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#1
David25

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Hello,

This is a map that I produced of North Dakota. It was only for fun and not for a work project. The 'intended audience' in mind is visitors to ND but I was thinking of it to be used as a general reference road map too.
It was all done using ArcView 9.2.

I would very much appreciate ANY comments, critical especially. I am relatively new to cartography and GIS and want to increase my learning through map making if possible.

Some things to note perhaps:

Are the labels placed correctly?
I know the DEM is not necessary but does it look good as a background? I tried hillshade too but think this looks better.
Does the legend read well?
Do the colours and use of halos get my messages across?
I tried the font for the first time....does it work?

Thanks everyone!

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#2
Esther Mandeno

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Hello David,

Thank you for sharing your map.

Here are my thoughts:
Upon opening the file, the first thing that I thought was that it was very BROWN. I'm not sure the background really adds that much. You could use a brownish hillshade and give it a transparency of like 80% or something so that it's very subtle while still conveying the sense of elevation (and so that you don't end up with blankets of white).

I think the font you used for the cities is fun but I would get rid of the halos.

Let's see, I would probably also think of a different way to position the map title. As it is, you have North Dakota and then Canada right underneath it. Did North Dakota leave the union? I don't blame 'em if they have! ;)

That's my two cents worth. Hope it helps!
------
Esther Mandeno
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. - Albert Einstein

#3
Gushue

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David,

I agree with the fonts suggestion. I would actually switch to a more formal font (sans serif, perhaps?). Often we try to over design our products rather than provide the direct message between author and viewer, which is the ultimate goal of good cartographic products (I suggest you look up Edward Tufte website for a good forum discussing design issues.

Also, given that you want to use this map as a guide I would include a scale utilizing miles as well as kilometers. Unfortunately not everyone adopts the power of the metric system.

I really believe is a good attempt, but Esther is right you should include a hillshade draped underneath your DEM. It may also be beneficial of clipping a DEM for just North Dakota; this way, you could only have North Dakota with elevation data and MT and MN are a bit grayed out.

Keep at it and I am sure you will be amazed with the quality of the product

--Steve

#4
David25

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Hi,

Thanks for your comments! I have attempted to make the changes you said although I'm still struggling with the 'Canada' part near the title. Do the other changes make more sense now?

Also, what was wrong with the halos? Did they just look out of place? I agree that now the DEM has been given a transparency that they are not needed.

All feedback is appreciated.

Dave.

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#5
Jean-Louis

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I'm still struggling with the 'Canada' part near the title.
Dave.


Here is a suggestion so that the map does not look like it says North Dakota ,Canada
Give Canada a different and very light desaturated shade. Space out the Canada letters wide in a neutral grey font and make them very transparent. You may want to do the same with the bordering states. This will make the shape of the state stand out.

I agree with the others about the font. Its a font one would see on a goofy cartoon map and it takes away from the credibility of your map.
Try Dom Casual. it had a hand-drawn feel to it but does not look like it belongs on an elementary school chalkboard.
Jean-Louis Rheault
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#6
David25

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Thanks everyone for the comments. I will try your suggestions and repost when they are done. I understand about the font....perhaps it isn't too professional. It just looked fun!

Thanks,

Dave.

#7
David25

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Hi,

Does this map work a bit better? I would have tried the font you suggested but I don't have it on ArcView 9.2 so I went with Futura Bk for something different.

Is the CANADA title working too now?

Also, that is a great comment about the scale bars. Studying in Canada I got so used to being told that always put km on because our maps were focused at a Canadian audience. On Cartotalk I should be putting miles on. Being a Brit I was forever inclined to use miles anyway until I got into the habit of not doing so anymore!

Dave.

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#8
Jean-Louis

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Yes much better Dave,
The whole presentation now looks more inviting and credible.
The only comment would be to get rid of the white outlines around 'Canada' and the border states.
The way it is now, the names jump out at you and compete with your main focus as opposed to providing support.

Once your map design is nice and balanced then you can introduce a creative and fun element, by (say) playing around with the title.
Jean-Louis Rheault
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#9
Hans van der Maarel

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Does this map work a bit better? I would have tried the font you suggested but I don't have it on ArcView 9.2 so I went with Futura Bk for something different.


I'm not a fan of Futura on maps, various letter shapes (mainly lowercase a and o) tend to look alike on small point sizes.

Also re. text, I think the distance between your city point and the corresponding labels is a bit too much. That could be tightened up.

Is there a reason why you're rotating the I-94 labels in Montana and Minnesota, but not US-52 (which is at an angle too)?
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#10
Robert2009

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This is a nice map. Maybe you could add a "maple" leaf of a symbol beneath the Big "C" as Canada ?

Robert

#11
David25

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Ok,

I have made most the changes that were mentioned. All text (rivers, title) etc is now Tahoma. It works for me but if there is a specific someone thinks would work much better please say and I'll try it. Actually, the text inside the symbols for 'I-94' and 'I-29' is something called Book Antiqua font. Otherwise, all Tahoma now.

I have taken the white outline away from the states/Canada.
I have righted the highway symbols to be horizontal.
I have tightened up the text to the city symbols.

I have added, and the end of the interstates and on the Canadian border, some distances to places. Does this work for people? I'm not sure of it myself and would like some opinions.

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#12
DaveB

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I'm not a fan of red text on colored backgrounds, but maybe that's just me.

Instead of putting the T. Roosevelt NP in the legend why not just label it on the map and drop it from the legend?

I would also consider dropping the legend for the elevation.

I don't think you need the north arrow either, especially when north isn't in the same direction across the whole map.

And a minor point - consider putting commas in the numbers in the legend.
Dave Barnes
Esri
Product Engineer
Map Geek

#13
David25

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I'm not a fan of red text on colored backgrounds, but maybe that's just me.

Instead of putting the T. Roosevelt NP in the legend why not just label it on the map and drop it from the legend?

I would also consider dropping the legend for the elevation.

I don't think you need the north arrow either, especially when north isn't in the same direction across the whole map.

And a minor point - consider putting commas in the numbers in the legend.


Thanks,

I've been waiting for someone to point out the red text actually. I'll change it. The commas are a good idea too and actually I normally put them in.....not sure why I didn't this time.

I checked the grid lines too to see whether a north arrow is valid and you are right, it's not north all the way across the state. I usually check that too but figured it would be as I'm only concentrating on a small area.......shows I was wrong though!

I'll make the changes and re-post.

Thanks again.

#14
David25

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The changes have been made. I was almost inclined to stay with the red. I'm of the mindset that although perhaps not 'professional' enough it's the one I favoured to make the names stand out the most. That was Ponsietta Red so now I've dumbed it down to Dark Umber. Still red, but perhaps it looks better?

Also, as I'm new to all this, is there a rule which says what colour text should be used for forests etc? I have gone with a green for the National Park - should this always be done or would black have been ok?

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#15
Dennis McClendon

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  • The highway shields are way too big.
  • The interstate shields should not contain the I- prefix (that information comes from the type of shield).
  • It's empty enough that you could just put the population under each town name and dispense with that part of the legend.
  • Label the Lewis & Clark route along its path and you can lose the legend altogether. That would give you a little breathing room for C A N A D A .
  • Add the word River to the Missouri, to match the other rivers.
  • Add elevation in feet to White Butte.
  • The southernmost highway is unlabeled, as are the ones in Minnesota.
  • If this is for a US audience, spell it geographic center rather than geographical centre.
  • I'm not a fan of this typeface, but it should certainly never be letterspaced as U&lc.

Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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