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Mali overland map

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#1
David Medeiros

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Most recent map for Overland Journal depicting overland route through Sahara and Sahel desert's. The relatively flat elevations make it hard to create a visually interesting terrain image but I'm steadily getting better at controlling Natural Scene Designer to do this. This map is a departure form their previous styles in that it has a large amount of color! I tried a few versions of the ocean and they liked the blue the best. Other versions were a blue to dusty brown gradient and one that was just a lighter sepia color (to match previous work). I think it gives the maps a lot more presence while keeping the sepia tone they want the terrain to have.

Anyway, here it is, let me know what you think!

Dave

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  • Attached File  Mali.jpg   849.47KB   227 downloads

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#2
David Medeiros

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Incidentally, the data for this and an accompanying Great Plains overland map were taken from www.naturalearthdata.com. I can't tell you how fantastic it is to have that resource for projects like this. The geographic regions layers are especially useful.

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#3
razornole

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Well done map. I always like the feel of your cartography; clean, simple, and communicative. I know the story behind your 'river' roads, but once again I was fooled at first glance. The map would truly benefit if they allowed you to make that change.

Now on to the vetting. Have you tried a darker ocean which is lighter toward the coast. Seems you target area on land is dark, and a light ocean would make it pop. If not, how about loosing the halo all together?

Gambia is lost to me. I hate only having one leader in my maps, but I might try it here.

Guinea-Bissau has a hyphen.

Western Sahara, as long as your target audience isn't Moroccans or certain Arabs you should be ok.

Cote d'Ivoire, if you are going to use the French spelling then include the diacritics, if you don't it is a misspelled word. However, this is a map in English, I would use the English spelling of Ivory Coast.

Hope this helps, and nice map.

kru
"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

#4
David Medeiros

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Well done map. I always like the feel of your cartography; clean, simple, and communicative. I know the story behind your 'river' roads, but once again I was fooled at first glance. The map would truly benefit if they allowed you to make that change.

Now on to the vetting. Have you tried a darker ocean which is lighter toward the coast. Seems you target area on land is dark, and a light ocean would make it pop. If not, how about loosing the halo all together?

Gambia is lost to me. I hate only having one leader in my maps, but I might try it here.

Guinea-Bissau has a hyphen.

Western Sahara, as long as your target audience isn't Moroccans or certain Arabs you should be ok.

Cote d'Ivoire, if you are going to use the French spelling then include the diacritics, if you don't it is a misspelled word. However, this is a map in English, I would use the English spelling of Ivory Coast.

Hope this helps, and nice map.

kru


Thanks kru.

So you hit on a few things that I wondered about myself. I'm ok with Gambia as is, it's not the focus of the map and I don't like single leader lines. But I wasn't sure about Guinea-Bissau. I had to break it to make it fit and the hanging hyphen didn't look right. Sometimes if it looks right, it is (even if it isn't).

I used the established "disputed boundary line" for Western Sahara, there are other boarder configurations that give part of WS to Morocco but it reflects political "influence" not territory. I think your right about Cote d'Ivoire, it should be Ivory Coast. I would have used the diacriticals but I don't think they look right on all caps.

I guess it boils down to production mapping on short notice.

I do want to do something about the route line, especially now that I'm adding water features in a similar blue. The problem is that I don't like any warm colors for the route and blueish greens really look good against the brown and tan terrain.

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#5
frax

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Now I don't have an atlas handy, and I too lazy to look up that river - but it does a loop there, that must be something funny going on...
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#6
razornole

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I do want to do something about the route line, especially now that I'm adding water features in a similar blue. The problem is that I don't like any warm colors for the route and blueish greens really look good against the brown and tan terrain.

"Now I don't have an atlas handy, and I too lazy to look up that river - but it does a loop there, that must be something funny going on..."

That's is what I'm talking about. I'm a big fan of using 'dirty/dusty' purples with tan/browns. However, any color that isn't saturated would work well.

kru
"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
MapMedia

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Very nice Dave! Agree with razor's points.

Is the route color coordinating with a color in the article? If not, maybe try an orange or purple color? Certainly the cyan route is very different from the ocean, but there could be some confusion.

Also, I am torn about moving the 3 coastal city labels into the ocean. On one hand you have this clean separation, on the other hand, you have a largely empty ocean but lots of land content, might be nice to clear up the land and slide the labels into the ocean.

Great job!!

#8
David Medeiros

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Is the route color coordinating with a color in the article? If not, maybe try an orange or purple color? Certainly the cyan route is very different from the ocean, but there could be some confusion.


No, it's just their original map style. I'm working to a style the designer set up for the first issue and wants to maintain. Previous to this map water was always shown as a light grey or dusty tan. The route was the only "color" on the map so it wasn't as confusing to the readers. Now that I've added blue water as a feature I think we need to change the route. But I don't like the way warmer colors look over the terrain. I just sent in two new samples with a slightly greener version of this line and a olive green line. We'll see if they go for making a change, I hope so.

