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yet another california map

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#1
Esther Mandeno

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Hello Everyone,

I have been working on a map and thought it was at a reasonable point to post here and get some feed back.

Background: I started making this map just because, no real reason. And then, as the holidays started coming round, I'd thought I could do it up nicely, print it at home, and send it to my clients as a thank you for all their work. I do all my work in ArcMap 9.2 (upgrading to 9.3 soon).

I think I'm ready to print and wanted to get a little bit of feedback from all you great cartographers. Unfortunately, I can never export out a clear image that is also low in resolution, so the attached PDF file is quite pixelated. However, I don't think that would hinder a review. Suffice to know that the printed version will not be pixelated at all. I'd like comments on the general look of the map and any tips to make it more striking. However, like I said, I'd like to start printing soon (I'm late already), so I can't really do any major changes, at least for this verison.

Thanks so much for your time,

Attached Files


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Esther Mandeno
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. - Albert Einstein

#2
BioGeoMan

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Hi Esther,

Here are a few comments keeping in mind that you don't have time for major edits.

  • The labeling of the towns/cities seem to slant and overlap some of the city/town symbology. Did you automate label placement in GIS? If so, it wouldn't hurt to go over the map and see if there are any overlaps. And the slanting of the annotation throws me a bit, but may be fine for your purposes.
  • Many of the roads are not labeled. Should you show roads without labels?
  • I can't tell, but are the counties labeled? I think I see some annotation that is pixelated.
  • I think you forgot to delete a remnant north arrow in the top right corner of the map.
  • I don't think you need the decimal place on the meters scale.
  • I'm not diggin' the blue for below sea level, it makes me think there is water there.
  • I think your logo got messed up in the export to PDF.
  • You are missing the AZ/Mexico border.

Your overall layout, content, and color scheme are great!

Happy Holidays!

M.

Michael Scisco

BioGeoCreations
Albuquerque, NM

505-603-3636
biogeocreations.com


#3
Rob

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the raster output looks highly degraded. I'd try to fix that before printing.

#4
MapMedia

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Awesome, Rob - Looks real nice - and promising.

Will need to see higher res version - but a few thoughts for now:

- For a physiographic map the gray/green tone is a bit monotone - would like to see more classes so the transition from desert to mtn to high elev. desert to coastal rainforest are visible.
Yes, I think roads should be labeled. Also, I would go for a sans serif font for the whole thing - imho.

One aspect I associate with California is the coastal terrain, such as the Monterey Canyon, so it would be extra dulce to see bathymetry.

Chris

#5
Hans van der Maarel

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I'm not really liking the elevation colors. You're going from a green-blue below sea level via light green to dark green for medium altitudes, then back to a light green and finally white for higher peaks. So it looks like you have one color (or two that are really close together), representing two wildly different elevation ranges. You have to be careful with the sub-zero color, you don't want Death Valley to appear as a lake... In fact, you may want to try not giving any special treatment to the sub-zero areas at all.

Aside from that, the pixellation is really a big problem. I understand this is just for review, but I do hope the final product is of much higher resolution (if you want to show us that, you can host it online somewhere and just link to it, if you want I could even host it for you).
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#6
Ben H

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Nice map. I agree with Chris. There is a lot you could do with the shading. Tom Patterson has a great article on hypsometric shading that could give you some ideas. I don't know if you have access to photoshop, but some of the same effects can be achieved in ArcMap, depending on what data you have available.

Also for the bathymetry, the NGDS has excellent coverage for California. The create custom grid section is especially helpful.

Just one more thought...I like the physiographic province insets. It would be cool to see them in full on the main map.

#7
Esther Mandeno

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Hello Ben, Hans, Chris, Rob and Michael,

Thank you so much for taking the time to review that poor resolution version. FYI - I decided to hold off and print it out first thing in Jan and spend a couple of weeks to get this right. I've decided to get it professionally printed (rather than print them myself), so that means I have to get this right as I will probably order about 150 of 'em!

