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#1
P Riggs

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I noticed my University has just put up a new campus map made in 3D perspective. I thought it looked nice until I tried finding a route from my office to another building across campus and couldn't make out roads and sidewalks that are obscured behind buildings. Luckily I know enough about campus to find my way, but what about the unfamiliar visitors?

Also, notice how the street labels weren't put in with perspective. I thought I was going to fall off College Avenue!
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#2
Eric Wolf

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And which way is north?

CU-Boulder isn't much better. At least they recently redid it so north is "up":

http://colorado.edu/campusmap/

#3
BioGeoMan

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There is a small north arrow at the bottom left corner of the map. I agree that if you are trying to find your way around campus, this map is not useful....at all. If the creator would have made the map viewable from different perspectives, it would be great! Good thing there is a B&W schematic that you can download and print by clicking on the "Parking and Street Maps" link at the top of the page.

I think this is another example of creating a supposedly "interactive" map that looks purdy but provides very little utility while a printed map is significantly more useful.

My two cents...
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#4
P Riggs

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For a comparison, look at Arizona State University's campus map.
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#5
Matthew Hampton

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Give me a break. :P

Check out a REAL interactive campus map..., or better yet anything mapformation has made.


For a comparison, look at Arizona State University's campus map.


co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#6
natcase

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Give me a break. :P

Check out a REAL interactive campus map..., or better yet anything mapformation has made.


For a comparison, look at Arizona State University's campus map.


Umm, the Colorado State map was made by mapformation.
www.mapformation.com/portfolio/campus/csu3D.htm

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Matthew Hampton

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Interesting...

I wonder why CSU didn't use the same (zoomify) interface as mapformation. Although I like the mouseover info provided on the CSU map (plus the clickable index) it would be interesting to have a link to Streetview if you clicked on the redbox.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


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Jean-Louis

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I couldn't make out roads and sidewalks that are obscured behind buildings. Luckily I know enough about campus to find my way, but what about the unfamiliar visitors?


Well, that is a trade-off inherent in all 3-D perspective. The idea is that you rely more on the look of the objects or buildings to navigate. Often that is actually easier for unfamiliar visitors.
Jean-Louis Rheault
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#9
benbakelaar

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I noticed my University has just put up a new campus map made in 3D perspective. I thought it looked nice until I tried finding a route from my office to another building across campus and couldn't make out roads and sidewalks that are obscured behind buildings. Luckily I know enough about campus to find my way, but what about the unfamiliar visitors?

Also, notice how the street labels weren't put in with perspective. I thought I was going to fall off College Avenue!


I'm not sure I understand your criticism, I didn't really notice much that was obscured? And anyway it is a small campus and the map has only one zoom level, with each half being able to be zoomed in to. To me, being from a larger university (with a worse online map), this seems fairly appropriate given the size of the university, and fairly useful as well.

BTW, I'm sure Derek will chime in, but some mapformation staff are members of Cartotalk, and indeed they do a stellar job in their niche market of campus maps! However, they do have to respond to client demands, which would account for the differences people have noted. Some colleges are of course more interested in marketing and presentation than utility and substance :)

#10
Derek Tonn

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I noticed my University has just put up a new campus map made in 3D perspective. I thought it looked nice until I tried finding a route from my office to another building across campus and couldn't make out roads and sidewalks that are obscured behind buildings. Luckily I know enough about campus to find my way, but what about the unfamiliar visitors?

Also, notice how the street labels weren't put in with perspective. I thought I was going to fall off College Avenue!


This could be fun! :P

I loved the first reply to this post...."why isn't North on top?" Spoken like a traditional map-maker. Classic cartographer-speak. The only problem is, 99.99+ percent of the world's population doesn't think like a map-maker and roughly 50 percent of people don't navigate their world by latitude, longitude, direction (N/S/E/W) or distance. That information is secondary at-best to meaningless at-worst to over 3 billion people on the planet. We (map-makers) try our very-hardest to force those individuals to think like we do...because of our OBVIOUS superior knowledge of all-things maps and wayfinding. :rolleyes: However, try as "we" might, we have failed to succeed in beating that inferiority out of those people to date. People like my wife....my mother...several dozen of my friends....ME.... ;)

