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interactive atlas of the European regions

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#1
Totty

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Hi everyone,

a long time ago we did an interactive atlas of the European regions with adobe flash.
Now we were requested to develop some new features for this application.
We would really appreciate any (positive and negative) criticism we can get from you to make this client better.

Thanks a lot in advance!
Where in this small-thinking world can I find a longitude without a platitude? ;-)

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Hi Totty, and welcome to Cartotalk!

Some comments:

  • Overall it looks very nice, though the orange/blue color scheme of the interface sometimes clashes with the colors used in the maps. The generalisation is rather clunky, but I like it.
  • It'd be a good idea to mention the units in the boxes that pop up when you hover the mouse over a region. So instead of (1) 50 say 50 people per square kilometer
  • I can't figure out how to add a second level of information. The initial map comes up as a choropleth with proportional circles on top, but I can't figure out how to do that myself.
  • Instead of n/a say no data (unless you're absolutely sure there's nobody older than 60 living in Iceland...)
  • Looking at the NUTS 2 regions, the Belgian ones are all named in either Dutch or French except the one around Brussels, which is bi-lingual. It's a bi-lingual country (tri-lingual if you want to get really technical) so if you're going to do the Brussels one bi-lingual, you really should do the entire country that way (or wait until they split up on their own behalf...)
  • Monaco and San Marino are abbreviated.
  • You've got a big lake in Tunisia which actually isn't there. It's a depression, the Shatt al Gharsah, which lies below sea level.

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#3
frax

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Totty, could you maybe say more what you are trying to communicate with this map/service, and for whom?

From the title I expected it to present the crossborder European regions, I would word the title differently.

From a quick look, it seems to work nice!
Hugo Ahlenius
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#4
James Hines

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Why are coastlines a different colour then the shorelines of the lakes on the map?

Rivers & lake shorelines need to be toned down, way too strong for the eyes

Too much black & not enough cyan for the colour of the water bodies

National boundaries & coastlines should be separate colours

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#5
razornole

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Hello Totty,

I love to see thematic/statistical maps, and I can tell a lot of effort has gone into data crunching. Nice work.

I'm a bit confused with the pop-up box and what it all represents, however, I'm also guilty of not reading your web site for information. Maybe you explain it there, but I never read web sites cause I get too excited to move to the visuals. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I"m not sure that your graduated circles are necessary, they are used for point data and your data are areal. At your 1:1 scale Andorra could be considered point data, but you don't map it. I'm glad I'm not from a not applicable European country.

The most important aspect of thematic cartography is linking your symbology to your legend. You accomplish this by keeping your legend and symbols the same. Your circles are translucent on the map, but not on the legend. Furthermore, when you zoom in your graduated circles change scale on the map but not on the legend. Everything becomes completely irrelevant when that happens and I would fix that (make your legend dynamic like the map). Your country border are gray on the map, but black on the legend. I wouldn't worry about coastlines and political borders, it is more important to have them match your legend.

I don't think that the rivers and lakes need to be toned down, they need to be removed. That kind of info is not important when I am looking at statistics. I like the color of the ocean/seas, gray lends itself well to this type of mapping.

Hope this helps,
kru
"Ah, to see the world with the eyes of the gods is geography--to know cities and tribes, mountains and rivers, earth and sea, this is our gift."
Strabo 22AD

#6
Totty

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Hi to everybody and first of all: "Thanks for all your very helpfully remarks!"

I'll try to explain a few things and/or your questions:

It'd be a good idea to mention the units in the boxes that pop up when you hover the mouse over a region. So instead of (1) 50 say 50 people per square kilometer
That's right - we're discussing that at the moment, but it's not that easy to find a generic way to show the unit of a dataset without 'overenlarging' this little data view.

I can't figure out how to add a second level of information. The initial map comes up as a choropleth with proportional circles on top, but I can't figure out how to do that myself.
There is no way to do that right now. The frontend was designed just for visualisation of map, that were produced by a cartographer before.

Instead of n/a say no data (unless you're absolutely sure there's nobody older than 60 living in Iceland...)
I'll pass that to the project manager - I think you're right, that's mistakable.

Looking at the NUTS 2 regions, the Belgian ones are all named in either Dutch or French except the one around Brussels, which is bi-lingual. It's a bi-lingual country (tri-lingual if you want to get really technical) so if you're going to do the Brussels one bi-lingual, you really should do the entire country that way (or wait until they split up on their own behalf...)
I'll pass that as well. The problem is, that this is the data I just had to include in the application. Normally the whole frontend was designed multilingual - including the labels of the regions - I just didn't get them multilingual ;-)
Another prototype for the same customer was done in german, french and italian as you can see here. (Sorry, the starting page is just in german available.

Monaco and San Marino are abbreviated
You're right, I never mentioned that before - maybe just a mistake. I'll ask the project manager ...

You've got a big lake in Tunisia which actually isn't there. It's a depression, the Shatt al Gharsah, which lies below sea level.
Are you sure about that? It doesn't look like here.

