The Importance Of Map Design

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Map Design
Maps are especially effective devices for recording and communicating information about the environment (Campbell, 1991). A cartographer (or mapmaker) should know the purpose of the map he or she is designing and should make sure that the map fulfils that intended purpose.
The aim of this essay is to introduce map design, as well as to highlight the design choices that a cartographer must make and the principles that influence those choices.
(Chang, 2016) identifies the purpose of map design as to enhance a map so that it is easy to understand and able to communicate the correct message or information. A map that is designed well will be characterized by good balance, order, and visual appeal, whereas a poorly designed map
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The cartographer must have some idea of the normal conditions under which the map will be viewed.
The representation of the earth’s features on a map is affected by scale and generalization. Since cartographers cannot show every single detail of on a map, generalizations are bound to happen. As such, (Campbell, 1993) notes that all maps have, to some extent, been generalized. The content of each map must be adjusted to make it a useful and recognizable representation of the real world, within the limits of the space available and the scale of the map (Campbell, 1993).
One means of generalization that cartographers use is the selection and retention of the more important features in an area and the elimination of the less important ones (Campbell, 1993). for eg, the figure shows the larger lakes that have been retained as a result of the reduction of scale. (figure4.3a)
Cartographers can also generalize by means of simplification where the shapes of the features retained on the map are made less complex (Robinson , et al., 1995). This is illustrated in (figure) on the shorelines of the
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Therefore, (Campbell, 1991) asserts that it’s important to establish a visual hierarchy in order to help lead the reader’s eye. The most and least important elements should be at the top and bottom of the hierarchy, respectively (Campbell, 1991). The figure-ground relationship is one of the most important aspects of the visual hierarchy. If the figure-ground relationship is not clear-cut, (Tyner, 2010) warns that the communication will be ambiguous. For example (figure), it is not immediately apparent whether the shape that is shown is a lake or an island. Adding a tone to the water area, however, makes it evident that an island is being represented (figure 5.18

Campbell, J., 1991. Introductory Cartography. 2nd ed. Dubuque: Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Inc..
Campbell, J., 1993. Map Use and Analysis. 2nd ed. Dubuque: Wm. C. Brown Communications, Inc..
Chang, K.-T., 2016. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
Kraak , M. J. & Ormeling, F., 1996. Cartography: Visualization of Spatial Data. New York: The Guilford Press.
MacEachren, A. M., 1994. SOME Truth with Maps: A Primer on Symbolization & Design. Washington: Association of American Geographers.
MacEachren, A. M., 1995. How Maps Work. New York: The Guilford Press.
Robinson , A. H. et al., 1995. Elements of Cartography. 6th ed. s.l.:s.n.
Tyner, J. A., 2010. Principles

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