Jump to content

 
Photo

World map

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1
TJung

TJung

    Newbie

  • Validated Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ruhr area
  • Germany

Hello,

although I’m surely not a cartographic professional but a layman, I hope I’m allowed to post here…

I’d like to show my current piece of work. It’s not quite finished but in its final stages.
Basically, it’s a political world map which will be printed on a A3 sheet (420 x 297 mm or about 16.54 x 11.69 inches) to be laminated and used as a desk pad. It’s intended audience is… well, myself and a few people I know who are interested in maps, too.

The main purpose is to have a map that allows to easily ascertain (at least approximately) the geographic coordinates of places.
I think that for this purpose a cylindric projection is best, so I decided to use the equirectangular projection with standard parallels set to 35° N/S. For one thing, this configuration fills the space of an A3 sheet quite well and still leaves some space left for a legend. For another thing because I simply like this configuration aesthetically.
Moreover, I decided to set the spacing of parallels and meridians to 10°, plus dashed lines for the intermediate 5 degree steps.

The map was prepared using Geocart.
As a base, I extracted the map image from the CIA world map and reprojected it to equirectangular. A database for the nation labels is supplied with Geocart; for the city labels, I used the "Populated Places" database offered by naturalearthdata.com. That was actually some piece of work:
I converted the dbf file to a MySQL database, then I wrote a little PHP script that enabled me to semi-automatically select the desired data from the database and write them to a text file as needed by Geocart. First, I created a text file that included all capitals except those of Central and Eastern Europe – it’s quite crowded there, so I thought it might be better to drop the labels there in order to keep the map legible.
Then, to fill up the space, I used the "scalerank" property provided in the Natural Earth database to select more cities for all countries outside of Europe, and even more cities for a few very large nations (such as Canada, the USA, Russia…). Finally, I added a few special places that I wanted to have on the map for various reasons.

At this stage, the map was exported from Geocart as a PDF file to start the post processing using Affinity Designer.
I had to re-position a lot of labels in order to prevent that they overlap each other, or simply because it looked better in my opinion. Some labels were put on a vector path.
Although it’s not actually true, it feels like I’ve touched every single label on the map at some point or another to move it around and see what looks best…
By the way, I learned something important here: Rotated labels look dreadful. Even a slight curvature looks much better (I’ve used this technique e.g. for the Somalia label). When I now look at other maps, I see that this seems to be common knowledge, but as I’ve said above, I’m a layman so I wasn’t aware of this.

I also removed some of the city labels again (whenever I felt that a place was too crowded) and even dropped some nation labels or edited them to use an abbreviation. A list of these abbreviations was put the the map legend. To add a bit of "eye candy", I included a bathymetry and a shaded relief image (again, the source is naturalearthdata.com).

To give you a first impression I’m attaching a small image, the full sized version (JPEG image, 5031 x 3578, 4.3 MB)
can be viewed/downloaded here.

One thing I’m not sure about at the moment is the graticule.
Sometimes I think that I should reduce the line width or use a brighter shade of grey … but in the next moment, given that the purpose is to identify the coordinates, I think the lines should even be emphasized a bit.

On a side note: As you can see from the map legend, the intended audience is German. Nonetheless, all the labels use the english names. That’s mostly because I didn’t want to translate them all ;-)  and it’s not that bad because all people who will receive this map understand English.

Although this map is intended for a very small audience that I know personally and is not intended to be sold or something, I’m thankful for any comments and criticism.
And, you don’t have to handle me with kid gloves. I want to get better at this so I’m ready to take a beating ;-)  because that’s how you learn.

Kind regards,
Tobias
 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Deskpad-Equirec.small.jpg


#2
Hans van der Maarel

Hans van der Maarel

    CartoTalk Editor-in-Chief

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,165 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Netherlands
  • Interests:Cartography, GIS, history, popular science, music.
  • Netherlands

That looks very nice Tobias, I think you're being too hard on yourself, it's a very professional-looking map.

 

Some of the things you're saying sound very familiar. Text placement is something I can spend way too much time on and despite great advances in automated text placement, for these kinds of maps I still rely on good old-fashioned manual work. Primarily because I haven't come across an automated text placement option that handles texts along curves well (and I agree with you, that just looks a lot better than a straight, rotated, text).

 

As for your graticule, I think it's a bit too much to be honest. How about you drop the 5-degree lines?

 

I'd also recommend highlighting the capital cities. A different symbol and/or a change in text style (maybe bold and/or underlined with a 1 point larger size). That'd just look "better" to me.


Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#3
TJung

TJung

    Newbie

  • Validated Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ruhr area
  • Germany

That looks very nice Tobias, I think you're being too hard on yourself, it's a very professional-looking map.


Oh, thanks a lot! *blush*
 
 

As for your graticule, I think it's a bit too much to be honest. How about you drop the 5-degree lines?


Yes, I’ve already thought about that, but I’m still undecided about that. On one hand it helps to determine the position of a place, on the other it’s quite easy to draw those 5-degree lines in your mind, especially on the equirectangular projection, so they really might be redundant...

 

I'd also recommend highlighting the capital cities. A different symbol and/or a change in text style (maybe bold and/or underlined with a 1 point larger size). That'd just look "better" to me.


Good point!
I’ll try this.

Thank you for your comments,
kind regards,
Tobias

#4
Strebe

Strebe

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 116 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:Map projections. Snobby chocolate. Science in general.
  • United States

I like the graticule resolution, myself. I’m a graticule kind-of-guy. ;-)

 

But, seriously, your stated goal for the map is to quickly, accurately ascertain the coordinates of a location. That argues for a detailed graticule.

 

— daan



#5
TJung

TJung

    Newbie

  • Validated Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ruhr area
  • Germany

I’ve decided to keep the 5-degree lines for two reasons:

1. At home I only have a monochrome A4 printer (that’s half the size of A3, US Letter ballpark), so I removed the raster images – only for purposes of this test, of course – and printed half the map in two variants, one having the 5-degree lines and the other not. And yes, I was able to ascertain the coordinates faster and more accurate.

2. As I’ve said, the other people who’ll get a copy are interested in maps, too. So of course, each of them already has one or the other world map, but I don’t think any of them has a map with such a detailed graticule. In other words, this makes my map more unique. ;-)

Regarding the capitals, I haven’t decided yet what to do but I’ll keep trying…

#6
Kate Leroux

Kate Leroux

    Key Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 68 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • United States

Lovely map! Have you considered generalizing/smoothing the bathymetry? 



#7
TJung

TJung

    Newbie

  • Validated Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ruhr area
  • Germany

Lovely map!


Thank you!


Have you considered generalizing/smoothing the bathymetry?


Good idea, I’ll give it a shot!

#8
westcoaster222

westcoaster222

    Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPip
  • 24 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nanaimo, British Columbia
  • Interests:GIS, GPS, Cartography, Infographics.
  • Canada

Great looking map. As Kate says, consider smoothing the bathy slightly to better match the terrain hillshade. I don't mind the 5 degree grids but you could consider putting a slight transparency on them (maybe 20-30%) so they are there but not quite as obvious to please both sides of the grid debate. I think you need them though as that is one of the goals of your map. You could just replace the red dot with a star or some differentiating symbol for the capital cities.



#9
TJung

TJung

    Newbie

  • Validated Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ruhr area
  • Germany

I don't mind the 5 degree grids but you could consider putting a slight transparency on them (maybe 20-30%)


I’ll try that, although I tried that before and ran into trouble when exporting it as PDF, but this might have been due to some false export settings. I’ll check again… but not today, it’s very late over here.


You could just replace the red dot with a star or some differentiating symbol for the capital cities.


Uuuh, that’d be difficult at this stage. Currently, the capital cities are still red dots but with a black contour.

Thanks for your suggestions!

#10
Agnar Renolen

Agnar Renolen

    Key Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 65 posts
  • No Country Selected

Good looking map indeed. Though I'm a bit puzzled by your focus.  Is it the sea floor, or is it the political (country division).  If it's a political map with focus on countries and cities, consider making the ocean and ocean floor less prominent; I think it steals too much focus from your intendent message.



#11
TJung

TJung

    Newbie

  • Validated Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ruhr area
  • Germany

Thank you for your comments, Agnar!

Meanwhile, I’ve build two new versions:
On the first one I’ve smoothed the original sea floor a bit.
On the second one I’ve used a different sea floor image.

I prefer the new image, but it still needs some work: Some countries, e.g. Norway, don’t contrast strong enough with the sea floor. And I’ve got to go over Antarctica again.
I’ve already tried to enhance the contrast by playing around with the gradation curve of the sea floor layer, but since I didn’t come to a satisfying result yet, I’m not posting theses attempts.

Again, both images have a file size of 4 MB approx.
Modified version of original sea floor
New sea floor image

What do you think, am I heading in the right direction using the new image?
At least, after I’ve applied the changes mentioned above?

Regards,
Tobias




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

-->