The study and practice of making maps.

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163
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48answers
42k 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 ...
72
votes
13answers
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? ...
68
votes
14answers
16k 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 ...
46
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 ...
38
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
34
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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 ...
33
votes
4answers
6k views

GIS professionals working from home?

How many of you out there work from home? What kind of company / organization do you work for (private, government, municipal, institution..?). How did you convince your employer it was a good idea? ...
30
votes
5answers
9k views

How to make beautiful maps in R?

There are quite some nice possibilities to analyse spatial data in R and in the context of my current project I would like to use R more frequently to do that. Until now I plot my maps with ggplot2 ...
26
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4answers
2k 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 ...
26
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14answers
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?
25
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
24
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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 ...
24
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
23
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7answers
3k views

Examples of geovisualizations of global connectivity

I stumbled upon interesting visualization of global connectivity patterns: 'Major road and rail networks in Africa, along with transmission line and underwater cable data.' (Source, more ...
23
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5answers
2k 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 ...
22
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
21
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9answers
3k views

Are North Arrows Pointless?

A recent post on Cartastrophe refers to a "Worldwide Campaign to Eliminate Needless North Arrows." So when, if ever, are North arrows necessary? As an interesting aside the concept of North being ...
21
votes
5answers
848 views

What are the “must read” academic articles every GIS professional should read?

There was a related question a while back that dealt with the top GIS blogs, but I'm also very interested in "academic" sources of GIS information. I'm currently updating my repository of information ...
21
votes
3answers
4k 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
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1answer
2k views

Making world map to show where hole drilled through centre of Earth starts/ends on land vs water?

I am discussing drilling through the Earth with my students. The classic cartoon version has a person drilling down in the United States and coming up in China, which has to be wrong because drilling ...
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 ...
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 ...
18
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
218 views

What User Testing techniques do you use?

In producing dynamic maps for students/users I have found the time invested in user testing well worth it. I use a varient of think aloud protocol called hallway testing. I grab any 2 or 3 likely ...
17
votes
9answers
949 views

any good blogs about digital cartography?

I´m looking for blogs or good websites about digital/web cartography...i´m not really interested in the deep technical ramblings (i´ve the forum lists for that) but rather inspirational blogs which ...
17
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
671 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, ...
16
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
1k views

What's the most promising application (use) of OpenStreetMap data?

In some areas OSM data is very complete and has a level of detail not seen in closed data sources. Another distinguishing factor is that it contains the knowledge of the people who live in that areas. ...
16
votes
1answer
339 views

What do these curly graphics represent on this map?

What do the two curly graphics to the left and right of this map represent? They are the only two on the map and seem to be attached to the border of an area. I'm sorry I haven't posted the full ...
16
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
743 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 ...
15
votes
13answers
6k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
389 views

Are there any books about the psychology of cartography?

I have the daunting task to do a seminar about the psychology of cartography. I have zero training in this field and would like to ask if anyone has ever tackled this angle?...I would like to ...
15
votes
4answers
827 views

Fitting a word/tag cloud into geographic boundaries

Are there any available tools or a recommend methods for displaying a tag or word cloud (also know as wordle) onto a world map, much like in this example: Map: United States of surnames? (There may be ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

How to represent overlapping lines in ArcGIS for Desktop? [duplicate]

I have lots of lines (in one feature class) which share the same location but I want to represent them as lines that are next to each other because they have different properties (different OWNERS). ...
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 ...
14
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it easy to digitize in ArcGIS using the Wacom tablet?

I do just enough digitizing (and touching up/ drawing when post-processing) to perhaps warrant the purchase of a Wacom tablet. Just wondering how well it plays with ArcGIS. What are your experiences? ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

How to speed-up Dynamic Map services?

I am working on a ESRI Flex based application that will display data from a Dynamic Map Service. It need to be Dynamic, since the end user should have the option to turn on & off layers. This is ...
13
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
826 views

How do I make a map where overlapping symbols increase Opacity?

I was looking at some maps like: Map from Ship Logs or the Facebook worldwide friendships Mapped (via the Flowing Data blog) These Maps look good because single lines are almost transparent, and ...
13
votes
2answers
868 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
331 views

Opensource solutions for finishing maps

After seeing the $600 price tag for Adobe Illustrator, I am especially interested in learning open source solutions for finishing maps created in a GIS. What open source, or commonly available, ...
13
votes
3answers
445 views

How to improve cartographic visualization of overlapping polygons?

I need some advice about how to improve the visualization of cartographic information. User can select different species and the webmapping app shows its geographical distribution (polygonal degree ...
12
votes
4answers
764 views

What resources can you suggest for making beautiful online Maps or Mapping applications?

As a GIS developer, my design skills are rather limited. Are there any links, books or resources, that you would suggest to make my online maps more pleasing and beautiful?
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 ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

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

Are there any convenient sources of color palettes to use in ArcGIS software while producing maps?
11
votes
5answers
6k views

Libraries to render vector-based maps in the browser

Is there a open source JavaScript library like leaflet or openlayer which can be used in a web or mobile application and loads vector-based maps instead of images? I only need the road information and ...
11
votes
3answers
1k 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?
11
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7answers
3k views

How to obtain overlapping semi-transparent circles effect?

I have been trying to obtain the following markers effect. How can I do the same in ArcGIS (or any free software)? This image is from a book.