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Coastal BC First Nations

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#1
eli

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Hi all,
I've never posted a map for critique, so I'm somewhat nervous. But I'm sure you will be kind :)

This map was originally made a few years ago for a new colleague who was unfamiliar with the Nations on the coast. Recently, I've had more requests for the map, so I thought I'd clean it up a bit.

Dealing with the boundary spaghetti is a bit of a design challenge - I've recently considered using an index (ie, Nation (45) - C4). Any other suggestions?

Any feedback appreciated.

Attached File  FN_SOI_BCCoast_Feb2808_md.jpg   639.66KB   159 downloads

#2
François Goulet

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That was quite a challenge!

Using an index would be a good idea since it can be difficult to find a particular number to find a particular nation and the inverse since the numbers are following the alphabetical order.
Personally, I'd change the yellowish colors because they're hard to see, but maybe printed it could be different. Maybe black numbers with the color outer stroke would help.

Is there a reason for the dashed lines? Could use it more to differentiate lines of similar colors but it's risky because it could be interpreted as an undefined boundary.

Another question: how are the nations grouped? They're two in the first group, six in the second, ...

I may seem critical, but I don't know if I could have done better so don't worry... Good job! ;)

#3
eli

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Thanks for your comments Francois,

I used the dashed lines (and filled polygons) in an effort to find different ways to display data. I actually didn't change any of the colours or linework since the first draft, perhaps I should look at those elements.

The Nations are grouped in order to break up the legend a bit... it's not very effective.

I think I might give that index a shot...

#4
François Goulet

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Hi Eli,

The problem I have with mixing fills, "full" lines and dashes is that it appears like a hierarchical order... Polygons with fills first, then the full lines and finally the dashes. In political maps, dashed are often use as "undefined boundaries".

I have this problem with one of my own maps. I work for a publisher and the designers team always have the last word on the look of everything and they change the symbology of one of my maps because they didn't like it. It was one on Antarctic Claims and as your surely know, some part are claim by 2 or 3 countries. I used dashed lines for all claim boundaries, but where they were 3, my dashes were "overlaped" and they changed it for the map I upload as attachment.

It looks like the Britsh claim is the legitimate one, being in full color and the Chilean and Argentinian are trying to claim a part of Antarctica that isn't theirs. But that wasn't my call in the end. The editor liked it so it will be the one in the book.

Maybe you could try 2 or 3 different type of dashes (like full lines, long dashed and short dashes) and trying to have an equal number of each. No one could think than a third of the boundaries are undefined, but once again, it could lead to other difficulties by overcrowding the map of line symbols. It may worth a try though...

I may not be the best map designer, but I started my cartographic career doing map corrections so I try to stay constructive... If not, do not hesitate to tell me ;)

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#5
BioGeoMan

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Hey Eli, whew...you have your work cut out for you, although the map looks pretty good as is. A couple comments:
  • I would consider getting rid of the "ESRI" default symbols on the left side of the map. It seems the numbers are more important than the color of the polygons. I wouldn't even begin to try and match the colors between the legend and what is shown on the map. I think by making the numbers more prevalent, it will make it easier to locate the specific areas on the map. An index may be a good idea, but may add unnecessary clutter to an already complex map. Focus on making the numbers stand out...drop shadow? Bounding boxes with associated colors?
  • Maybe you could put "See Inset Map" on the square that focuses on the Victoria area.
  • Ecotrust cartographers have great palettes, but maybe darkening the waterways a bit would help with contrast between land and water (not too much). :P
  • Labeling MAJOR water features may be a good idea.

Good luck, look forward to seeing the final product.

Michael Scisco

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#6
natcase

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François' map has a double problem: besides the problem of overlapping claims, the Antarctic territories end up inevitably looking like a pie chart. In a way, Eli's problem is exactly opposite: the reader has to untangle a mass of spaghetti in some cases, to figure out what is inside a polygon and what is outside.

I wonder in both cases about using a hard line with a soft "inline," a lighter tint that indicates which side of a line is the inside of the polygon. In the case of Antarctica, it would de-emphasize the pie-chart-ness by making the boundaries rather than the territories dominant, and would allow equal treatment for all participants. In Eli's case, it might make it easier to visually decipher congested (I guess that means contested) areas, which I would assume are actually some of the most interesting aspects of the subject.

On Eli's map, I also balk at the sheer number of colors involved. You might try bringing the number of colors down to the 5-6 you need (at most) for a standard political map, and just cycle through them. With the numbers in the same color as the boundaries, picking a smaller number of quite mutually divergent colors might help pull the whole thing together.

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#7
François Goulet

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I wonder in both cases about using a hard line with a soft "inline," a lighter tint that indicates which side of a line is the inside of the polygon. In the case of Antarctica, it would de-emphasize the pie-chart-ness by making the boundaries rather than the territories dominant, and would allow equal treatment for all participants.


You're right and I'm glad to know that I tried something like that first...

I'll forward your idea to the design department ;) At first, I tried a dashed inside stroke of the polygons (so you could see the colors when 2 lines touches each other), but they thought it was too "crowded" in the problematic area (Argentina/Chile/GB claims) because the lines where overlapping each other (since the "northern" limit of the claims are at 60°S (except the Norvegian). It didn't bother me since we could see all 3 colors, but one was always more "present" than the others... See the Antarctic Map in this topic. It was basically the same and thought it worked better than the one we will have in the book... :(

#8
Casey Greene

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What a great topic for a map. I like it.

The one problem I see with the map, is the terrain is so dominant that i can't navigate the polygoned (is that a word?) territories with ease. You might want to make them stand out more. If this is just a location map you could either 1) use different visual characteristics for the polygons/territories, 2) tone down the visual intensity of the terrain, or 3) lose the terrain altogether.

Also, I think you could actually make this map without a legend by labeling each territory, thus making the data more easy to navigate and digest.

I hope this helps you with your already well structured design. :)

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#9
eli

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Thank you everyone for all your great suggestions! Unfortunately, my ai file just went kaput so I won't be able to implement them until I can find the time to rebuild the map :(

Unless anyone has any tips on fixing files that won't open?

#10
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try placing it in an empty document, also check if it could be related to any effects, plugins or other extras.
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