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#1
heath b

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Hello fellow CartoTalkers!

I'm working on creating a "template" map in ArcGIS for a Drive Less, Save More program that we are promoting in our region. It is designed to encourage people to consider transportation modes other than the tried-and-true, yet environmentally insensitive, automobile. Our organization will create promotions in various cities of the region and these maps are included in the brochures that are handed out during the promotions. So the template allows a non-cartographer to simply zoom into the city in ArcMap that they are promoting and export the appropriate map.

The things that have been deemed important to depict on the maps are buslines, transit centers, park-and-rides and street-level bicycle suitability. Destinations such as parks and schools are also to be shown.

One of my bigger concerns are the coincident buslines (thick grey lines) and bicycle suitability lines (thinner colored lines). Any suggestions? I also welcome any other criticism, as this is a work-in-progress.

I've attached one of the areas that is slated to get a new map and brochure.

Heath

Attached File  WestLinn_test.png   678.36KB   184 downloads

#2
Esther Mandeno

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Hello Heath,

First off, nice map! Really like it. I especially like the subtle hillshade in the background. However, though I like it, I'm not sure if 'normal' folks would understand what it means and I'm not sure if it's important. The area looks relatively flat and the hillshading isn't enough to glean whether a cyclist may be have a hill on a particular route or not.

One of my bigger concerns are the coincident buslines (thick grey lines) and bicycle suitability lines (thinner colored lines). Any suggestions? I also welcome any other criticism, as this is a work-in-progress.


In regards to the bus lines and the alternative transportation lines - they work for me. Am I to understand that all the colored lines are bike routes? If so, then it's clear that the buslines and bike routes go along the same road (or route). I assume there's a legend for this, right? ;)

The only other thing the caught my eye was the thin halo around the text - not sure you need it. It was a little distracting.

Otherwise, great map.

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

#3
Boundary Maven

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One of my bigger concerns are the coincident buslines (thick grey lines) and bicycle suitability lines (thinner colored lines). Any suggestions? I also welcome any other criticism, as this is a work-in-progress.


I might look at putting a white line between the bike route and the bus line (e.g., bus line is 6 pt grey line, then a 4.5 pt. white line on top of it, then a 3 pt colored line for the bike route on top of that). It's a nice map, though. I like the slight topo shading, too. Well done!

#4
heath b

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Thanks for the input! Esther, we have been going back and forth on the hillshade as well. I'm leaning towards leaving it out. Even though other areas within the region have much more relief, I don't feel that it offers enough information, either. These publications are targeting the people who live in this community, so I think I can assume that they're aware of where the big hills are in their neighborhoods. If not, burning thighs will soon clue them in. :huh: With regard to the text halo, there are areas in the region where the map is much busier and I think that the need for the extra stroke on the text is necessary. I'm toying with changing that halo from a white to the same color as the map's background color so that it's not so noticeable.

Adding a white stroke between the bus lines and bicycle routes is a good idea. The only problem is that it seems that I'd need to perform some geoprocessing in order to pull out the line segments that have both bus lines and bike routes and then symbolize those with the white lines. I'm looking to avoid any geoprocessing because one of the main reasons for this map is that our bicycle suitability data and transit data are updated every 3 months. I want the map data to update whenever the document is opened so that somebody with minimal GIS experience can open the map document, zoom to a particular region and export the appropriate map with no other work. While this approach has its value, it also has its cartographic limitations, i.e. I've got to rely on the Maplex labeling engine and am trying to avoid all derivative data products.

There will be a legend associated with the map, of course. It has a place in the brochure alongside the map. As I get closer to a final product, I'll attach the legend as well. I'm attaching one of the busier maps with here with the couple of changes that reflect your suggestions.

Thanks again,

Heath

Attached File  Gresham.png   215.92KB   47 downloads

#5
DaveB

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What do the colors signify in regards to the bike routes? It looks like a spectral scheme (roy g biv), which to me implies some sort of ordered information, such as degree of difficulty or safety or something.
The green bike lines get lost in the gray bus lines.
As an occasional bicyclist I would like to know the steepness of routes before getting there and experiencing "burning thighs". Also, uphill vs. downhill.

hmm, I wonder if there's something you could do with representations to handle the bus lines that coincide with bike lines...
Dave Barnes
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#6
heath b

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Hi Dave,

The line colors signify a level of bicycle suitability. Blue lines mean there's a bike lane, green lines are preferred routes. Yellow to red denote higher traffic through streets with red being the most dangerous to bicycles.

