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Cartographic Rules

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For anyone who is still interested in this topic (BTW anyone who is considering using ESRI's PLTS product should be), I have been digging around, and with some generous help have come up with the following:
SwissTopo have a neat booklet of generalisation guidelines called "Topographic Maps - Map Graphic and Generalization" which can be viewed and obtained via http://www.cartograp...blications.html.
In addition, see NGA's spec called "1:50000 Topographic Line Maps Product Rules" (MIL-T-89301A), which can be accessed at http://www.assistdocs.com/
Does anyone know of the existence of any USGS or NOAA cartographic specs?



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USGS Mapping Standards are posted at http://nationalmap.g...tandards/#print



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This is something that my group has been thinking about quite a bit. We do most of the mapping for the US Census Bureau, most of which is to support field operations and partnership programs. Both of these types of maps are usually national in scope, but never at a consistent scale. For instance, we may need to map every county (3000+) but each county map needs to be scaled/sheeted/inset independently, so show the necessary details while minimizing the number of sheets (costs become a real factor when you are plotting tens of thousands or even millions of individual map sheets). In addition, each project has different (often wildly so) requirements, so deciding how to symbolize the feature network and the geographies becomes an exercise in juggling chainsaws and torches. For each project. Often going into production nearly simultaneously. Naturally, we automate this process as much as possible.

To complicate things even more right now, we are in the midst of inaugurating a new database (moving to Oracle 10g from the Census designed TIGERdb) which means also designing, coding, learning and implementing a whole new mapping system nearly from scratch. Actually, the only thing that is carrying over from the previous mapping system (also written in-house) is the cartographic knowledge of the programmers. Fortunately, the management here (at least the ones doing the hiring) are of the opinion that it is better to teach cartographers how to program than to teach programmers how to think cartographically. So most of us have a cartographic/geographic background and are up to our necks in program manuals and course-work.

I seem to have wandered away from the point a bit there :wacko: . I guess that mostly the previous paragraph is to give some background into how we are trying to approach this issue, which is a combination of data manipulation (creating a cartographically friendly version of the transaction-optimized database the rest of the division uses) and automating cartographic intelligence (in a highly configurable mapping system that can be tweaked for each map project and will respond in an automated fashion to each geographic entity that is submitted).

We are trying to build in rules-based decision making in both the database side and the map-creation side. Not always an easy task, especially when you get two or three cartographers together to decide what the decision should be. (Always seems to be more opinions than cartographers :P )
Andy McIntire
US Census Bureau

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