layer overlap something has to give. I already explained pretty is not in this picture. This is about readability and funtional information. explanation for hatching is that you can see through it. ;-) sorry for the ugly factor. Just trying to make a point. When you think about the uses of coordinate systems (measurement, and aesthetics) there is a give and take. That is what I think of when someone says they want to put 40 layers on a printed map. – Brad Nesom Nov 11 '10 at 14:36
this is from an 87" tall wall map, it is a small piece but I thought it would illustrate the point. – Brad Nesom Nov 16 '10 at 16:29

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