I have placed a low resolution (but better quality than the one I posted earlier) on my website. Here's the link:
http://www.digitalma..._california.jpg

The thing with the resolution is that I have no problem exporting a high resolution image, it trying to export the image at a resolution that is good enough to review while keeping the filesize below the 1MB limit - very hard for me to do. I guess I just don't know enough about images and exporting from ArcMap. When it comes time to print, believe me, I can make the resolution high enough for very high quality printing. It's the file size limitation that get's me!

Regardless, here are some of my issues as you all pointed out:
1) text placement - yes, some of the town labels overlap some towns that didn't end up getting labeled. I thought I would leave the symbols to show that there is a high density of towns, but since that is not the focus of the map, I'll just delete the town symbols that were not labeled. Will clean up southern calif quite a bit (wish is was that easy in real life).
2) text slant - yes, that was (and still is, apparently) a major problem. The slant stems from the fact that I rotated california by 8 (stinking) degrees. I had originally placed all the text labels horizontal on the page and then printed drafts for friends to review. The first thing they commented on was that the text was crooked. But it only appeared to be crooked as the entire map was rotated by 8 degrees (with lots of slanted county boundaries), so I then rotated all the text by 8 degrees and everyone here (a graphic artist, a hydrologist friend, the guy behind the counter at our local print shop, and my husband) thought that worked out much better. So I'm going to keep all the text "slanted".
3) to label or not label the roads? I initially didn't have any roads on the map (or towns for that matter) since I really just wanted a physiographic map but the folks that reviewed it said "put roads and towns and put as many as you can". So that's what I did. I didn't want to label all the roads because then it would get awfully cluttered. If you all think I should label each one (instead of just the major ones), let me know and I'll do it...some how...
4) will get rid of decimel places in the scales
5) sea level color, overal color ramp - yikes! I'm sorry you all don't like the color scheme because I went through 5 different color schemes and each of my reviewers liked this one the best because it was the simplest. What to do...I'll have to think about that one, particularly how to handle the below sea level places...
6) logo - yeah, I can't ever seem to export to PDF properly, it exported fine on the JPEG
7) AZ/MX border was there, just couldn't see it in the PDF, you can see it now on the JPEG and it prints out fine and clear
8) sans serif - I'm not sure what you mean, maybe I need to look up some font explanations?
9) bathymetry - yes, I wanted to add that but will probably forego that for this version and will add it in the next version (late next year or so).
10) physiogrpahic provinces on main map - yeah, I wanted to show those too on the main map but it starts to get awfully busy, but I'll try that again, maybe with a different color ramp it will come out better.

I'll play with the color ramp some more and see what I can do about more distinct colorations and adding the provinces and then I'll post again. Any and all comments welcomed!

Thanks again,
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Esther Mandeno
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. - Albert Einstein

#8
Hans van der Maarel

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1) text placement - yes, some of the town labels overlap some towns that didn't end up getting labeled. I thought I would leave the symbols to show that there is a high density of towns, but since that is not the focus of the map, I'll just delete the town symbols that were not labeled. Will clean up southern calif quite a bit (wish is was that easy in real life).


There's a lot of overlapping texts that could do with a cleanup too.

5) sea level color, overal color ramp - yikes! I'm sorry you all don't like the color scheme because I went through 5 different color schemes and each of my reviewers liked this one the best because it was the simplest. What to do...I'll have to think about that one, particularly how to handle the below sea level places...


Darker green for below sea level is pretty common, but that would make Death Valley look like a lush place... Your color scheme seems to be working out, but if you look at the legend, it almost looks like the colors are mirrored around the central swatch.

8) sans serif - I'm not sure what you mean, maybe I need to look up some font explanations?


