Archive For The “Cartography” Category

Full Color Shaded Relief

Contour maps have essentially gone out of fashion, replaced by shaded relief. There are still plenty of uses for contours, but they just don’t look as cool as a well-drawn hillshade. A colored hillshade is even more exciting. Traditionally, the easiest way to do that in ArcGIS was to place a color stretched DEM over [...]

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Cartographic Criticism

Unless you’re working on a hobby project, as a cartographer, you will eventually be expected to show your work. And sharing means making yourself vulnerable to criticism. That word itself, ‘criticism’, sometimes conjures images of personal attacks and low self esteem, but that’s not always the case. Often, a criticism can be extremely helpful, both [...]

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Sun Glints in ArcMap

Aileen Buckley, at the ESRI Mapping Center, has released a new tutorial on creating what she calls “sun glints”.  These are the reflective glows you sometimes see on water bodies in aerial photographs.  In essence, it’s a tutorial on creating gradient fills in ArcMap – a neat effect that cartographers don’t get to use very [...]

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The Many Faces of OpenStreetMap

Chances are, you’re not familiar with OpenStreetMap.  The market saturation of Google Maps and Bing Maps is such that they’re the tools we turn to, sometimes without even thinking.  Both these services have an incredibly beatiful and usable design aesthetic, which makes them easy to read.  There’s no real reason why you’d need a third [...]

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Cartography for the Web

“Cartographic Design for Web Maps” is a new blog post from the ESRI Mapping Center. Written by Aileen Buckley, it is a fairly good primer on the principles of cartographic design. Of particular interest was the visual efficiency chart. On a related note, it’s interesting to note that we’ve supposedly given up on the idea [...]

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Cartography: Bing Maps

Normally, I’m not a fan of Microsoft’s graphic design work. Their UI design, especially in Windows, is barely passable, compared to the innovative work in Apple’s OS X and the KDE project. It seems reasonable that their mapping UI would be equally horrid, and that, along with the ubiquity of Google Maps, has relegated Bing [...]

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