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#1
frax

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I have this interesting presentational problem, that I will face sooner or later. We, in the UN Environment Programme, are preparing a publication for the international year of deserts (2006) and I just performed some area analyses.

But how do I present global maps which only cover patches of the world?

I have a few ideas, but I am sure you have more!

Ideas: move up australia a bit in the indian ocean, narrow down the Atlantic. Projection? Maybe miller (plate carre would be fairly ok, since it is mostly around the equator, but I hate when things gets distorted too much). Maybe look into some other equal area projection that doesn't distort the shape like winkel-III/robinson. All the non-desert area is not totally irrelevant, since it is also useful to communicate how much area is not desert.

Two examples:
Attached File  landcover.jpg   49.87KB   97 downloads
a quick and dirty arcview screenshot of the area I am working on. the area of interest is the "deserts and xeric shrublands" ecoregion, according to the WWF definition.

Attached File  mountains.jpg   12.84KB   103 downloads
and a similar example (from a UNEP mountains report, cartography by my friends at UNEP-WCMC). That report did some GIS magic to define mountain areas (grey and colored in this map).
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#2
EcoGraphic

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Appeal factor:
I think the second one is more appealing as it is a more natural view of the earth, as you might see it if you were flying around it. The first one, while it fits everything on the page, is a bit boring. There is no interesting edge to the graphic creating any sort of figure-ground.

Data Comparison:
One thing you should consider however is whether or not you will be creating other maps which show other ecoregions. If it is intended that the viewer read between the maps in order to process the information presented, then the first example might be more appropriate. If for example you had a map for deserts, one for forests, another for wetlands, and they were going to be displayed on the same page, then it would be easier for the viewer to scan multiple maps and process the information if it were presented in the first format. (obviously done in Illustrator however)

I always try to think about eye movement and how people navigate through information when I am trying to choose between different layout options. Hope this helps.

Gillian
Gillian Auld
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#3
woneil

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    Will O'Neil

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Gee, this might actually be something I've been seeking for a long time -- a genuine application for the Briesemeister projection. It gets the continents clustered toward the center (and the oceans can actually be trimmed at the edges is space is really tight), is visually interesting without being weird, and is equal-area (which I see as desirable so that the reader gets an accurate picture of the actual coverage of deserts relative to total land area).

Will O'Neil

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

#4
frax

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Gill, thanks for the comments, please note that the first arcview screenshot is nothing intended for presentation, just a quick view of the data. I will not use that projection (plate carre) and those colors. And, no, I there will be no comparisons.

Will, what would be the advantanges of Briesemeister in this case... ?

Thanks anyways! :)
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#5
DaveB

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(obviously done in Illustrator however)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Why obviously? :)

(speaking for myself, not for ESRI - nice maps can be made in many applications, including, but not limited to, Illustrator, FreeHand, Corel, Photoshop, and yes, even ArcMap and ArcView 3.x) :D
Dave Barnes
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#6
frax

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sure dave, actually I wouldn't be suprised if the 2nd map in my example was prepared in ArcMap or in ArcInfo workstation (if I know my friends in Cambridge correctly).

Gill, one more thing -- I didn't intend these two examples as being presenting two different approaches, they are basically the same approach (but different information). Care to elaborate on your "data comparison [...] if it were presented in the first format", are you saying that plate carre projection (aka "geographic/unprojected") is easier for comparisons rather than Robinson?... ?
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#7
EcoGraphic

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Why obviously?  :)

(speaking for myself, not for ESRI - nice maps can be made in many applications, including, but not limited to, Illustrator, FreeHand, Corel, Photoshop, and yes, even ArcMap and ArcView 3.x)  :D

