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#1
ELeFevre

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Here's a completely random post between cramming for my finals:

It's interesting to think that Google, MSN, etc, may be setting the precedence for online mapping in terms of what features are included and excluded. Because of their enormous user base, they can literally define in the public mind what features belong on an online map and what features really do not matter.

In academic cartography courses we are taught that all maps should have certain features, such as a North arrow, neat line, and scale bar. But what about online mapping? Do the same rules apply? Google's mapping application doesnt even have a scale bar or a North arrow? Is everyone ok with that? Is it really that tough to include a North arrow and a scale bar?

But it does a zoom feature.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this post, but I stand by it either way:)

Erin



#2
Hans van der Maarel

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If your map is north-oriented, you can get away with not using a north arrow. It's not recommended, but it'll work. As far as the scale bar goes, that is one feature that I do miss.

Generally speaking, the same basic rules would apply to print mapping as well as online mapping, with some exceptions/remarks. Take for example the north arrow. As it's *easy* to rotate a paper map, the top (as seen through your eyes, i.e. the edge furthest away from you) may not always correspond with north. Rotating is a lot more difficult with online maps (at least I don't have the habit of canting my screen on its side...).

Just a thought...
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#3
mike

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I find cartographic design is continuously changing. as much as it is a specialised skill, i also consider it an art form. anybody can create a map. but it takes somebody with some skill and talent to create something that is visually interesting.

Erin, in school you are learning standards and convention. i learned those too. however, when you get out of school, depending on where you work and what you are working on, certain elements can be omitted. i am not one to always include every element in my maps, it depends on the overall design for one map or a range of maps. however, i usually do include at least the scale bar. north arrow is very optional for me, lately, i haven't it included it on any maps, unless it was a large scale map.

#4
ELeFevre

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Rotating is a lot more difficult with online maps (at least I don't have the habit of canting my screen on its side...).

Hans,

That's a good point. The mental picture of turning a computer monitor on its side is a funny one. Thanks! At least now I know why my monitors only last a few months:) Think of the money I've been throwing away in hopes of finding true North!


I just think it's interesting and exciting we have the opportunity to watch online mapping develop, from basically scanned images of print maps pasted on a webpage, to something very dynamic in only a few years.



#5
ELeFevre

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I find cartographic design is continuously changing.  as much as it is a specialised skill, i also consider it an art form.  anybody can create a map.  but it takes somebody with some skill and talent to create something that is visually interesting.

Your absolutely right. In school we are taught the rules and conventions of cartography as a process/science, I guess. Perhaps "art" is what develops after you learn how to manipulate the procedures. Your points are true and helpful! Erin



#6
Hans van der Maarel

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That's a good point. The mental picture of turning a computer monitor on its side is a funny one. Thanks! At least now I know why my monitors only last a few months:) Think of the money I've been throwing away in hopes of finding true North!


I just think it's interesting and exciting we have the opportunity to watch online mapping develop, from basically scanned images of print maps pasted on a webpage, to something very dynamic in only a few years.

Erin,

With the way things have been developing in the Cartography (and GIS) field over the past few years, I think it's obvious that we are at a very interesting and important point in the history of mapmaking. I for one feel privileged to be a part of it.

On the subject of finding true north, and north-oriented maps... In all my years of being involved with maps (I started college almost 10 years ago), I've only seen 2 maps 'in the field' that were not north-oriented. The first one, a city map on an information panel at a train station, confused me immensely until I realised it wasn't north oriented (it had no north arrow). The second one was a very interesting one: it was a road atlas of The Netherlands, with every map shown twice. Once north-oriented and once south-oriented, especially for people who were no able to read maps... The idea was that 'on the way back', you'd use the other set of maps and left/right would still correspond with the real world. I don't think it was a success, because it was in the bargain bin... Shame I didn't buy it :(
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#7
Rick Dey

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On the issue of North oriented maps, we have a number of our published maps that are not north oriented due to constraints of needing to show certain areas of coverage, standard sheet sizes and standard scales in a series of maps. Our regional maps of Northern California (SF Bay, Mendocino-Sonoma Coast, Monterey Bay and Gold Country are all oriented 30 degrees off of north. But we do include a very obvious North Arrow on all of them. A number of our street level maps are also canted at various angles. Valleys, bays and directions of development just don't want to always conform to a North South orientation.

In commercial mapping certain tradeoffs need to be made due to economic restraints.

Now if we could just get developers to use street names that conform to street length instead of using the longest names on the shortest streeets (I think it has to do with validating their feelings of inadequacy) life would be so much easier!
Rick Dey

#8
Hans van der Maarel

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Now if we could just get developers to use street names that conform to street length instead of using the longest names on the shortest streeets (I think it has to do with validating their feelings of inadequacy) life would be so much easier!


Ah... utopia...

At least in the US the numbering of streets is often done. Even though it's a rather bland, uninteresting way of doing things, it does make text placement a lot easier.
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#9
Lori Martin

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I just think it's interesting and exciting we have the opportunity to watch online mapping develop, from basically scanned images of print maps pasted on a webpage, to something very dynamic in only a few years.



It would be nice to have web developers in agreement as to what is or should be included with a map created through their site. I wonder if there are legal implications that could result. This is certainly uncharted territory....
Lori Anne Martin,
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#10
ELeFevre

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It would be nice to have web developers in agreement as to what is or should be included with a map created through their site.

This is an interesting aspect of online mapping. Maps can be produced by "cartographers" (programmers) who do not know the conventions and rules of cartographic design. Even though conventions and rules can be tossed out the window depending on the real world situation (like Mike said), knowing them makes a big difference. Cartographers can get away with manipulating the rules because Cartographers under stand how they work and there importance on "visualizing" the information. Programmers on the other hand, program. They make sure the machinery is sound. Which is a lot different than visualizing information.



#11
Martin Gamache

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There is an interesting little book published by the American Association of Geographers called "Some Truths with Maps" The author is a well known academic cartographer and goes on at lenght about conventions and how every circumstance will dictate what needs to be on maps. I think this is the right approach. A convention is not necessarily a rule.

I think that we are just now in the process of determining what the conventions will be for online mapping and I know some folks are working on these things (in an academic sense) in Wisconsin (Mark Harrower has come up with some pretty interesting guidelines for flash based maps that he presented at the 2003 CCA conference. They are worth looking up). and that the SVG standards have some cartographers involved (check out carto.net).

It´s funny that most often when I dont see a north arrow it is when I really need one and the map is not north up and when I see the ugliest, most ornate and largest north arrow it is in a totally innapropriate and unecessary context.

Google maps needs a scale bar, this has been my biggest pet peeve with it. It likely did not occur to the programmers that one was necessary.

#12
Kartograph

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Hi there!

@north arrows

Here in Berlin, Germany they (Prof. FREITAG et al.) teach us:

Placing a north arrow in a north oriented map is very bad style, and shouldn´t be done. It can even be shown, that there are much more north arrows in published maps since the widespread introduction and use of GIS than ever before.

Almost all German Profs teach this too. Swiss Cartographer IMHOF (Thematische Kartographie s. 246) even points out, that a north arrow is even to be absent, if the map is not north oriented, but norther direction can be derived from the map grid.

Greetings,

Andreas




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