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European style in colouring urban maps

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#1
Drumul Taberei

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Hello, map makers!

I search over the internet to find a specific colour codes for urban maps. I allready saw that europeans have a different style in using colours then nord-americans do. For example, nord-americans use dark colours to represent the buildings, and european light colours. Here, in Romania, many maps have buildings represented in orange, wich is a plus because you can use the readable space above the shape of the building to write the building number or other information about it.

Anybody know about that issue?

Thanks.

I.
Ionut

Working on Drumul Taberei neighbourhood maps at Http://DrumulTaberei.WordPress.Com
(any critics and sugestions are welcome)

#2
natcase

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Short answer is there are no rules. Each maker of urban maps makes their own rules, often different for different projects. I don't see a European/North American breakdown, frankly. Dennis and I both commonly use light colors that you can run type over the top of. To me, if you are planning on labeling buildings this is a no-brainer (though for screen-based applications a reverse-out-of-dark-colors approach is also possible).

In general, I save golds and yellows for featured classes of buildings (which vary based on who the map is for) and use pinks and purples and browns for less-important classes. But beyond that, the only standards I know of are within specific series or publishers.

A few examples of color schemes I've used are viewable here:

New Orleans
Minneapolis 1 or alternatively Minneapolis 2
Denver
Harvard Square, Cambridge MA

Hope this is of use.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#3
mika

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I'd say there is a difference between European / North American maps, sometimes a huge difference (just see some examples of city plans posted by Hans and compare them with natcase's stuff). It's not the correct / incorrect, better/worse approach, just a different style - use of colours, specific symbols and so on. You can spot local cartographic flavours when comparing maps from different European countries too. And that's what makes it even more interesting ;)
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#4
Drumul Taberei

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In high density urban environment, labeling the buildings on the maps is not a stupid idea.

Maybe in the US numbering on the streets are crystal clear, but in Europe things are a little bit different.
Example: in Bucharest, Romania, we have streets whit name changed for several times. Also, we have streets with the same number twice (!!!) on different places (ex: 25th Airplane St. is twice, on about 1km distance betwen them, but the rest of the buildings are normaly numbered). Also, we have many buildings without any evidence about their name/number or street number.

Labeling the buildings on complex urban maps are very important for many people, especially for taxi drivers and maintenance workers.
Ionut

Working on Drumul Taberei neighbourhood maps at Http://DrumulTaberei.WordPress.Com
(any critics and sugestions are welcome)

#5
Charles Syrett

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In general, European (including UK) street maps are larger scale than their North American counterparts, and they favour double line roads rather than the single lines in North America. Often, in Europe, street names will be letterspaced (kerned) -- something you almost never see in North America. These differences have been gradually disappearing over the last 25 years or so. In Canada, an immigrant from Germany started MapArt in the late 70s and introduced the European style for street maps, and now MapArt is the largest city map publisher in Canada. And of course there are the mapping engines (Google etc.) that are now popularizing the double-line look.

Charles Syrett
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I'd say there is a difference between European / North American maps, sometimes a huge difference (just see some examples of city plans posted by Hans and compare them with natcase's stuff). It's not the correct / incorrect, better/worse approach, just a different style - use of colours, specific symbols and so on. You can spot local cartographic flavours when comparing maps from different European countries too. And that's what makes it even more interesting ;)



#6
natcase

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I think it's also important to note that there are lots of different subtypes of urban maps. I grew up with maps of New York, Philadelphia and Washington that were selective about labeling and showing buildings. Bartholomew's old maps of London, Edinburgh etc. were similar. I don't think I saw a map showing every building in a city center until quite late, maybe high school (this would be the early 1980's).

And to this day there is a gradation in scale from street maps that show no building shapes, or maybe show big arenas and other free-standing buildings, through intermediate street maps that show built-up-ness, to detailed maps that show every building.

Most American street maps are smaller-scale than European equivalents because of the relative simplicity of the street system. There are exceptions: small-scale street mapping just doesn't work in Boston or the old city of Québec or any number of smaller cities with "irrational" street plans. Our street map of Cambridge, Massachusetts is 1:15,300 and we still have to use call out boxes to name little mews and alleys... but even here we use next-to-line labeling until we get the scale up to 1:8000 or larger.

The inline style of mapping did exist in North America well before Map Art. Hagstrom and Geogaphia in New York City both had (and Geographia still has) a standard style that uses in-line street labels, and not just for urban New York. I grew up in semi-rural Mercer County, New Jersey, and the Hagstrom maps of my youth were all in-line.

