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Mapmaker puts tiny towns on road to oblivion -


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#1
MapMedia

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Do you follow strict standards as Rand McNally or follow the 'balancing act' philosophy?

If I was making a transportation map, I would feel compelled to preseve rural history. Maybe the state's typography should be revised to accomodate more type?

#2
Mike H

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Balancing act for me, and/or combined with client requests. The map scale ultimately determines text density, so I may use population as a determining factor if I have to. But if towns under 2500 pop. exist within otherwise white space on the map, I feel compelled to add them. I like white space to truely be white space - uninhabited - not a string of rural crossroad towns left off because of an arbitrary text/population limit.
Michael Hermann
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#3
Hans van der Maarel

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I agree with Mike. I especially had to work around the space constraints when doing the world beanbag maps (a new prototype was presented today at the Amsterdam millionair fair today by the way). Places in Europe where I had to leave out mega-cities but in stark contrast with that places in Northern Canada that have a summer population of only 2000 (Churchill comes to mind).

The criteria I looked at were:
- Is it an important city?
- Is it a well-known city?
- Do I have enough room on the map?

Of course this meant there were parts of the globe where I added fairly small and unknown cities, just to have something visible there.
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#4
CHART

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I don't think population is a good criteria for a break off point regarding place names especially for an official road map.

IMO a place name is a landmark and there probably is a sign that says 'Welcome to HOHO, Population 10'. In a 'where the heck am I' case it can be very useful (or this looks like a cool place lets drive by). Good text placement, size and font selection can do wonders. But then again I am confronted only with maps of Canada with long stretches of roads with no population.

:)
Chart

#5
Maisie

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I side with William Least Heat Moon in his major road-trip book Blue Highways. (I wish I had the exact quote with me)

...Someone should tell the cartographers: a town is not a town unless it has a gas pump, a church bell and (something else I don't recall... sandwich shop?)...

Many times I have looked forward to arriving in some town ahead on the map, and then never saw it. Drove right through what the map said was a settlement and didn't realize those two houses together back there must have been what they meant.

I'm all for rural preservation. My favorite crossraods right now is Oregon, PA, which at its height had 300 residents. It doesn't officially exist anymore, and it's in too crowded an area to be shown on most maps.
Its preservation is a local concern, however, and not that of commercial mapmakers.

Martha

#6
MapMedia

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Well it looks like WLHM will have to expect the unexpected when on a road trip in Georgia....

#7
amtait

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I've been following this story and it is amazing how many media outlets picked it up. It is not only a good cartographic production issue but seems to get at some personal level of geography, actual and metaphyscal, that people really care about.

When it comes to making maps I have been down both roads: the GIS based population cutoff road and what i would call "provide info in rural areas" road where you put landmark towns in even when they are small. In the U.S. I also often try to get a good state by state representation (the four largest in each of the western states for example).

Of course a lot of it depends on the purpose of the maps and you do want to avoid, as Swift put it, "...placing elephants for want of towns..."


Link to article

Do you follow strict standards as Rand McNally or follow the 'balancing act' philosophy?

If I was making a transportation map, I would feel compelled to preseve rural history. Maybe the state's typography should be revised to accomodate more type?


Alex Tait
VP, International Mapping, Ellicott City, MD, USA




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