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Okay, now you are getting picky......but since you asked..............it's all about the quality of your line work, isn't it. Obviously Freehand can do the same thing, I am sorry but I am not a Corel Draw fan...........I find it about as well designed as AutoCAD.......enough said...........I think that GIS is great but you still need to bring it into Illustrator or whatever your choice of vector graphics software is........to soften the final output and build in some appeal factor............Illustrator provides design freedom packaged within a designer friendly interface......... Obviously Photoshop is the tool of choice if you need to push pixels (Arcview 3.x - are you kidding me???) :)


Gill, one more thing -- I didn't intend these two examples as being presenting two different approaches, they are basically the same approach (but different information). Care to elaborate on your "data comparison [...] if it were presented in the first format", are you saying that plate carre projection (aka "geographic/unprojected") is easier for comparisons rather than Robinson?... ?


Frax,

I always think of the design of any illustration this way: anything you choose to add into your illustration, including perspective, shaded relief,colour,hatching, grayscale,linework,line symbology,icons,symbols,fonts,font weights,decorative elements,borders,the horizon,other planets, etc. just adds more information for the viewer to process. At the end of the day, what are you trying to get the viewer to do with the information you have presented to them? If you intend them to compare data between different maps, and show for example the extent of desertification in the world, compared with the extent of forests, you should probably dispense with extra fancy perspective projections and focus on the differing patterns that the deserts and forests create. A flatter 'unprojected' representation of the data would allow you to convey the information in the simplest format possible in that instance. Simply put, it just has fewer elements in it for your brain to process or read and you can instead focus on the spatial patterns created by the element in question (ie. deserts).

If however you were trying to show the exact location of a desert, or that it occurs in certain geographic locations pertaining to certain types of topography, and your intent were that the reader focus on the map for an extended period of time and really absorb what is going on around these desert landscapes, then you would have to design your illustration a different way wouldn't you? You would probably want to include more shaded relief so that the person would understand that the desert in question is west of a well-known mountain range for example. In North America most people have a good idea of where the Rockies are, so it is easy to undertand where the desert is located if it is shown in relation to the Rockies. The Rockies provide the known landmark, the context.

I am not saying Plate Carrée is necessarily best for anything, it was just an example of a better solution for a given problem, in a certain context.

G
Gillian Auld
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#8
woneil

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Will, what would be the advantanges of Briesemeister in this case... ?


Frax,

I was writing somewhat light-heartedly, and don't feel that I can or should advocate the Briesemeister. However, in light of your original statement of concerns:

[H]ow do I present global maps which only cover patches of the world? ...
Ideas: move up australia a bit in the indian ocean, narrow down the Atlantic. Projection? Maybe miller (plate carre would be fairly ok, since it is mostly around the equator, but I hate when things gets distorted too much). Maybe look into some other equal area projection that doesn't distort the shape like winkel-III/robinson. All the non-desert area is not totally irrelevant, since it is also useful to communicate how much area is not desert...


... it does seem to me that the characteristics that I mentioned:

It gets the continents clustered toward the center (and the oceans can actually be trimmed at the edges is space is really tight), is visually interesting without being weird, and is equal-area (which I see as desirable so that the reader gets an accurate picture of the actual coverage of deserts relative to total land area)...


... are not entirely without advantage. But perhaps I'm wrong.

I probably am confused about what you are seeking to do since I can't even understand how you can say that you are thinking about the Miller or even Plate Carrée and then in the next breath appear to suggest that these are somehow equal-area projections that don't distort shapes (a combination of virtures which I had thought was impossible in any event). I had never heard that either the Miller or the Plate Carrée could in any way be regarded as equal-area projections, nor that they are conformal (i.e., locally shape-preserving). Also you discount the Robinson on the grounds that it does not preserve shapes, but to my eye, examination of the diagram of its Tissot indicatrixes suggests a good deal less distortion of shapes (and areas) than either the Miller or the Plate Carrée, particularly in the main regions of desert.

I seem to be finding confusion in things which bother no one else, so perhaps I should stick to mapping desserts.

