If you are a GIS person who has a geography degree, it's likely you
studied cartography.And, if you are of "my generation" you did it with
pen and ink.My class spent hours one spring in the "cart lab" on our
creations, all black and white, seeking that elusive "A." I think most
of us learned quite a lot.If you jumped into GIS from another
discipline, such as business, forestry or real estate, you may never
have been exposed to a formal cartography class.But fear not, you can
catch up painlessly with an easy to read book from ESRI Press.
Cynthia Brewer has taught cartography for 20 years and created the Penn
State edition of one of ESRI's Virtual Campus classes on cartography.
It's from that online course that her book evolved.Part "how to," part
reference manual, the 200 page Designing Better Maps: A Guide for
GIS Users covers all the basics of cartography in a very focused
way aimed at practitioners.Don't expect a complete discussion on
projections, but rather "rules of thumb" on which to use for which type
of map.And, while all the examples are created with ESRI software and
ArcMap is mentioned now and again, this is not an ESRI-centric book.
It's accessible and valuable to anyone using automation software for
mapping.You need simply bear in mind that tools like ArcView or
MapInfo are likely to have more advanced cartographic tools than say,
There's coverage of layouts, fonts, colors, labeling, symbology,
projections and scale bars including lots of full color examples.
There's some very straightforward language about maps with excessive
use of fonts with decorative elements: "They [...] look fairly silly."
There's advice on getting feedback from colleagues and discussions of
raster formats and resolution.(As a former editor of print
publication, I appreciate that!)
I've not run into the technique where you highlight white space by
"coloring it in." This process gives you a good sense as to where the
space is and how well it's distributed.That "trick" comes up in a
discussion on the use of boxes around map elements.
There are two things missing that I believe would be most helpful to
the new or not cartographically trained mapmaker: a glossary and an
index.With those, this book would be a perfect "at my right hand"