That said, our contacts at CSU asked for a bird's eye/oblique illustration of campus that accurately reflected the campus' architecture and grounds while depicting particular campus features in the foreground and selectively minimizing the amount of detail within the illustration as to avoid having things turn to mud via "too much information = no information." The problem with this particular online presentation is that the institution took an initial print piece designed for 17" wide (5100 pixel) output and placed it online essentially unchanged at around 800 pixels wide. The one layer of "zoom" helps a bit, but it still doesn't go nearly as far as it could/should. If it were up to me, I would have turned off a couple of those design layers and then gone down to 3X-4X zoom levels...but after we completed the initial illustration/design, we have not been involved in any print or electronic output with the institution.

One weakness of the current image (something outside of our control) is that we were asked to add-in those three insets which are each depicted from a different vantage point related to direction/perspective. Whenever we create insets, we strongly encourage that they are depicting properties from the same direction (and steepness, if possible) as the "main" map. That wasn't an option in this particular case...which I think hurts the final design related to usability just a bit (and/or adds a bit of unnecessary confusion related to orientation). More than one "North" indicator equals confusion. This is especially true (in my opinion) in the case of the inset at Lake and College.

Another thing I think would help that current image would be the introduction of a simple "area map" that shows the campus' location in its general area....giving more visual breadcrumbs as to its location in the community. With three insets as it was though, that wasn't an option we had available to us with the project. Every project, we have what we WANT to do and what we NEED to do. My/our job is to sync want and need as much as possible! However, I've yet to have a project where those two things were 100% in-sync.

I was curious though about the comment concerning street labels and perspective. How, for example, does applying perspective to that particular bit of text make said text more usable/legible? Why introduce an effect that will require the brain to work just a little bit harder to recognize and interpret that bit of information? I know "that's what all the cool kids are doing," LOL...but how exactly does applying perspective to that text improve its effectiveness?

No map design is perfect...and we certainly are nowhere near above criticism here at our firm (every map can always be better)! I personally get tired, however, of listening to at least a small group of cartographers look down their noses and talk about typography, color, design, usability, etc. when some of those same individuals haven't DRAWN a map in years (simply prettying-up data that they purchased or allowed a computer to plot on their behalf), and are using "brewers" to choose their colors and fonts in their designs. There is definitely a place (a prominent, dominant place) for that type of planemetric, GIS/GPS, "North is ALWAYS on top" cartography in our world! However, it gets very tiresome to periodically hear how there is little to no place for any "dissenting" or alternative opinions in the field of map-making...and if anyone has taken any coursework in user-centered design, they will understand that when it comes to mapping, having both planemetric and bird's eye/oblique illustrations of a campus is about the only way you can ensure that you are effectively serving a majority of your constituents.

My comments aren't directed at you, per se, Philip. Certainly nothing personal! This very issue though has been a sore-spot with me since NACIS in Madison...where I got to listen to a few "academics" behind me at a session say that bird's eye/oblique map illustrations are NOT maps! I must have missed the memo somewhere along the way that informed me that there was only ONE "right" way to make a map and to help guide people from Point A to Point B. I realize that opinion likely represents a vast minority of CartoTalk and NACIS participation. However, anything greater than 0% of participants harboring those egocentric views of our world is going to generate "War and Peace" responses from me most of the time.

Whew! That's a long reply. My record for word count here in CartoTalk is likely safe for a few more months... :D

Derek
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#11
benbakelaar

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Whew! That's a long reply. My record for word count here in CartoTalk is likely safe for a few more months... :D

Derek


Derek, have you considered collecting all your posts and publishing one of those "blog books" or whatever people call them. You could title it something like "Thoughts on Cartography and Design" by Derek Tonn :) Add in little maps, and you could turn it into a coffee table discussion book...

#12
P Riggs

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My comments aren't directed at you, per se, Philip. Certainly nothing personal! This very issue though has been a sore-spot with me since NACIS in Madison...where I got to listen to a few "academics" behind me at a session say that bird's eye/oblique map illustrations are NOT maps! I must have missed the memo somewhere along the way that informed me that there was only ONE "right" way to make a map and to help guide people from Point A to Point B. I realize that opinion likely represents a vast minority of CartoTalk and NACIS participation. However, anything greater than 0% of participants harboring those egocentric views of our world is going to generate "War and Peace" responses from me most of the time.


