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State Park Map - Practice

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#1
dsl

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Tom Patterson's wonderful work is a tough act to follow, but here goes :).

I really like this forum, because there seems to be a very positive atmosphere (something that lacks in many other forums). The maps that get posted here get great feedback and useful help. I am new to the cartography side, coming from Geography/GIS, so this is my first attempt at a map of this type (I hope it isn't obvious from the map that my background is in GIS! Autolabel is a terrible invention!). I recently followed my spouse abroad to Darwin Australia from the US, and am in between jobs. Probably not what most people would do for fun with their time off, but I decided to get some cartographic practice. Who knows, maybe it will turn into some freelance stuff down the line :).

About the map. I picked Mueller State Park mostly because I visited there recently. The perspective I took on the map was that it would be used for marketing and as a broad location map. Obviously, it won't actually. I thought I would post it here for some feedback. I will probably add a locater map in one of the corners to show it's location in Colorado. The lines probably could stand to be smoothed (streams, roads, contours). Any advice and feedback will be appreciated. The software used was - GlobalMapper, Manifold, GIMP, Photoshop Elements, and Illustrator CS3.

Thanks,
David

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#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Well, here goes :)

Your map looks pretty good actually, but I do have some comments:
  • I'm not too keen on the serif font in the title and on the left side. Since everything else is sans-serif, it kinda looks odd.
  • Why dashed lines for the creeks? Are they dry in certain seasons (which the dashing seems to imply)? Also, don't label it "stream centerline" in the legend, just "stream" or "creek".
  • Road numbers, perhaps better on top of the road instead of right next to it.
  • Some of the labelling looks funky indeed. Rule Creek is one that comes to mind.
  • Maybe move the contour interval explanation up in the legend to somewhere close to the appropriate legend items.
  • I think the park boundary is kinda prominent. Maybe reduce the line weight and mask out the surrounding areas a bit more (transparent white layer on top of it in Illustrator does the trick)
For a first attempt, this is certainly a very good map and definately a good way to showcase what you can do.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#3
BioGeoMan

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Nice map! Hans makes some great points, especially the dashed streams, that usually implies intermittent streams, especially in the western US. Here are a few other comments:
  • Do you have data for trails? You mention miles of trails in the "Highlights" list.
  • What does the gray and green represent on the map?
  • I don't think that the secondary roads north of the park are necessary to show.
  • Maybe show how far it is to Woodland Park and Cripple Creek in addition to directional indicators.
  • Maybe show in what direction Pikes Peak is located since you reference an opportunity to view it from the park.
  • Are the other streams in the park unnamed tributaries?
  • If you are going to produce a locater inset map, you could probably decrease the scale of the main map and show park characteristics in more detail (including trails). It seems like you have a lot of space outside the park that doesn't necessarily provide useful information.
Hope this helps. I too make maps in my free time for little or no compensation, so you're not alone :D

Michael Scisco

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biogeocreations.com


#4
natcase

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Nice first draft. Ditto what Hans and Biogenman said, except:

- I think the serif title and left text are OK. I think of it as framing material vs map-tool material.

- I think the secondary roads north of the park are actually very useful. They tell me there's a developed area bordering the park for one thing.

A few additional thoughts:

- The elements on the page don't especially relate to each other or the page as a whole. Basic graphic design idea: work from the grid. This doesn't mean every thing has to be exactly 1/4 of a page or anything, but alignments and spacing matter.

- Graying out the road system near the park doesn't make sense to me. You want to show how to get in, and if anything the roads are outside are more major and prominent.

- In general, look at your lists of highlights (facilities and relationship to surrounding features), and then look at what is most prominent on your map (boundary, ground cover, facilities, highway shields). There are several ways to rework the publication so it shows what you have listed as key selling points: changing weight and prominence of information on the map; changing the scale and focus of component map(s), like make the current map much smaller and expand area of coverage to include Pike's Peak, and add a more detailed map of the park core that shows trails and campgrounds in more detail; and add more non-map elements (like, what exactly makes a "luxury" cabin. A photo would help).

Hope this helps.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#5
DaveB

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Nice start!

Does the Peak View icon indicate the direction you would look to view the peak?

The line weights and value for the roads and secondary contours are pretty similar. Maybe not a problem, but something to consider.

(making maps in your spare time for fun? hmm, who does that? ha ha) B)
Dave Barnes
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#6
dsl

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(making maps in your spare time for fun? hmm, who does that? ha ha) B)


I guess I'm in good company then :). The peak view symbol does actually point to the peak view. I will add a note on where to find Pikes Peak. It wasn't till I started labeling contours that I realized everything was under 14,000 feet and I had cut off Pikes Peak.

Thanks for all the feedback and tips (Hans, Michael, Nat, Dave).

I definitely wasn't happy about something, but couldn't pin point it. Now I'm thinking it had something to do with the line styles and thicknesses I had chosen to start with.

I wanted to originally do a nice trails map, but there isn't any data available electronically. I thought to digitize the trails from an aerial photo, but the land cover hides them. They have a trails map, but it is pretty generic. And of course I'm too far away to GPS the trails myself.

Hans - I was using a transparent black layer to wipe out areas, didn't even think of using a white layer.

Michael - I should also probably put the distance from the park entrance to Divide, which is useful when driving there. It's easy to miss the entrance.

Nat - Do you have any recommendations for learning more about Graphic Design, either online or in book form?

Thanks,
David

#7
James Hines

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Nice map, I agree that there should be trails on the map, because in a product of this type users are typically going to want to know where the trails are. Is this product going to be a poster or a folded map product that you intend to sell? If your selling the product as per copyright allows; why not consider adding profiles to the back of the map? And what about the streams, are you just going by the NSGS topographic standards? Or are those streams intermediate?

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#8
natcase

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Nat - Do you have any recommendations for learning more about Graphic Design, either online or in book form?


Afraid whatever I've learned I learned on the job. As with so many other things, tutorials and schooling only get you so far. Experiment, imitation and critique have always been the most useful to me

Browsing around, surprisingly about.com's page on page composition is a pretty good start on basic prinicples.

There's a good general bibliography for typography and layout here (though it appears to be 15 years old or so). I tend to be a deisgn traditionalist, so the older books appeal to me most...

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#9
MapMedia

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DSL - Good start. I suggest adding trails, making it a resource for people wanting to go to the park - so they know trails, distances, facilities etc. You've started towards something, so please keep us posted. Keep going, as self learning only comes by doing, and challenging yourself.




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