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James Niehues " The Man Behind the Maps" article

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#1
ELeFevre

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Last week our local paper "The Boulder Weekly" ran an article on James Niehuess. I'm sure many of you are familiar with his cartographic work. Anyways, I thought I'd share the link. Enjoy. James Niehues " The Man Behind the Maps".

Found this quote interesting:

“This is terrible,” said Niehues, looking at the new satellite map for the first time. “It’s too crowded in spots, not clear ... It’s just better to do it in your head. The mind is such an amazing thing. Computers get better, but they still can’t do what we can do.”



#2
Matthew Hampton

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Thanks for the link Erin!

I am a huge fan of Niehues - and have spent hours gazing at his maps.

Here is a link to the Breckenridge map he referred to (satellite drape on a DTM) that he thought was "terrible." Compared to his work - I would have to agree.

The quote from Breckenridge marketing was quite funny

“The accuracy is amazing. You’re looking at a real photo, so every tree, every trail, is really as it is,” said Breckenridge marketing director Brett Howard.

How "accurate" is the terrain when it's based on a 30m pixel?

I think the ski map A. Tait showed at Pecha Kucha at NACIS in St. Louis was a bit better - with regard to digital vs. oil & canvas - but I am sure there is a bit of room for innovations.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#3
ELeFevre

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Thanks for the link Erin!

I am a huge fan of Niehues - and have spent hours gazing at his maps.

Here is a link to the Breckenridge map he referred to (satellite drape on a DTM) that he thought was "terrible." Compared to his work - I would have to agree.

The quote from Breckenridge marketing was quite funny

“The accuracy is amazing. You’re looking at a real photo, so every tree, every trail, is really as it is,” said Breckenridge marketing director Brett Howard.

How "accurate" is the terrain when it's based on a 30m pixel?

I think the ski map A. Tait showed at Pecha Kucha at NACIS in St. Louis was a bit better - with regard to digital vs. oil & canvas - but I am sure there is a bit of room for innovations.


Matthew,
I'm sure the company who sold them the digital map said exactly the same thing! That was their selling point. The new map is miserable compared to his paintings. I'm shocked they actually bought it. It must have been priced right.
You should consider showing up at Mr. Niehues's doorstep as his new "apprentice"! Keep the tradition alive.

I'd really like to check out his studio and ask him some more in-depth question about his work. Perhaps a "Cartotalk interview"? hmmm...



#4
MapMedia

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Truly amazing gift he has. If you love a particular ski area, this type of map is worth framing.
I wonder though, aerial photo vs hand paint is not a dichotomy, but can be blended together, so every tree appears on the map, but the artist
breathes a breath of life into the map that the users (skiers) truly, and heart-felt appreciate, dare say adore.

Has anyone run across map user surveys? Have preferences changes over time? (Why?) :unsure:

#5
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His work is more then impressive.

I think his reflection on satellite maps that Erin quoted is dead on. Just showing a draped satellite image on top of a DEM does not represent reality accurately.

Here is the link to his home page.

http://www.jamesniehues.com/index.htm
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#6
ELeFevre

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His work is more then impressive.

I think his reflection on satellite maps that Erin quoted is dead on. Just showing a draped satellite image on top of a DEM does not represent reality accurately.

Here is the link to his home page.

http://www.jamesniehues.com/index.htm


Thanks for the link Jacques. Have you tried your hand at ski resorts?



#7
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Have you tried your hand at ski resorts?


No...(but seeing this type of quality works makes me want to give it a modest try someday)

How about you ... or anybody else on Cartotalk.

Cheers.
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I put both Breckenridge maps (the artistic view and the computer rendered one) side by side to compare. One can clearly see that an adjustment to the perspective(s) and emphasis on the ski slopes are required to achieve a good representation of the overall sky hill on a flat sheet of paper. Not sure if this can be achieved via a computer only solution.
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#9
Derek Tonn

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Jim is one of the best at depicting mountain cartography that I have ever seen. Quite simply, he "gets" the idea behind the ART of map design. I've often contended that "too much" accuracy in certain types of mapping applications can actually detract from usability and wayfinding. I know I'll probably eventually be ex-communicated from the greater mapping community for feeling that way, :P but I honestly believe that to be true. Jim's illustrations are beautiful to look at AND very easy to use/navigate. What more could a ski resort or other prospective client want? I only wish we could get him to a NACIS meeting or two. I continue to try and learn from the great things he has done within the bird's eye/oblique side of our industry, as well as tell other people about the services he provides. He is a very nice, very talented man!
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#10
Matthew Hampton

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One can clearly see that an adjustment to the perspective(s) and emphasis on the ski slopes are required to achieve a good representation of the overall sky hill on a flat sheet of paper. Not sure if this can be achieved via a computer only solution.


I think it could be done in a raster editor. T. Patterson has posted some tips for DEM manipulation using Photoshop and BSmooth). I would still probably argue that Niehues's paintings are more beautiful - but there could also be a compelling business sense for digital production.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#11
Matthew Hampton

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I've often contended that "too much" accuracy in certain types of mapping applications can actually detract from usability and wayfinding. I know I'll probably eventually be ex-communicated from the greater mapping community for feeling that way, :P but I honestly believe that to be true.


Not ex-communicated - we'll just generalize every comment you make :blink:

I actually agree with you Derek. Part of cARTography is to eliminate (generalize) distractions and to highlight the pertinent details. I just checked and it's only 856 miles from Loveland to Missoula - maybe he could come to the next NACIS?

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com





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