map design fundamentals

CV-05 - Statistical Mapping (Enumeration, Normalization, Classification, Dasymetric)
  • Discuss advantages and disadvantages of various data classification methods for choropleth mapping, including equal interval, quantiles, mean-standard deviation, natural breaks, and “optimal” methods
  • Demonstrate how different classification schemes produce very different maps from a single set of interval- or ratio-level data
  • Write algorithms to perform equal interval, quantiles, mean-standard deviation, natural breaks, and “optimal” classification for choropleth mapping
CV-04 - Scale and Generalization

Scale and generalization are two fundamental, related concepts in geospatial data. Scale has multiple meanings depending on context, both within geographic information science and in other disciplines. Typically it refers to relative proportions between objects in the real world and their representations. Generalization is the act of modifying detail, usually reducing it, in geospatial data. It is often driven by a need to represent data at coarsened resolution, being typically a consequence of reducing representation scale. Multiple computations and graphical modication processes can be used to achieve generalization, each introducing increased abstraction to the data, its symbolization, or both.

CV-05 - Statistical Mapping (Enumeration, Normalization, Classification, Dasymetric)
  • Discuss advantages and disadvantages of various data classification methods for choropleth mapping, including equal interval, quantiles, mean-standard deviation, natural breaks, and “optimal” methods
  • Demonstrate how different classification schemes produce very different maps from a single set of interval- or ratio-level data
  • Write algorithms to perform equal interval, quantiles, mean-standard deviation, natural breaks, and “optimal” classification for choropleth mapping
CV-09 - Color Theory
  • List the range of factors that should be considered in selecting colors
  • Discuss the role of “gamut” in choosing colors that can be reproduced on various devices and media
  • Explain how real-world connotations (e.g., blue=water, white=snow) can be used to determine color selections on maps
  • Exemplify colors for different forms of harmony, concordance, and balance
  • Estimate RGB (red, green, blue) primary amounts in a selection of colors
  • Plan color proofing suited for checking a map publication job
  • Select colors appropriate for map readers with color limitations
  • Specify a set of colors in device-independent Commision Internationale de L’Eclairage (CIE) specifications
  • Determine the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) primary amounts in a selection of colors
  • Select a color scheme (e.g., qualitative, sequential, diverging, spectral) that is appropriate for a given map purpose and variable
  • Describe how cultural differences with respect to color associations impact map design
  • Describe the common color models used in mapping
  • Describe color decisions made for various production workflows
CV-08 - Symbolization and the Visual Variables

Maps communicate information about the world by using symbols to represent specific ideas or concepts. The relationship between a map symbol and the information that symbol represents must be clear and easily interpreted. The symbol design process requires first an understanding of the underlying nature of the data to be mapped (e.g., its spatial dimensions and level of measurement), then the selection of symbols that suggest those data attributes. Cartographers developed the visual variable system, a graphic vocabulary, to express these relationships on maps. Map readers respond to the visual variable system in predictable ways, enabling mapmakers to design map symbols for most types of information with a high degree of reliability.

CV-07 - Visual Hierarchy and Layout

Mapmaking, by digital or manual methods, involves taking complex geographic information and building a visual image with many components. Creating effective maps requires an understanding of how to construct the elements of the map into a coherent whole that executes the communicative purpose of the map. Visual hierarchy and layout are the cartographer’s tools for organizing the map and completing the map construction. The cartographer layers the mapped geography in an image into a visual hierarchy emphasizing some features and de-emphasizing others in vertical ordering of information. Likewise, the cartographer arranges the components of a map image—title, main map, inset map, north arrow, scale, legend, toolbar, etc.—into a layout that guides the reader’s eye around the horizontal plane of the map. The visual hierarchy and layout processes work together to create the structure of the map image.

CV-04 - Scale and Generalization
Scale and generalization are two fundamental, related concepts in geospatial data. Scale has multiple meanings depending on context, both within geographic information science and in other disciplines. Typically it refers to relative proportions between objects in the real world and their representations. Generalization is the act of modifying detail, usually reducing it, in geospatial data. It is often driven by a need to represent data at coarsened resolution, being typically a consequence of reducing representation scale. Multiple computations and graphical modication processes can be used to achieve generalization, each introducing increased abstraction to the data, its symbolization, or both.
CV-05 - Statistical Mapping (Enumeration, Normalization, Classification, Dasymetric)
  • Discuss advantages and disadvantages of various data classification methods for choropleth mapping, including equal interval, quantiles, mean-standard deviation, natural breaks, and “optimal” methods
  • Demonstrate how different classification schemes produce very different maps from a single set of interval- or ratio-level data
  • Write algorithms to perform equal interval, quantiles, mean-standard deviation, natural breaks, and “optimal” classification for choropleth mapping
CV-07 - Visual Hierarchy, Layout, and Map Elements
  • List the major factors that should be considered in preparing a map
  • Discuss how to create an intellectual and visual hierarchy on maps
  • Discuss the differences between maps that use the same data but are for different purposes and intended audiences
  • Discuss Tufte’s influence (or lack thereof) on cartographic design
  • Critique the graphic design of several maps in terms of balance, legibility, clarity, visual contrast, figure-ground organization, and hierarchal organization
  • Critique the layout of several maps, taking into account the map audience and purpose and the graphic design (visual balance, hierarchy, figure-ground), as well as the map components (north arrow, scale bar, and legend)
  • Design maps that are appropriate for users with vision limitations
  • Apply one or more Gestalt principles to achieve appropriate figure-ground for map elements
  • Prepare different map layouts using the same map components (main map area, inset maps, titles, legends, scale bars, north arrows, grids, and graticule) to produce maps with very distinctive purposes
  • Prepare different maps using the same data for different purposes and intended audiences (e.g., expert and novice hikers)
  • Describe differences in design needed for a map that is to be viewed on the Internet versus as a 5-by 7-foot poster, including a discussion of the effect of viewing distance, lighting, and media type
  • Describe the design needs of special purpose maps, such as subdivision plans, cadastral mapping, drainage plans, nautical charts, aeronautical charts, geological maps, military maps, wiremesh volume maps, and 3-D plans of urban change
CV-08 - Symbolization and the Visual Variables

Maps communicate information about the world by using symbols to represent specific ideas or concepts. The relationship between a map symbol and the information that symbol represents must be clear and easily interpreted. The symbol design process requires first an understanding of the underlying nature of the data to be mapped (e.g., its spatial dimensions and level of measurement), then the selection of symbols that suggest those data attributes. Cartographers developed the visual variable system, a graphic vocabulary, to express these relationships on maps. Map readers respond to the visual variable system in predictable ways, enabling mapmakers to design map symbols for most types of information with a high degree of reliability.

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