American cartographic styles until recently were fragmented when it came to local/urban mapping, because while Rand McNally, General Drafting and Gousha dominated road mapping (state maps) through oil company maps, local street maps were dominated by regional publishers: Hagstrom and Geographia in New York, Arrow in Boston, Patton and Franklin in Philadelphia, ADC in Washington, Hudson in Minneapolis... Many of the cartographers were self-taught or came out of drafting careers, and so styles and conventions were, er, all over the map.

All that said, the emergence of maps showing every building is quite new in America. City planners might have a drawing of city center at city hall, but in general published maps of city centers showed city blocks, pulling out specific buildings of note with tints or cross-hatching. So when maps did show every building, they were not too different from European counterparts (people could look at Michelin or Baedeker as models of drawing city centers.

What did not emerge was the habit on smaller-scale maps of generalizing built-up areas as polygons, those little grey shapes hugging the road in European road maps.

---
Drumul, sorry for the cross-cultural misunderstanding: "no-brainer" is slang for a choice so obvious, you shouldn't need to argue for it. It requires very little brain to see the benefits of that choice. I agree labeling buildings is so obviously good I don't see why there's an argument.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#7
Charles Syrett

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The inline style of mapping did exist in North America well before Map Art. Hagstrom and Geogaphia in New York City both had (and Geographia still has) a standard style that uses in-line street labels, and not just for urban New York. I grew up in semi-rural Mercer County, New Jersey, and the Hagstrom maps of my youth were all in-line.


Yes, I'm aware of those brands, as well as close-up downtown maps produced by the larger gas station map suppliers you mentioned. In Canada in the 60s and 70s there were lots of ad maps (usually black and white) of small towns that were sold in corner stores, that had double line roads. But they never had the richness of detail typical of European maps.

Charles Syrett
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#8
frax

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I'm sorry to be a nit-pick, but I don't think it is relevant to talk about "European style maps", because there is no unified one style. Europe is way too diverse for that, and there have been national mapping agencies and national business that have developed maps totally separate.
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#9
Charles Syrett

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You're right, of course -- there isn't one Canadian style either. All I can say is, having been raised in Canada, I was always excited (from childhood) to see maps that were made in Europe, whether they were from Holland or Spain or wherever, because they had such a different look and feel!

Charles Syrett
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I'm sorry to be a nit-pick, but I don't think it is relevant to talk about "European style maps", because there is no unified one style. Europe is way too diverse for that, and there have been national mapping agencies and national business that have developed maps totally separate.



#10
Hans van der Maarel

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Funny that you mention MapArt, I have their Toronto and Vancouver maps and think they're gorgeous (I also find them more useful than single-line maps). For smaller scale maps, I've used both AAA (single) and Michelin (double) maps, preferring Michelin for exactly the same reason.
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#11
Charles Syrett

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As I mentioned, MapArt was started in the late 70s by a cartographer who immigrated to Toronto from Germany. He scribed the first version of that Toronto map in his basement, and had the type set in Germany! My brother and I worked with him through the 80s, building up a stable of city map bases, and by the 90s he had hired his own staff, and they made the jump to FreeHand on Macs. He was always passionate about the look and feel of the maps, and would refer to single-line maps as "stick-maps". :rolleyes:

"MapArt" is now the name of his distributor. His original production company is now called Mapmobility. Because his double-line style maps gained in popularity so rapidly, the competing map companies had to remake all their map bases in a similar style! :)

Charles Syrett
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http://www.mapgraphics.com


Funny that you mention MapArt, I have their Toronto and Vancouver maps and think they're gorgeous (I also find them more useful than single-line maps). For smaller scale maps, I've used both AAA (single) and Michelin (double) maps, preferring Michelin for exactly the same reason.



#12
Jean-Louis

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I,ve always been a fan of MapArt.
Interesting post Nat.
About European vs American mapping styles. This reminded me that I used to hear a lot of people say that Maps were not valued in North America because there was a time when they were given out for free at gas stations. It was harder, -we used to say - to justify investing in better more artistic designs because the N.American public saw maps as strictly utilitarian and of little monetary worth. Europeans appreciated the variying qualiies of map designs but Americans were blind to it.. I havent heard (or spread) that story in quite a while though.
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#13
Jean-Louis

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You're right, of course -- there isn't one Canadian style either.


Yes there is! and particularly this year, it looks like this!
Merry Easter and happy new egg to all
Attached File  snowcanada.jpg   69.86KB   89 downloads
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#14
François Goulet

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Yes there is! and particularly this year, it looks like this!
Merry Easter and happy new egg to all


I think there's my house under that bump on the snow... somewhere on the lower right... ;)




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