The study and practice of making maps.

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155
votes
48answers
35k views

What Makes a Map Beautiful?

Often times when we make maps it is based on our subjective interpretation of what is aesthetically pleasing. I would like if people posted examples of beautiful maps, displaying any phenomena in any ...
65
votes
14answers
14k views

What Makes a Map be classed as Badly Designed?

A poorly designed map can not only look visually unappealing, but can convey the wrong message, which could lead to bad decisions being made. I would like to ask people to post examples (that are in ...
26
votes
4answers
1k views

How to use directional shading on boundaries for cartographic effect?

The attached screenshot of a National Geographic map shows some beautiful directional shading of boundaries. I'm trying to reproduce this sort of shading for a burn perimeter map, as I want to ...
24
votes
9answers
2k views

Effectively displaying demographic data on a printed map

I would like to plot the following per zone (30 zones total) data on a printable/non interactive map: Average age Average household income Number of households Population density Number of people ...
19
votes
9answers
2k views

Discontinuous or Interrupted map projections?

Do any of the current open source GIS softwares support discontinous projection systems? E.g. sinusoidal, dymaxion, butterfly, etc? If not, are there any affordable commercial ones that do (affordable ...
8
votes
2answers
480 views

Creating summary table of symbology of all datasets in multiple MXDs?

This is related to the following Retain ESRI symbology in Mapinfo TAB . As an initial step (in arcpy) I want to access the symbology of all the datasets and create a document which has the details of ...
6
votes
4answers
6k views

How to reproject base layers in OpenLayers?

The issue is: I have vector/topo/image tiled maps for some places in north america which were published as ArcGIS Server REST service. These maps (A) are based in EPSG26912 projection. Now I wanna ...
17
votes
3answers
569 views

How much Water on Earth(USGS) : A Wrong Map representation?

I happened to read a USGS article, How much water is there on, in, and above the Earth? showing a representation of all the water(which includes water from Oceans, Seas,Bays,Ice caps, Glaciers, ...
11
votes
6answers
935 views

How to implement value-by-alpha map in GIS?

I've been doing some background reading about cartograms recently and stumbled upon interesting alternative - value-by-alpha maps. Concept is described in more details here and full paper is ...
45
votes
8answers
2k views

One dimensional map of the world?

Bit of a strange question but hope this is OK to ask here. Has anyone heard of a '1-dimensional' projection of the world map - that is mapping all the points on the globe to a single line? I was ...
8
votes
3answers
408 views

How do I compare two maps to determine which is better?

I'm trying to do an objective comparison of two different maps for the same region. At the moment, I'm struggling with defining criteria that will allow me to do a dispassionate evaluation. Does ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Cartographic techniques for symbolizing routing data

Some common problems with displaying routes created from street data, such as bus routes, include: Routes may overlap themselves, such as when a route takes the same road in opposite directions ...
4
votes
6answers
3k views

How to represent several points with same coordinates on map?

I'm working on Arcgis 10. I have a point shapefile representing events with several points having coinciding coordinates (They have the same coordinates). For representing them in a dynamic way, I ...
25
votes
2answers
7k views

How to style beautiful road maps with QGIS?

I am trying to design a beautiful map using Qgis. As I'm a software developer not a designer, I was hoping that this will be easy, but it isn't! There is a similar question here Qgis tutorials and ...
21
votes
6answers
638 views

Open access repository of general GIS spatial data?

As a newcomer to using GIS for research, I am wondering if there are online repositories for spatial data, similar to package repositories for Linux distributions. For instance, I would be able to ...
5
votes
2answers
155 views

Which true type editor do you use to create/modify point symbols for GIS?

Which true type editor do you use to create/modify point symbols for GIS and what are the advantages and disadvantages of the tool? I am looking for a true type editor to create/modify custom point ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

QGIS- How to create an “area of interest” polygon mask

I've created a GP tool using ArcGIS that creates an "area of interest" mask from selected features. Effectively it creates a new donut polygon layer where the hole was the previously selected ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

Color palette conventions

I wonder if there is a "unified" source for map color conventions, that GIS map builders are encouraged to follow? EDIT To clear up my question a bit. I'm more interested in the color <-with ...
5
votes
2answers
85 views

Removing features whose labels are not displayed?

Using ArcMap 10.0, I am working on a map that shows many villages. Each village has a name attribute that I want to use for a label, but in some areas there are so many villages that not all can be ...
4
votes
1answer
660 views

Getting a constant background color for transparency

I am creating a series of tif files at 1:10k scale over a vast area (760 tiles) using arcpy.mapping.ExportToTIFF and then stitch them together to create a single ecw. The output looks ok but when I ...
66
votes
12answers
3k views

How to account for Colour Blindness when designing maps?

Depending on what you read, 7 to 15% of the general population has some form of colour blindness. That's a significant amount of people. Do you try to account for this in your map designs? If so, how? ...
22
votes
9answers
1k views

Good Symbology for Interactive Web Mapping

When a user clicks on a map what should they expect to see? I would say a symbol for where they clicked. A pushpin seems to be the most accepted icon for generic data. Google has pushed the upside ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Rendering overlapping lines

I am making a map containing information about public transportation: busses, trams, etc. The map will have a layer containing for example the tram lines. Each line has its own colour, and is ...
16
votes
4answers
6k views

How to produce a better inset map?

Attached is an example of a generic inset map designed in ArcMap 10. For all the wonderful things that this software can accomplish, there has to be a more sophisticated way to produce better looking ...
38
votes
4answers
5k views

Why has Web Mercator (auxiliary sphere) become the web map standard?