No personal offense meant in my OP, none taken from you!

I personally like perspectives other that north is up. And I love oblique perspectives! Erwin Raisz and Richard Eades Harrison are two of my favorite cartographers. I'll admit I don't work with campus maps and don't have any expertise in this area, and I understand about having to provide maps according to the client's wants rather than your opinion. It happens with nearly every map I create for research around here. At least I can discuss and suggest with people I work with. I doubt I could do your job.

You're right, there isn't one right way to make a map. But I still couldn't easily find my way across campus. Sounds like the design wasn't originally for online presentation and that may be the problem.

I was curious though about the comment concerning street labels and perspective. How, for example, does applying perspective to that particular bit of text make said text more usable/legible? Why introduce an effect that will require the brain to work just a little bit harder to recognize and interpret that bit of information? I know "that's what all the cool kids are doing," LOL...but how exactly does applying perspective to that text improve its effectiveness?


I have to stick by my original comment. The cool kids in this respect is Erwin Raisz. The way it is now may be more legible, but I find it visually disturbing.

As a friend used to say to me, "Opinions are like a**holes. Everyone has one and they all stink."
Philip Riggs
Decorative-Maps.com

#13
Derek Tonn

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Derek, have you considered collecting all your posts and publishing one of those "blog books" or whatever people call them. You could title it something like "Thoughts on Cartography and Design" by Derek Tonn :) Add in little maps, and you could turn it into a coffee table discussion book...


Nah. I'd like to have at least 1-2 friends left by the time I retire. That, and I'm sure it would put people to sleep after about 2-3 pages. Don't want to end up being the "Salman Rushdie" of the "Muslim" cartographic community...winding up dead and lying in a ditch somewhere...someday. That'd really hamper my disc golf game... :)
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#14
Derek Tonn

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I have to stick by my original comment. The cool kids in this respect is Erwin Raisz. The way it is now may be more legible, but I find it visually disturbing.


Yes, point taken. I am a mystery wrapped in an enigma with some of this stuff...as when it comes to building and landscape depictions, I am probably "fussy" and tend to lean towards art more heavily than most. That said, when it comes to the text placed in layers on top of said depictions, I tend to be very "K.I.S.S" and not try and get too cute with things...because I want it to be legible and as functional as it can be. "Fussy" and artsy-fartsy on the one hand, "just the facts, ma'am" on the other. My wife and our other designers are SAINTS for putting up with me sometimes, I swear!

That said, for me, a "map" is not an end...it is a means to an end. Wayfinding, usability and navigation is of paramount importance...not which color, font or gradient effects are being used. It is also of utmost importance to me that "the OTHER 50 percent of the planet" is being effectively served for a change...since there are billions of people who cannot navigate effectively using planemetric, "North on top" designs. The best of both worlds might be obliques from a South-to-North perspective...but too often on a college campus or in a metro downtown, that places all of the "ugly" or less-important buildings in the foreground...which can create a negative perception of said area for the people who are viewing the image.

I guarantee though that whatever maps/wayfinding preferences one subscribes to, they'll find about 1 in 2 people agree with them. Kind of like voting either Democrat or Republican in the U.S., I suppose. Kind of like how easy it will be to find 50% of people out there to agree with you that your comments including opinion related to that Arizona State University map is more "functional" at: http://www.frenchmus...p...p;tb=1&pb=1, while the other 50% of us only use those maps to navigate because that's the best ASU could do... ;)

All I ask is that people remember that their opinions are simply that: OPINIONS. Too-often though with cartographers (on these issues), I start hearing "right," "wrong," "good" and "bad," which alienates and angers people who don't think like "they" do....

Derek
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#15
Dennis McClendon

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I find it hard to believe that anyone in the cartographic community--or certainly anyone at NACIS--would seriously propose to define maps so narrowly that birds-eye views are excluded, or that they would use the words right, wrong, good, or bad. except as some sort of abstract philosophical exercise. So I would encourage you to take that chip off your shoulder.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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