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#1
Dennis McClendon

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This is an oddity for me: a Chicago dentist, who's apparently a fan of Salman Rushdie books, walked in off the street and asked me if I could do a wall-sized map of Kashmir for him. Underestimating the difficulty, as usual, I happily agreed. Several weeks later, thanks to the assistance of Steve Spindler, here's the result. It's a 500KB PDF, but that degrades the relief imagery quite a lot. A much better 1.5MB version can be downloaded from my website.

This is 36 x 42 inches, so the labels and line weight will look way too small on your monitor unless you zoom in to about 150%.

I'm never shy about offering criticism in this forum, so have at it, folks!

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Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#2
MapMedia

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The much anticipated map of Kashmir - I was hoping you would post it.

First, this is a beautiful map - well done.

The first thing I see is that the relief is reversed - mountain pass, roads, rivers appear to lay on ridges. I like very much the color ramp and addition of glaciers - gives a very authentic look and use of the map. Though the relief looks a bit jaggedy, I assume this was due to raster downsampling for desired small PDF file size.

I like the diacritical names and the mountain passes. I also appreciate the non-use of casings over the relief - that would be too much. Am sure it will look excellent when printed (for that size, my printed charges $300, laminated).

If this map has an atlas use it is great as is, you have included the salient features of the topography and human environment. Additional would be provinces and capitals - but that moves the map into geopolitical.

For such a large map, would be good to place country names along border here and there.

Lastly, would be good to have highway markers for those lonely purple and blue lines.

Thanks for sharing this Dennis.

#3
sitesatlas

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Very nice, Dennis. I especially like the colors you used for the relief and the roads. The labels are very hard to read in the mountainous area, so I do think subtle halos or an opacity mask are needed there.

Just one minor, kind of nerdy point: you've used two different kinds of border styles, but I think at least one more border type should be included. The southern border of Kashmir is not an international border because India controls both sides of it. It isn't a line of control either, so perhaps a dashed line could show that it is an internal boundary that also delimits the area claimed by Pakistan. Most of the western border (except for the area around Jammu) and the border that extends east of the Karakoram Pass is the same type of border. The border that extends SE from the Karakoram Pass should be shown as a line of control. It is terribly confusing, but here are some maps that show the situation better than I can explain it.
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#4
frax

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It looks very good, congratulations! I have to say that I find it hard to orient myself at first though.

Have you tried to experiment and make the shadows a tad less dark, to make the type easier to read? And the fuzziness in the top right corner seems a bit odd.

I'd be curious what data you went with for this!
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#5
DaveB

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Overall it looks great! I like the color ramp colors.

Criticisms:
1. Many of the labels are difficult to read, even at 100% zoom with the pdf from your site. Better at 150% as you suggested. Of course it may be fine on paper.
2. The hillshade (made from a dem?) looks like it has some artifacts in some areas, for example in the area where the label for China sits and towards the lower right around the town/city of Gushal.
I don't think I'm seeing any inversion, but it's a very detailed hillshade. Maybe too busy for this scale. For both of these points it might help to do some processing, for example - as described by Tom Patterson in his websites. :)
3. minor point - the glaciers are a nice touch, but the flat white polygons don't sit on the terrain very well in my opinion. It's a fine balance between making them stark enough to stand out, but maybe adding some shading or something so they fit into the landscape. Maybe something as simple as giving them just a bit of pseudo-3D shading (if that makes sense)?
4. just a suggestion - The title says "Kashmir" in big bold letters, but Kashmir doesn't really "pop" when I look at the map. Maybe do something to de-emphasize the areas outside Kashmir, like a mask that's just a little opaque?
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#6
Esther Mandeno

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This is an oddity for me: a Chicago dentist, who's apparently a fan of Salman Rushdie books, walked in off the street and asked me if I could do a wall-sized map of Kashmir for him. Underestimating the difficulty, as usual, I happily agreed. Several weeks later, thanks to the assistance of Steve Spindler, here's the result. It's a 500KB PDF, but that degrades the relief imagery quite a lot. A much better 1.5MB version can be downloaded from my website.

This is 36 x 42 inches, so the labels and line weight will look way too small on your monitor unless you zoom in to about 150%.

I'm never shy about offering criticism in this forum, so have at it, folks!


Hello Dennis,

Thanks for sharing. Ditto what everyone else said. Not sure I have much to add, other than I don't like the font for the streams. And, I did find the dem inverted, but again, it might be a scale thing.

Otherwise, I really liked the color choices, very pleasing.

Oh, and, yeah, it would be nice to make the area pop a little with a shaded mask around it, or something like that.

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

#7
Charles Syrett

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Nice project -- I wish a dentist would walk into my office with a request like this! :rolleyes:

The relief does need some work though. Some suggestions:

1. It looks inverted because of the sun angle. My guess is you were avoiding the standard NW because so many of the mountain ranges run parallel to that direction. In situations like this I usually go with a NNW or WNW angle -- whatever is "different" enough to optimize the visualization of most of the forms. You can also try two different angles on two different layers in Photoshop and merge them.