Totty, could you maybe say more what you are trying to communicate with this map/service, and for whom?
This application was done for the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) of Switzerland to visualize just a few of the data they are getting from the european union (I think).

Why are coastlines a different colour then the shorelines of the lakes on the map? Rivers & lake shorelines need to be toned down, way too strong for the eyes. Too much black & not enough cyan for the colour of the water bodies. National boundaries & coastlines should be separate colours
They are absolute no coastlines! Just the borders of the regions are shown and (if you navigate to the NUTS2 level) you can see a layer including the NUTS0 borders.

I'm a bit confused with the pop-up box and what it all represents, however, I'm also guilty of not reading your web site for information. Maybe you explain it there, but I never read web sites cause I get too excited to move to the visuals. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
There was a very simple reason for doing this. We decide to use as much space on the clients display as possible, so we placed the application in a javascript popup.

I"m not sure that your graduated circles are necessary, they are used for point data and your data are areal. At your 1:1 scale Andorra could be considered point data, but you don't map it. I'm glad I'm not from a not applicable European country.
I don't think you're right. Symbols like these have to be used for the visualisation of absolute data. Furthermore (in most causes) it is absolutely wrong to show absolute data in choropleths!!! I attached a little picture to this post that shows the resulting error if you do that:
Attached File  absolut_relativ.png   33.54KB   55 downloads
It's german so the three texts are:
  • real allocation
  • visualisation for relative values
  • visualisation for absolute values

Furthermore, when you zoom in your graduated circles change scale on the map but not on the legend
The circles change scale to fit to the circles in the legend independently from the zoom level!

Your country border are gray on the map, but black on the legend
No, they aren't!

I hope I could answer all questions ...
Where in this small-thinking world can I find a longitude without a platitude? ;-)

#7
Hans van der Maarel

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You've got a big lake in Tunisia which actually isn't there. It's a depression, the Shatt al Gharsah, which lies below sea level.
Are you sure about that? It doesn't look like here.


Pretty sure... If you zoom further in, you'll see it's sand, maybe salt, but definately not something you can swim in.

same spot, zoomed in
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#8
Totty

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hmmmm, I'll post that to the project manager as well.
At that time I just got that geometry like you can watch it in the application, but I think you're right!

So, thanks again.
Where in this small-thinking world can I find a longitude without a platitude? ;-)

#9
razornole

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I"m not sure that your graduated circles are necessary, they are used for point data and your data are areal. At your 1:1 scale Andorra could be considered point data, but you don't map it. I'm glad I'm not from a not applicable European country.
I don't think you're right. Symbols like these have to be used for the visualisation of absolute data. Furthermore (in most causes) it is absolutely wrong to show absolute data in choropleths!!! I attached a little picture to this post that shows the resulting error if you do that:
Reduced 82%
Attached Image
1079 x 496 (33.54K)

It's german so the three texts are:

* real allocation
* visualisation for relative values
* visualisation for absolute values



Furthermore, when you zoom in your graduated circles change scale on the map but not on the legend
The circles change scale to fit to the circles in the legend independently from the zoom level!

Your country border are gray on the map, but black on the legend
No, they aren't!


Hello Totty,

I agree, I would never map raw data unless I paid to do it, and then I would just make sure my name wasn't associated with the map. Your graduated circles are raw data with an idiographic range grade. Of course France and Germany are going to have a larger circle then Luxembourg. I just feel they are unnecessary, at least on the map subjects that I looked at, but this is your project and this may be what the client wants.

I've tried ( I don't know if I was successful)to insert a screen-shot of your map when zoomed in to show you what I was referring to when I said the circles sizes don't match the legend. If I was successful, then take a look at Croatia which I placed right next to the legend, you'll see the sizes don't match. Furthermore, those boundary lines look gray to me on the map and black on the legend, but that could just be my eyes.

kru

Attached Files


"Ah, to see the world with the eyes of the gods is geography--to know cities and tribes, mountains and rivers, earth and sea, this is our gift."
Strabo 22AD

#10
Totty

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Hi razornole,

I'm a little bit confused now. I can't see what's your problem with the circle sizes. In your attached pdf I can see the circle symbol for croatia with a value of 4.44 million residents. So the size of the symbol is somewhere inbetween the sizes of the 'comparing circles' in the legende for the values of 1 and 10 million residents.
What's wrong with that? Sorry, I can't get the point... Maybe I'm blind? ;-)
Where in this small-thinking world can I find a longitude without a platitude? ;-)

#11
razornole

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Hello Totty,

I understand now. I thought that you had a total of 5 circle sizes that were shown on your legend. I never realized that every country had its own specific size. I misunderstood your legend. That is the first time that I ever encountered that technique.
"Ah, to see the world with the eyes of the gods is geography--to know cities and tribes, mountains and rivers, earth and sea, this is our gift."
Strabo 22AD

#12
Totty

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So finally we could clear up to misunderstanding ... ;)
Where in this small-thinking world can I find a longitude without a platitude? ;-)




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