Will O'Neil
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http://analysis.williamdoneil.com/w.d.oneil@pobox.com

#9
DaveB

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I am sorry but I am not a Corel Draw fan...........I think that GIS is great but you still need to bring it into Illustrator or whatever your choice of vector graphics software is........to soften the final output and build in some appeal factor.......... (Arcview 3.x - are you kidding me???) :)


I'm not a fan of Corel Draw either, but that's neither here nor there.

Okay, at the risk of exposing myself I posted a map from ArcMap in the map gallery. :) See the thread "ArcMap map, Map of Washington created with ArcMap" (sorry for the redundancy, still getting used to how this forum works, but we all like maps, right? :blink: ). I created this map a couple of years using nothing but ArcMap.

About ArcView 3.x, nope, I'm not kidding you. I have an example I did almost 8 years ago that I think is a respectable map. I only have paper copies left, but I can get it scanned and post it later if anyone is interested.

When it comes down to it any software is just a tool. I think the abilities and skills and preferences of the cartographer play a large role in determining the quality of the final product. See also the threads about which software people here use.

Sincerely, Dave"map where his mouth is"B :D (or is it foot where his mouth is?)
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#10
frax

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Dave, what kind of talk is that "we all like maps" -- we all LOVE maps, right???

;)
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#11
EcoGraphic

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About ArcView 3.x, nope, I'm not kidding you. I have an example I did almost 8 years ago that I think is a respectable map. I only have paper copies left, but I can get it scanned and post it later if anyone is interested.


It is like anything, if you work at it hard enough you can make the software do a decent job. Unfortunately we have moved past Arcview now, and with ArcGIS I just don't see much point in continuing to go back to older software, when we have better software now. Arcview 3.x was the first GIS software I had to learn, and coming from the standpoint of using Adobe Illlustrator already, I saw its limitations immediately.

Here is my personal analogy:

Years ago I designed an historic walking tour booklet for a local town to print out and sell to tourists for 50cents. I scanned all my historic photos and did the layout in black and white in Microsoft Publisher. To this day they are still distributing my historic walking tour, and I had a good laugh when I noticed recently that it was mentioned in an article in British Columbia magazine. Would I ever use Microsoft Publisher to layout anything again? No. Obviously not. I have InDesign now. Did it do a decent job at the time? Sure. They are still printing my work...........

When it comes down to it any software is just a tool. I think the abilities and skills and preferences of the cartographer play a large role in determining the quality of the final product. See also the threads about which software people here use.


Absolutely, but there are also some tools which are perhaps better designed to let you do what you need or want to do......since ESRI is talking of adding "Illustrator-like" tools to their products, they are apparently recognizing this.........

G
Gillian Auld
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#12
dylan

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How about the Dymaxion Projection ?

...Wonder if ArcMap supports this one...

#13
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You have to pay Bucky Institute a lot of money, if you want to use Dynaxion. And I don´t think it´s even worth it.

#14
DaveB

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How about the Dymaxion Projection ?

...Wonder if ArcMap supports this one...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yep, it was added in the 9.0 release. Under the name Fuller.

Here's an example I just made using Tom Patterson's Natural Earth data from www.shadedrelief.com/natural

Although, as mentioned by Kartograph, it may not be the best choice for your needs.


Sorry, Frax, yes "love" maps. :D (what was I thinking?!)

Gillian, I guess I just muddied things by mentioning ArcView 3.x. I am not advocating going back to it, not when ArcMap has much better tools. :D

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#15
dylan

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You have to pay Bucky Institute  a lot of money, if you want to use Dynaxion. And I don´t think it´s even worth it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well, only if you are going to use it in a for-profit project: according to this website, you can use his algorithms. I noticed that the example code is rather windows specific, and ported a the example program to Linux with the ncurses library. These free codes could be used in conjuntion with GMT to project and plot raster or vector data into the "Dymaxion" coordinate system.

Thanks go to Paul Wessel for mentioning this page and idea via email.

Althought this may not be the projection you are looking for...

Cheers,




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