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#1
Laura Miles

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Hi All,
I'm hoping you can help me as I sort of come from the GIS side of things. Recently I've encountered some managers who believe that text must never cross a line, any line, ever, be it a river, country boundary, park border, or ANY OTHER LINE EVER. Now I have worked previously for a company that produced travel maps, did not use GIS and came from a cartographic perspective and we frequently would have text crossing lines, if the line was insignificant enough and that happened to be the optimal place for the text to go. This is something I've been hearing from GIS managers who may have limited cartographic training, which leads me to question it. I feel it can make for an awkward looking map with bizzarely justified text blocks, and I've never seen this as a guideline in any carto books I've read. Isn't this what text masks/halos are for? What is your opinion? (I have read that thread about throwing out the "rules"...loved it!) What sort of general guidelines do you all go by?
Laura

#2
natcase

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Hi All,
I'm hoping you can help me as I sort of come from the GIS side of things. Recently I've encountered some managers who believe that text must never cross a line, any line, ever, be it a river, country boundary, park border, or ANY OTHER LINE EVER. Now I have worked previously for a company that produced travel maps, did not use GIS and came from a cartographic perspective and we frequently would have text crossing lines, if the line was insignificant enough and that happened to be the optimal place for the text to go. This is something I've been hearing from GIS managers who may have limited cartographic training, which leads me to question it. I feel it can make for an awkward looking map with bizzarely justified text blocks, and I've never seen this as a guideline in any carto books I've read. Isn't this what text masks/halos are for? What is your opinion? (I have read that thread about throwing out the "rules"...loved it!) What sort of general guidelines do you all go by?
Laura

To me the important thing is, will the line interfere with reading the text. The lighter the line (under 30% black or equivalent) the better, and the darker/larger the type, same thing. And be careful that vertical lines on letters (Like a capital "L" or "I" or "T" don't exactly line up over a crossing line.

But no, there is no such rule per sé. It probably comes from the days when plotter lines (and screen lines) were either on or off, not tinted, and so in fact linework would always interfere with type.

And yes, judiciously used masks can also help (but make sure the masks aren't confusing: be sure that masked street type doesn't look like it creates a cul-de-sac!).

Hope this helps.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#3
Charles Syrett

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I wouldn't bother giving your managers any "guidelines". It would probably be more effective and enjoyable to show them published samples of maps created by reputable professionals. Go get a National Geographic atlas and some printed Canadian topos for starters. Would they try to say their seasoned experience and judgment is somehow "better"? :rolleyes:

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#4
razornole

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Obviously your managers have never made a map with isohypses. With my maps I usually take the path of least resistance when it comes to text. I try not to cross lines, but that is not always possible. I never have, nor do I ever plan, to use halos. To me they are more distracting then text that crosses a line. I have yet to see a map with halos that I like. If I have to, I will just place a block under the text and fiddle with the transparency so you can still read the basemap and text.

kru
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#5
Laura Miles

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"Go get a National Geographic atlas and some printed Canadian topos for starters..."


Exactly what I always think when my maps are critiqued in this way...."If it's good enough for National Geographic..." grumble grumble!

Razornole: I do use halos that are the same colour as the background, just to prevent text from appearing to intersect whatever boundary. But I get what you are saying, I have been forced to use colored halos before. It hurt.

Nat: Thanks, interesting to know the history of this...I now see that this was probably an excellent rule to follow back then. So it does have some logical grounding, but perhaps is not as relevant these days.

Thanks everyone!

#6
razornole

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"Go get a National Geographic atlas and some printed Canadian topos for starters..."


Razornole: I do use halos that are the same colour as the background, just to prevent text from appearing to intersect whatever boundary. But I get what you are saying, I have been forced to use colored halos before. It hurt.



Yep, that is what makes us all different, and IMO the underpinning strength of CartoTalk.
"Ah, to see the world with the eyes of the gods is geography--to know cities and tribes, mountains and rivers, earth and sea, this is our gift."
Strabo 22AD

#7
Navi Gator

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I have always taken as a guide the readability of the word. The first and last syllables are the most important for legibility. The brain fills in the rest more easily. I always try and avoid line or detail conflict for these syllables.

#8
DeepWild

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From my perspective (which is an engineering perspective), the features are always more important than the text. That doesn't mean that I never have text overlapping or obscuring a line, it means that I'll do everything that is reasonable to ensure that it doesn't happen. I never place the importance on aesthetics (though my reputation within the company is that I make the "prettiest" maps).

What is "reasonable" varies by map, the amount of data and labels on the map, the budget of the project, and the client's requirements. I've created 50k resource maps with thousands of labels (wells, pipelines, and access roads, in addition to every other cartographic feature that could be added) and in a situation like that it is incredibly difficult to manage the text.




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