2. Rather than apply halos to the text (I personally avoid them like the plague) as some have suggested, I would use a different colour for the shaded relief itself. Try a warm grey or even a brown (though that may be tricky with your hypsometric colour ramp). The main thing is to make the shading a lot lighter, so that you don't have solid black shadows.

3. Try making the glaciers transparent so that the relief is visible through them.

My experience it that it often takes a lot of R&D time (=non-billable!) to get this kind of stuff so that it really works, because each project has its own challenges. But then again, it isn't really "work" -- right? B)

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com


This is an oddity for me: a Chicago dentist, who's apparently a fan of Salman Rushdie books, walked in off the street and asked me if I could do a wall-sized map of Kashmir for him. Underestimating the difficulty, as usual, I happily agreed. Several weeks later, thanks to the assistance of Steve Spindler, here's the result. It's a 500KB PDF, but that degrades the relief imagery quite a lot. A much better 1.5MB version can be downloaded from my website.

This is 36 x 42 inches, so the labels and line weight will look way too small on your monitor unless you zoom in to about 150%.

I'm never shy about offering criticism in this forum, so have at it, folks!



#8
Michael Karpovage

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Dennis, really nice looking map. Alot of work! I would concur with the others about the type being very tough to read in the mountains. I like the detail of the relief alot but the glaciers look like they don't fit. There's no depth to them like the other detail work. The suggestion to make them transparent could help.. Can you tell me what software program you used to create all that fine detail? It almost looks like Photoshop. And where did you get your reference material from in order to draw that detail accurately? I'm about to embark on a similar map (with smaller mountains) and wanted to find a good source for reference.

Thank you,

Michael

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#9
Dennis McClendon

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Thanks for all the comments. The terrain data is SRTM, but my version of ArcGIS wouldn't deal with it, and I couldn't find any combination of software that I had, or could easily get, that would get me all the way from data in four tiles to a merged and projected raster file, so I had to ask Steve for help. I think he basically went with Manifold's defaults, but I did try to lighten it in Photoshop. I will work a little more there, but this map is sort of 90 percent pretty terrain and 10 per cent labels, so I probably won't let them dominate the finished product.

Highway markers would be nice, but I'm just not confident enough that I have the current Pakistani road network shown properly to go ahead and label them. I sort of cobbled a lot of the cultural information together from TPC/ONC charts (some 25 years old) and Google Maps.

As for outlining Kashmir, I felt that it was best to think of it as a region without precise borders, rather than get hung up on the traditional borders of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. I will ponder the question of the international borders, but I went with the approach used on UN maps of the area.

I will probably change glaciers to be a transparent effect, but that may double my file size, so I'll have to see if my computer can handle it. This is the first time I've put the relief behind the other features in InDesign rather than in FreeHand directly, but such a large file crashed FreeHand and InDesign is wonderfully robust in exporting PDFs. It worked quite well, but was a little nerve-wracking having to register the terrain again after spending a couple of weeks drawing rivers and roads by hand so they fit in the valleys.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#10
Boundary Maven

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It's beautiful. The only thing I would add to everyone else's comments is that it needs a legend.

#11
Dennis McClendon

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Hmmm. Besides a scale, what would you put in the legend?

I always think of a legend as a gesture of defeat, used only when you can't think of symbolization that will be understood without one.

And apparently FreeHand's transparency effect doesn't survive into InDesign, so I may be out of luck on the glaciers.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#12
DaveB

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How about an embossed effect on the glacier polygons, so they don't look so flat?

And for focusing a little more on Kashmir, maybe a subtle soft-edged "spotlight" effect? It's just that currently there is nothing that draws my eye to Kashmir, nothing that keeps me from just wandering all over the map. If that's what you/your client want that's fine.

I don't think it really needs a legend, but I didn't notice anything indicating scale or direction. Maybe not important, especially direction, since the dentist probably knows which way is north. :lol: Maybe the dentist has an idea of scale for the area, too. Always consider the audience, right?
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#13
Charles Syrett

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I really do feel that the sun angle needs to be changed on the relief. If Steve is using Manifold, the sun angle should be an azimuth of 315 degrees, or close to it.

Glaciers: I never would have thought to try a vector transparency. Why not just export the vector glaciers out of FreeHand as eps, then lay them over the relief in Photoshop as a new layer, and set your transparency there? The increase in size in the resulting tiff should be negligible. Then you can go back to the vector glaciers and eliminate them (or perhaps retain a fine stroke to help with their definition, because on the tiff they will appear much lighter).

Charles Syrett
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#14
Agnar Renolen

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Nice map.

However, the labels are not very readable in the mountainous regions. There is way to much black "ink" in the shade area. Try to lighten it up to make the labels more visible.

#15
clickinaway

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Had you given thought to including a location map? It may prove useful for re-emphasizing the uniqueness of the the geo-political nature/situation of Kashmir without interfering with the actual geography you're trying to portray in the main map itself. The location map could then have the capitol areas that another person suggested.




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