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Strait of Hormuz

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#1
woneil

woneil

    Will O'Neil

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The Strait of Hormuz, mapped for a letter to the editor of International Security, critiquing an article they ran regarding the risks that the Iranians might close the strait by military action. (I am somewhat more skeptical than the article's author about this.)
Attached File  Str_of_Hormuz___sm.jpg   405.88KB   244 downloads
The journal doesn't do color so my options are limited. Emphasis needs to be on maritime features affecting mining and missiles, but topography also has a role. All of the places named are mentioned in the text of her article or my reply. Very much a "just the facts" map, but I've tried to make it easy and attractive to absorb the information.

Made in Manifold 8.0, with final compositing, labeling and finishing in Photoshop CS3. Depth contours from SRTM30 PLUS, topo from SRTM3 (CGIAR version 4).

Anyone have better or more appropriate open-source datasets to recommend? Any suggestions for clarity or ease of reading? I've found a lot of value in the comments I've received on my other maps.

Amazingly, the original article didn't have a map at all. You would think that if the author couldn't provide one, a serious journal would commission one.
Will O'Neil
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http://analysis.williamdoneil.com/w.d.oneil@pobox.com

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Hmmm...

I have to admit it's been a very long time ago since I last attempted a map that conveys this much information all in greyscale, but I do appreciate the fact that it's difficult.

  • Space out the word "IRAN" and curve it a bit
  • The border of the northern section of Oman is hard to see
  • Do you really need the hillshade?
  • Do you really need the depth information? I'm having a very hard time with the patterns. Have you tried various shades of grey to represent this? If you really want to stick to patterns, I'd suggest inverting the order. I think that might work a bit better. Dark = deep and the cross-hatches are visually the heaviest of the three.
  • Maybe add some more cities? Doha, Abu Dhabi, Jebel Ali, Dubai are all important port cities and, if I'm not mistaken, often visited by US and allied navies.

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#3
BioGeoMan

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Yes, B&W maps are a great way to force cartographers to make tougher decisions. A few comments:

  • Why do you use the Is. abbreviation on Tunb Island, but not the rest?
  • I agree with Hans, if you keep the hatching for water depth, invert the symbology. But again, I think shades of gray lighter than the terrestrial portions of the map to symbolize water depth may be the way to go.
  • Have you thought of processing and simplifying the hillshade? That level of detail is a bit much...I think.
  • If the hillshade can be deleted, you may want to represent the land areas with black (or near black) and use lighter shades of gray for the water depths.
  • Consider different font for cities and topographical features.
  • I think you could get away with spelling out "Strait".

Thanks for the post.
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#4
woneil

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    Will O'Neil

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Thanks very much for the thoughtful comments and suggestions.

The depth information is critical to what I'm trying to do, and specifically the 25m (minimum depth for 200 thousand dwt tankers) and 60m (minimum depth for submerged operation of smaller subs) areas. While I did have what seemed like a good logical reason for the order of bathy hatching I suspect that the visual argument is really stronger. I'll try it.

The reason for hatching rather than gray shades is that I'm not sure shades would come across well due to limitations of the journal's printing and paper stock. Hopefully I'll have a chance to consult with the editor on this.

The hillshading is an effort to show the very stark difference in the topography between the Iranian and Arab sides, which also plays a role in the argument. Other suggestions for this?

I'm unsure about whether to add more cities or not. Bandar is there because the article author mentions it. Others don't play a role in the article or my letter but their inculusion would make a better map qua map. I'll try it and see if it looks crowded and distracting.

In nautical usage "I." means island (singular) while "Is." is used for islands (plural). The Tunbs are a group of islands (islets).
Will O'Neil
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http://analysis.williamdoneil.com/w.d.oneil@pobox.com

#5
woneil

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    Will O'Neil

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The article has now been published (""Costs and Difficulties of Blocking the Strait of Hormuz," International Security 33, No. 3 (Winter 2008/2009): 190-5). This is the final version of the map:
Attached File  Hormuz_3_300dpi.jpg   847.08KB   72 downloads
It incorporates some changes the publication wanted, not altogether to the good as I see it.

I've posted a brief summary at http://www.analysis....t_a_Concern.htm . Freed of the constraints of the journal I also made a better (in my view) map to post with it, at http://www.analysis.....com/Hormuz.jpg .

Layers made in Manifold 8, using SRTM 90m for elevations and SRTM30 PLUS for bathymetry. Compositing, adjustment, and titling in Photoshop CS3.
Will O'Neil
Author and amateur cartographer

http://analysis.williamdoneil.com/w.d.oneil@pobox.com




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