I made a thematic map of carbon stock in Russian Federation in 2017 year. I am not a cartographer and geographer at all. Tell me please what should I do with this map to make it more professional? Could you send me an example of professional thematic map?
closed as primarily opinion-based by Vince, MrXsquared, Fran Raga, Richard Law, Taras Aug 19 at 20:30
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That's a pretty good map. I have no major complaints. Here are a few comments and minor suggestions. Please consider them in the context of what you're trying to communicate, and who your target audience is. I don't read Russian, so disregard any comments or suggestions that are already fixed by the text on the map.
As Kurt suggested, you could definitely crop the bottom of the map. You could crop it as far north as mid-way through Mongolia. At a minimum please remove the area below the legend, because there's a very busy combination of country borders and lat/long lines that adds nothing but clutter.
The strong curvature of the map make my neck hurt. I'm instinctively trying to rotate my head as I look at each part of the map, to make north be "up" the way I'm used to. If I had a paper copy, I would rotate the map. I'm not sure if there's actually a better projection for covering such a wide area that extends so far north. It does bug me that the north pole isn't centered - it makes the map feel unbalanced and asymmetric. Again, I'm not sure if there's a solution for that. Choosing a projection always involves finding a compromise between different priorities such as conserving distance, area, and angle, and fitting everything on the page without wasting space.
The combination of the white coloration and the wide blue border between the white area and the green and yellow areas, makes it almost look like the white area isn't part of Russia. Maybe that's okay, depending on what you're trying to emphasize. White is a good choice if you're trying to say, "Let's ignore these outlying areas that don't have any carbon stocks, and focus on the areas that do have carbon stocks." But if you wanted to say, "Oh no, these areas don't have any carbon stocks and that's a problem!" then white is not a good choice.
This color scheme is calm and reassuring. It says to me, "Parts of Russia have a really good amount of carbon stock. Other parts have less than they ideally would have, but it's not a big problem. We should work on improving the levels in these areas, but it's not urgent." If that's the overall message you wanted to convey, well done. On the other hand, if you wanted to convey a sense of impending crisis, try a color scheme with more red and orange tones.
In case it's not obvious yet, I don't really know what a carbon stock is or whether it's a good thing to have more of it. You probably don't want your map viewer to go away without knowing that. Make sure you explain what carbon stock is, either in the legend or elsewhere in a larger document that this map will be part of.
If the map will be viewed on a screen, consider adding a partially-transparent white mask over the area outside of Russia. This would draw focus to Russia and make the background/outside areas less distracting. If the map will be printed, it's fine how it is.
Will your target audience recognize specific locations within the borders of Russia from this map? If not, it might help to include a few cities for reference.