A sans-serif font doesn't have the little 'cross bars' at the end of letters. Samples include Tahoma and Arial (though I'm personally not very fond of either, I prefer Frutiger and I'm also looking for a good excuse to try out DIN1451). Samples of serif fonts are Times and Garamond. Sans-serif fonts tend to be more legible at smaller sizes. You can use 2 different fonts (a serif and a sans-serif) to distinguish between different kinds of features. We've had a long discussion on fonts here before: Type Fonts
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#9
David Medeiros

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I like your muted elevation color ramp, but you do need to pick another color for sub-sea level elevations.

Knock-out road lines are nice.

You need to fix the type issues, lots of type crowing their symbols or unnecessarily crossing line work. A few pieces of type crossing out of the CA state border.

Type & symbol alignment is an issue, I see you labeled most of your work before rotating. Not sure what cartographic convention would be here, but to me it looks a bit strange to see most of your type level with the the West - East line and other type level with the page horizon. County labels stand out here as some are parallel to the page horizon and others are parallel to the co. line (excluding labels that were obviously worked to fit the space available). Reducing Co. label size might allow you to get more of the labels in the same alignment.

Lake water color and ocean water color do not match, not a big issue except at SF Bay where the eye wants to see continuity of color there since they connect.

I really like the use of small multiples for the "Physiographic Provinces". I think they would look even better with a very faint fill color echoing the same muted tan of the out of state areas.

The legend box is crossing the OR - NV border, move it down a bit.

Purely aesthetic opinion, but I would move the north arrow down to the empty dessert area below the legend box and move the title box over to center within the land fill instead of being centered on the map frame.

HTH, nice map overall!

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#10
Esther Mandeno

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Hello David and Hans,

Thanks again for your comments. I think I'm going to start over (yikes!). Because, yes, the rotated/non-rotated and overlapping labels are an issue and the color scheme needs a bit of work. I think I'll hand place all the labels carefully, rather than auto-label and then move 'em around. I'll post the new version soon (hopefully).

:)
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Esther Mandeno
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. - Albert Einstein

#11
David Medeiros

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Hello David and Hans,

Thanks again for your comments. I think I'm going to start over (yikes!). Because, yes, the rotated/non-rotated and overlapping labels are an issue and the color scheme needs a bit of work. I think I'll hand place all the labels carefully, rather than auto-label and then move 'em around. I'll post the new version soon (hopefully).

:)


Not a bad idea, not because your map isn't decent looking but because type can be a real pain and starting fresh will probably be easier. In fact I'd bet if you took a poll around here you'd find that type setting is really one of the hardest parts of making a map (it takes the most skill to get right anyway).

d

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#12
Esther Mandeno

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Hello All,

I thought I would post a draft revision of my map. Nothing fancy. My only question: does the color scheme work well? I went with one of the standard color ramps in ArcMap (slightly altered).

FYI - text to be added once I get the colors down.

Here's the link: http://www.digitalma...lifornia_v3.jpg

It should be attached too but I can never get that to work... <_<

Thanks!
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Esther Mandeno
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. - Albert Einstein

#13
BioGeoMan

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The colors represent well, however, I have never been fond of the preset ArcMap color ramps. This particular one is okay, but the highest elevation brown doesn't transition well...just my opinion.

I am sure you are aware that you can adjust the color ramps in ArcMap. I would consider making slight adjustments in the upper elevation values.

Thanks,
M.

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#14
Fran├žois Goulet

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The higher elevation didn't bother me. The 3-4000 ft may be a little too close from each other, but overall, personally, I like it!

#15
Esther Mandeno

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Thank Michael and Francois! I originally played around with the color ramps too much and ended up with a monotone green color ramp (which, of course, I liked!) that didn't come across very well. So I keep changing it and adding tones here and there and it just came out a mess. So I stepped back and thought I'd go with something standard.

I like it too as it is but I will play around with the highest elevation brown and the yellows just a bit more.

Now I have to add the text...

Thanks!
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Esther Mandeno
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. - Albert Einstein




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