Keep in mind that the goal with a map like this is not really reference information, it's just to set the overall geographic space for the article and allow the readers to see where the story takes place, so some cartographic conventions designed to order or clarify information take a back seat to aesthetics.

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#9
Laura Miles

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I think it's a beautiful map, I just wanted to add the comment that I think it gets very dark near the western side of the land. Otherwise love it.

#10
David Medeiros

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I'd love to hear about other cartographers work flows for using similar relief data. What you use to originate, shade the elevation data. If you post process in PhotoShop what filters and effects do you use?

I'm relatively unsophisticated at this point, simply importing my terrain from NSD to Photoshop and applying a gently gaussian blur of 2.0. I'd like to figure out some more advanced techniques for changing the terrain look up a bit, get some hand drawn looks, or find ways to simplify the terrain without losing edge sharpness.

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#11
David Medeiros

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I tried a couple of new line colors and got the go ahead for an olive green version. It doesn't pop as much as the blueish route but looks pretty good. And hey... olive green is very overland!

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#12
Dennis McClendon

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As for the map, it's very handsome work.

Wikipedia notes that "Although it is commonly known in English as the Ivory Coast, the Ivorian government officially discourages this usage, preferring the French name Côte d'Ivoire to be used in all languages. " The CIA World Factbook agrees.

Cote d'Ivoire, if you are going to use the French spelling then include the diacritics, if you don't it is a misspelled word.


I don't know that it reaches the level of misspelling. I have the impression that for Western European languages, it's not uncommon to see upper-case usage without the diacritical marks. Am I misremembering?
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#13
Charles Syrett

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Replying to your question about relief: I usually start with Global Mapper (excellent underrated inexpensive all-round data can-opener) and project the DEM there. Then I export to Golden Software Surfer, which has some decent tools for lighting etc. (Global's are a bit crude and clumsy.) Then export to tiff, and back to the comfort of Photoshop on the Mac. My favorite tools there are Gaussian Blur and Noise>Median. I usually do the editing in successive duplicate layers, and I name each layer by whatever I did there. For example, a layer might be named "Median 10" or "Gauss 3" (the numbers referring to the settings).

If I do elevation tints, I almost always do them as a separate image, so that the relief itself can be edited independently. Also, sometimes a client decides against elevation colors or wants a different ramp.

For bringing up the larger relief features, I sometimes downsample the data to create another smaller-scale generalized image, then upsample back to the original size, then play with Gauss and Median. However, nothing works as well as the trusted airbrush tool and doing a good ol' hand edit. (Separate layer, of course.)

But all of that is secondary. Study Imhof, Patterson, and "Relief Shading" . It's all there. B)

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I'd love to hear about other cartographers work flows for using similar relief data. What you use to originate, shade the elevation data. If you post process in PhotoShop what filters and effects do you use?

I'm relatively unsophisticated at this point, simply importing my terrain from NSD to Photoshop and applying a gently gaussian blur of 2.0. I'd like to figure out some more advanced techniques for changing the terrain look up a bit, get some hand drawn looks, or find ways to simplify the terrain without losing edge sharpness.



#14
Jean-Louis

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I don't know that it reaches the level of misspelling. I have the impression that for Western European languages, it's not uncommon to see upper-case usage without the diacritical marks. Am I misremembering?


L'académie française, the last word on such matters, says that capitals do require diacritical but admits that the usage is 'floating'
It has become pretty common to omit them on caps. However, to do so may in rare cases create ambiguities. If a Headline would say 'UN POLICIER TUE' it would not be clear if it says a cop killed someone or a cop got killed.

No such ambiguities are created if you put or omit the 'accent circonflexe' (from the latin circumflexus, « bent around » or what my anglophone friends call the little hat one) on CÔTE D'IVOIRE. Personally, I would put it on just because I think it looks cool.
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#15
razornole

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As for the map, it's very handsome work.

Wikipedia notes that "Although it is commonly known in English as the Ivory Coast, the Ivorian government officially discourages this usage, preferring the French name Côte d'Ivoire to be used in all languages. " The CIA World Factbook agrees.

Cote d'Ivoire, if you are going to use the French spelling then include the diacritics, if you don't it is a misspelled word.


I don't know that it reaches the level of misspelling. I have the impression that for Western European languages, it's not uncommon to see upper-case usage without the diacritical marks. Am I misremembering?


Sorry, didn't mean to open a can of worms. All I remember is when I was in school (before wikipedia was popular), I got an "F" on my map for misspelling Cote d'Ivoire" I thought I would be cool, and think outside the box and refer to country with the French spelling, only I didn't include the diacritic because I didn't know how to produce them (and I didn't realize their importance). After I received that grade, I thought that I would never make that mistake again.

There is a happy ending though, I learned that my teacher was hard, but fair. He didn't mind giving everyone "Fs" during the semester, but the final grades were usually pretty fair.

David, I like the green much better. For me, I can never think of my maps as graphics. They are visual graphics, but more importantly, they are maps. I always treat them as such.

kru
"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




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