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Introduction to Cartographic DesignRichard Taketa Associate Professor Department of Geography San Jose State University
Basic Map Design Visual organization Improve legibilityFocus attention Maps do not have a natural sequence Design can guide the map reader Make the reader’s job easier
Today’s Design Topics Figure-ground Layout GeneralizationSymbolization
Figure-Ground Graphic characteristics Some elements as figuresOther elements as background
Can’t easily distinguish elementsFigure-Ground Can’t easily distinguish elements
Figure-Ground How people see graphics Elements Contrast ContourClosure Enclosure Visual organization
More contrast = stronger figure
Not just the darker elementContrast Not just the darker element
Sharper contour (edge) = stronger figure
Closed element = stronger figureClosure Closed element = stronger figure
More enclosed = stronger figureEnclosure More enclosed = stronger figure
Create Visual Levels
Layout Arrangement of map elements Objectives Visual balance Structure
Centering is a good starting point...
Poor balance = harder to read
Assign appropriate emphasis
Text Placement: Figural Object
Text Placement: Background Object
Text Placement: Enhance Pattern
Text Placement: Hide Pattern
Generalization Level of detail Function of Purpose ScaleGraphic limits Quality of data
Generalization Simplification Selection Classification SymbolizationInduction
GIS Data Detailed
Detail a Problem for Symbolization
Simplifying for ClarityLoss of information…negligible
Detail Changes with Scale
Symbolization Most maps involve abstract symbolsRepresent features of interest Can’t always show them as they actually look
Graphic Variables Shape Size Color Hue Lightness SaturationOrientation Pattern Texture
Levels of Measurement Nominal Ordinal Interval Ratio
Symbolization & MeasurementNominal Ordinal Interval/Ratio x x x x - Shape Size Color Hue Lightness Saturation Orientation Pattern Texture
Symbolization Can affect ability to see patternsComplex symbolization and classifications can obscure
Map Design Summary Organize graphic information Provide structureMake the map legible Focus the reader’s attention
Guide the reader...
Contact Information Richard Taketa Department of Geography San Jose State University One Washington Square San Jose, CA
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