I understand what the difference is between the Web Mercator projection and Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere (WMAS). I also understand that both Google and Esri have adopted this projection as their ...
22
votes
5answers
1k views

Coloring thousands of polygons so each is distinct from its neighbors?

I am using ArcGIS 10, and I have layers of the 2010 Census blocks, block groups, and tracts. There are thousands of polygons in these layers. I want to color them so that each is distinct from its ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a name for deformation-based maps?

I have already seen maps using deformation to visualize information. For example, this map shows temporal distance between some French cities when traveling by train: Is there a name for this kind ...
11
votes
3answers
950 views

Crime mapping symbology

Are there any standard, publicly available symbol sets for crime mapping? What are their intended applications and their strengths and weaknesses?
24
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do we use the terms “longitude” and “latitude” for a spherical body?

To specify a geographic coordinate we use the terms “longitude” and “latitude”. Far as I know, these terms derive from the Latin latitudo (= breadth) and longitudo (= length). In German we use the ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Can shaded relief be “blended” with DEM colour ramp in ArcGIS to produce a more visually dramatic result?

Not being able to use true transparencies with ArcGIS colour ramps where only solid colours are allowed has me always wondering about how to improve the look of the surface in my maps without ...
6
votes
5answers
511 views

Provincial Base Mapping Data Sources in Canada

I'm very familiar with the Ontario Base Mapping Data, and am looking for similar data for other Canadian Provinces. Perhaps we can start a list of resources here? I'm looking for something at a larger ...
13
votes
2answers
776 views

Polygon gradient fills / tint bands in QGIS

Is it possible to use a gradient fill on a polygon in QGIS? I would like to have my polygons with a colour at the edges, fading to clear/white as it moves away from the edge. The majority of the ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

How to normalize choropleth maps of census information?

I'm trying to improve on the census-based maps on this site, which shows census values at 5 scales from Collection Districts through to State. Currently the maps show whole numbers (eg total ...
5
votes
2answers
457 views

How can I make segmented roads appear as one line?

I am footling around with Quantum GIS and the British OS Strategi dataset. If I render the roads with a simple line style they look fine: However, if I apply something slightly fancier, it looks ...
3
votes
1answer
138 views

Declination Diagram

What point on a UTM map does the declination diagram refer to? Is it the centre? Is it the edges? Is there a standard? The central meridian on a UTM map points to true north. Are grid north and true ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Retain ESRI symbology in Mapinfo TAB

Is there anyway to retain/easily transfer symbology from ESRI to Mapinfo? The only process I found was posted in 2010 - https://groups.google.com/group/mapinfo-l/browse_thread/thread/883223ff4ae56809 ...
24
votes
13answers
2k views

Good websites for map-lovers?

Do you know some good websites for map-lovers? I often visit strange-maps, cool-maps, makingmaps and hipkiss.org. Do you know others?
34
votes
16answers
3k views

Is there any experience using Computer Games to display GIS data?

besides being a GIS use I'm a big computer game fan. Games like Civilization, Minecraft, World at War and many others have a very powerfull engine to display huge maps in a beutifull way. I was ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Where to start learning how to make maps with QGIS?

I have no skills in GIS, "map-making," or any other map program. Been a county planner for 25 yrs, where there was always a "drafting" staff. I'm in another agency now and need to be able to produce ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

How to hide “internal” polygon boundaries?

We've been scratching our heads over how to tackle this for some time, and are no more illuminated than when we started. I hope you can help. Our task is thus: how to draw a lake with a solid outer ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Can I reproduce this classic cartographic hillshade relief effect (hachures) electronically using modern DEM data?

I own a number of old cetral-European maps and I always liked the classic hand-drawn cartographic hillshade relief presentation that these maps feature. I am not wanting to reproduce the shading ...
17
votes
4answers
493 views

What is a good resource for learning to hand draw a map?

I've been wanting to go old school & draw some maps by hand... Something like you might see on the first page of an adventure novel. I've found next to nothing on the web and am hoping that one of ...
15
votes
13answers
5k views

Alternative cartographic software programs?

I am looking for an alternative software product for cartography other than ArcGIS and Adobe Illustrator. The graphic quality in ArcGIS outputs is substantially poor when compared to outputs in ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

Creating trade flow maps in ArcGIS for Desktop (or any free software)?

I am trying to represent trade flows on a world map where the size and direction of arrows indicate the exports/imports of a given country. This type of map is commonly found in magazines and ...
9
votes
3answers
413 views

PostGIS (2.0?) - Native Versioning of the Datastore

I recently have been surprised to see there are not too many solutions at all discussing the best methods of versioning datastores which are made available for editing. I am looking for a robust, ...
10
votes
4answers
891 views

How can I generate a high resolution rendering of the globe?

I am building an ANSI E poster size map collection and would like to add a nice rendering of the globe to the maps indicating the approximate position of the region on the globe. The problem is that ...
9
votes
4answers
618 views

Are there any cartography “rules” you should follow when labeling maps?

We've all seen poorly labeled maps before. In these maps, the wording is either illegible or unpleasant to view due to positioning, color choice or size, or the labels take up so much map space that ...
6
votes
3answers
293 views

Should I use a discrete or continuous scale for coloring a chloropleth?

I am making a choropleth for an upcoming local race using D3. There are two candidates running for an election. For any given polygon on my map, if the red candidate has more votes, the color should ...
16
votes
4answers
697 views

How to implement ringmaps in ArcGIS?

In a recent article by Stewart and colleagues in IJHG I stumbled upon interesting technique of visualizing data using ringmpas. Some more information referenced in the article about this technique ...
10
votes
6answers
850 views

Are there any convenient sources of color palettes to use in ArcGIS software while producing maps?

Since it was asked in Beta and I want to know the answer, I post it here.