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Tolkien inspired map for your amusement (and feedback!)

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#1
A. Fenix

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Hello fellow mapaholics,

Here is my first attempt to create an antiquated look using GIS software tools (er, rather... a Tolkien map). I initially hoped to create an old overlay map (inspired by "Design by Nature") but ran out of time. So I ended up using insight from Matthew H. (Historic Map Effects with ESRI software) and Alpine Mapping Guild who both set me off on the right track (THANK YOU!). This map will be a gift, and covers a small geographic area of the recipients property. The functional use is to orient visitors to the land, but primarily it was intended to be a work of "art" matching the playful character of the landowner. The final map will be plotted on handmade paper with deckled edges so that it truly looks "old". The actual data layers represented on the map were digitized from aerial imagery with the stream data being corrected from DOQ's and a DEM. I digitized in land cover classes and created the vegetation to match the distribution, age class and vegetation types that actually exist on the ground. I was a little worried that this approach was perhaps "too" playful, so I tried bumb mapping techniques but ran into a time crunch and ended up using the tree symbology instead. In the future I hope to create all of my own symbology, instead of manipulating current symbology to fit my needs. Anyway, I loved creating this map and am very interested in any and all thoughts.

Thanks ahead of time for your feedback.

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Analisa Fenix
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#2
DaveB

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Nice use of fill patterns and the "cow" symbol :D

Some of the greens are a bit bright on screen, but I know greens can often look much different (darker, more subdued) when printed, so they are probably fine.

I'm still hoping for a way to overlap things like the tree symbols properly with each other so it doesn't look like they are floating. I would also like to add more symbols, cartouches and such some day.
Dave Barnes
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#3
Hans van der Maarel

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I would suggest losing the white outline around the text labels. That's something generally not seen on 'old' maps and it's rather distracting. You could try manually separating the texts from underlying objects.

Apart from that, it looks really nice.
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Red Geographics
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#4
Jean-Louis

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I love these type of maps.
I also think the green trees are too dominant and distracting, not only in their color but their numbers. I would suggest to just put a very few 'Forest icons' rather than try to create a forest with a large number of identical trees. Some of the better Tolkien type maps have such forest icons for inspiration and you might even try experiment at rendering one by hand that would fit with the cow icon which works very well
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#5
A. Fenix

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Thank you for the great feedback! It's nice to see that the things that are driving me crazy are also annoying the rest of you. Yes, I agree that the trees are distracting...but I really wanted to convey the dense forest that exists on the ground in certain areas. I thought about having only black and white trees, but I wanted the map to have a bit more character than that. So I took a gamble and did a test print on hand pressed paper. Fortunately, the color of the trees bleeds into the cream paper perfectly. Thanks for the good point on the masked text Hans van der Maarel, I will try different options.

again, I want to convey how wonderful it is for a lonely mapper to have this forum.
Analisa Fenix
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#6
Rick Dey

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Very nice work.

I would add that for an old style map the line work is too angular. The Roads and Creek struck me immediately as "GIS style". If you could smooth those it might add a bit more of an organic look to it.
Rick Dey

#7
Themarko

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Greenmapper, that is nice work. I've hand drawn maps to get those effects, and wondered about trying it in GIS but haven't gotten very far on doing it.

There is one trick I've used that may help. One problem when doing anything like this is that all the symbols, like your pine trees, look the same. One thing I did to show the redwood groves in my county is to put them in a table and make a field that simply assigns them a number from 1 to whatever. Then under symbology I symbolize them with the unique values. You can then double click on the actual symbol in the dialog box and assign any emf or bmp file you want as the symbol. I drew a few simple tree symbols and saved an emf file then flipped each one and saved it again. This gave me several different files that looked quite different on the map. I also drew Tolkien style mountains for our mountain summits and the result is a lot more hand drawn look.

You can probably find enough different styles of clip art if you're pressed for time. I've attached a zip file with my redwood and mountain icons. The may not be good for your map but maybe you can use them somehow.

Mark

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#8
A. Fenix

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Thank you for the zip file and the great advice. I've been wanting to create my own symbology, but to be honest I'm not really sure how to do this. When you say "I drew a few simple tree symbols and saved an emf file", what graphic program did you use? Since the majority of my professional background has been focussed in GIS (education in Geography and Anthropology), my true love has always been the art and science of Cartography. But in a world so biased by GIS (how many times have we heard something like "GIS is making maps" from someone) I have fought hard to assert that Cartography does not fall under the umbrella of GIS, but stands beside it and to move professionally into more mapping specific work. With that said, I am just realizing how much I need to develop proficiency in other non-GIS programs such as Illustrator in order to expand my cartographic horizons. Anyway, I'm getting off topic and need to start working on a database <_< thanks again for your great feedback everyone...
Analisa Fenix
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