I agree with you that it is nice to know where the steep sections of roads are if you are a bicyclist, but the hillshade doesn't seem to convey enough information in that regard unless I intensify the hillshade. And then it seems to take over the map. (As a side note, we are also in the beginning stages of updating our regional bike map and one of the issues we plan to address is how to depict streets with high slope. Eventually that symbology may be incorporated into this map as well.)

I began playing with representations in this map. Unfortunately, though, our agency updates our data quarterly in shapefile format. I want this map to automatically reflect any data updates each time it is opened so that the user does not need to do any more work (in case I'm not here in the future :( )

Hmm... what about writing a script that would check for updates to the shapefiles and re-import that data into my map's geodatabase when the map opens? I haven't worked with scripting much and don't know how feasible that would be. I'll look into it.

Heath

#7
Dennis McClendon

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I feel like the bicycle symbolization needs to be more restricted, to one side of the color wheel, in order for it to hang together as a network. Now the transportation engineers will protest that you can't easily distinguish between LOS C and D with a restricted palette. Maybe, but they're placing too much emphasis fragmenting the network based on minor distinctions and judgment calls, instead of recognizing the importance of showing cycling routes as a comprehensive network that hangs together visually.

And the deepest warm color should symbolize the best cycling routes, not the worst. The red comes to the foreground. That's why it was traditionally used for through highways. Using it to symbolize bad roads means that your map ends up being a guide to where not to cycle. That doesn't encourage new cyclists to try it.

I would look at a palette of five or so warm colors: red-violet for off-street trails, then a couple of reddish browns, then ocher and maybe yellow. Here's a color scheme I came up with for a Chicago-area bike map:

Posted Image
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#8
Dale Sanderson

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The line colors signify a level of bicycle suitability. Blue lines mean there's a bike lane, green lines are preferred routes. Yellow to red denote higher traffic through streets with red being the most dangerous to bicycles.

All the colors gave my poor brain a lot to sort out. While a legend will help, I still agree with Dennis' idea: sticking with one side of the color wheel might make it a little easier to mentally classify all those lines as "roads with varying degrees of bike suitability".

I agree with you that it is nice to know where the steep sections of roads are if you are a bicyclist, but the hillshade doesn't seem to convey enough information in that regard unless I intensify the hillshade. And then it seems to take over the map. (As a side note, we are also in the beginning stages of updating our regional bike map and one of the issues we plan to address is how to depict streets with high slope. Eventually that symbology may be incorporated into this map as well.)

I recently read some research and ideas about how to depict up and down slopes... wasn't it the latest issue of Cartographic Perspectives? Anyway, I'd prefer to have the subtle shaded relief back on the map. It may not be enough for me to determine slope, but it at least hints at the terrain, and may be enough to clue me in: "Oh yeah, that road runs across that big valley."

I began playing with representations in this map. Unfortunately, though, our agency updates our data quarterly in shapefile format. I want this map to automatically reflect any data updates each time it is opened so that the user does not need to do any more work (in case I'm not here in the future :( )

Here's an idea that might not require any geoprocessing: just represent all the through roads with two different lines, on two different layers. For one layer (the lower layer), each through route gets represented with a white line, regardless of its suitability. Then, on the upper layer, each route would be represented with a slightly thinner line, classified with the different colors (i.e. basically what you've already done). The result is that each line would appear to have a thin white casing, but where lines intersect, the casing would always be underneath the colored lines. And then the bus route lines would be underneath both of these layers, so that when a bike route is coincident with a bus route, it won't get lost, because it's offset with a white line.
Dale Sanderson
professionally: cartographics manager for Dex One
personally: cartophile and road-geek (my website)

#9
DaveB

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I recently read some research and ideas about how to depict up and down slopes... wasn't it the latest issue of Cartographic Perspectives? Anyway, I'd prefer to have the subtle shaded relief back on the map. It may not be enough for me to determine slope, but it at least hints at the terrain, and may be enough to clue me in: "Oh yeah, that road runs across that big valley."

Methods and Tips article by Daniel Huffman, A Technique for Encoding Elevation Changes Along a Route, CP number 63. :)

One thing about the different route colors I would want is to make sure they are really distinguishable from each other if it matters. If it doesn't matter try reducing the number of classes somehow until the colors are readily distinguishable. :) (and if it's for print don't trust the colors on screen - get some kind of color proof on paper with the "true" colors - with Dennis' example I have a hard time telling the 2 classes at each end from each other, but on an actual printed map they may be fine)
Dave Barnes
Esri
Product Engineer
Map Geek




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