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#1
Queneau

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Hi Everyone,

First of all big compliments on this site and its contributors! I have been a member for about a week now and have found lots of interesting topics!

I am Jeffrey, born in 1981. I am a graphic designer (studied in Arnhem and Breda) and have been working as designer in Amsterdam now for about 2 years. Ever since my study I have been very interested in cartography and infographics. I am very interested in the fields themselves but especially in the esthetics and the theory/philosophy (how does a map relate to the world, the map is not the territory... or is it?). I am familiar with some of the work of E.R.Tufte, Denis Wood and Mark Monmonier and others. All well until now... but now I have a range of questions in which I thin/hope you could help me:

1. As I said before I am designer now, with a master degree acquired at Post St Joost Breda. But I would actually like to work within the field of cartography / infographics, both in research as in the actual creation of these, and I don't really know where to look. Are there companies that are specialized in this field? And what kind of background is preferred for these jobs? which bring me to...

2. Are there any Master programs (or interesting (parttime) studies) within the field of cartography?

3. What kind of software does one have to know? I have good knowledge of both photoshop and illustrator, but I presume that CAD and GIS are quite essential as well?

4. What books do you recommend in the field of cartography / infographics, both on the esthetics as on the theory behind it?

I hope you can help me with these questions and I can further pursue my cartographic ambitions!! ;)

Thanks in advance for your responses and hava a good day!

Greetings Jeffrey / Queneau
Jeffrey | Queneau

Graphic Designer
Netherlands

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Hello Jeffrey, and welcome to Cartotalk!

1: I know of a few Dutch companies specializing in custom map/infographic production. It's probabely a good idea to try and work a bit broader than just infographics though. A background in cartography and/or graphic design combined with some knowledge of math and statistics (for the infographic side) would be a good place to start. I would value a good background in design more than a background in statistics.

2: Universiteit van Amsterdam offers a masters programme (at least it used to do), but I don't know how good it is. Have heard varying opinions on that.

3: Illustrator and Photoshop would be very good to know, you could extend it with knowledge of some GIS software (Arc, MapInfo, Manifold) for thematic maps, or a plugin such as MAPublisher. Also, some understanding of the basic concepts of GIS would be valuable too.

4: Since you mention Mark Monmonier, I'm going to assume you already know this one: "How To Lie With Maps" is a classic. "Making Maps" by John Krygier and Denis Wood is also recommended. Finally, there's a book by Cynthia Brewer, but the title has slipped my mind at this moment.

Aside from that, try to learn by experience (by which I mean: get your hands on some data and play with it). Feel free to ask any questions you may have here, and to post some samples of your work for review.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#3
MapMedia

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Hello and Welcome!

1. Learn by doing is a good start - get yourself the Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop package. You can get a freeware GIS platform or Manifold, which is recommended.

2. Find a collection of maps that you would like to make for clients and reverse engineer them - and make them yourself

3. Yes, read books so you understand GIS and cartography. Elements of Cartography is a good start - its a text book

4. Is this the preferred format for this thread?

Chris

#4
Queneau

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Thanks!

One question on the freeware GIS platform: where/how can I find this? Are there websites which offer it?
Mapmedia: you are probably right I squeezed a bit to much into this post! :P Next time I will break it up more into the right sections!

"getting my hand dirty" > I'm doing exactly that, recreating maps piece by piece, see how they 'work'. As for the statistics, are there any basics on which one can start? As I come from the design side of things this field is quite unknown to me.
Jeffrey | Queneau

Graphic Designer
Netherlands

#5
Hans van der Maarel

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FreeGIS.org would be a good place to start. Also links to some free source data. I'd point you to Dutch data, but there's so much more available (for free!) for the US...
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#6
MapMedia

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I was just goofing with the 1-4, wasn't trying make statement of a long post, which is was not.

Good, so you have a design background. As for what other skills you need, first determine what sort of maps you want to make, or specialize in for the near-term.
That will determine what skill sets to develop. Example: if you want to create thematic maps, having a foundation of basic statistics and map data display is key.
If you really want to start making road maps and wall maps, start using a powerful drawing program (I prefer and recommend Adobe Illustrator) and a side-kick GIS tool
to help you manipulate GIS data (clip, organize, generalize, etc.) as needed. Labeling is another issue- there are various apps for label automation, including ESRI Maplex
and another app called MapText.

Please give us your focus and we can give you more specialized suggestions as opposed to the kitchen sink approach, which would be overwhelming for you.

Chris

#7
Queneau

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Let's see...

I don't really know what area of specialisation I want to develop, it's a bit too early to tell. Though I guess the variety of thematic maps is most appealing to me now, road-maps are less of interest. My ambition could for instance be to make an alternative atlas, for instance for a limeted geographic area like a small town or street. This requires both topographic as well as thematic map skills. This may be (too) ambitious but it's about as specific I can get at the moment. As I said before both infographics and cartography interest me, though I realize they are quite separate fields of specialization. The area where they overlap is also very interesting for me. i hope this helps?!

Jeffrey
Jeffrey | Queneau

Graphic Designer
Netherlands

#8
DaveB

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there's a book by Cynthia Brewer, but the title has slipped my mind at this moment.

Cindy's book is called Designing Better Maps. She has a new companion book out now called Designed Maps: A Sourcebook for GIS Users.

Welcome to cartotalk and good luck, Jeffrey! :)
Dave Barnes
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Map Geek

#9
Dennis McClendon

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Welcome! I came to mapmaking from graphic design, so I'm happy to see your interest.

Besides Tufte, I was impressed by the work of Richard Saul Wurman in the 1980s. His work on city guidebooks and Yellow Pages (phone books) showed me how maps could be stripped down to only the most essential lines and words.

It can be useful to use GIS to assemble existing data and for projecting small-scale maps, but those of us with a graphic design background typically move to Illustrator as soon as possible for the actual design work. For large-scale work, it often works much better to simply draw from scratch by tracing over an aerial photo or existing map. Somewhere between eye and hand, your brain does some impressive work of simplifying and synthesizing what it sees in the source.

Also, start an "idea file" of maps that you like. Tear sample maps out of magazines and phone books; photocopy maps from books that you admire.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com




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