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#1
PhilU

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Hi,

I'm working on a map in a series for our most recent General Plan revision. It shows our city's design corridors. One goal was to make the current map distinct from previous versions. I'm also trying to enhance the design and communicate more information on the map. I've included excerpts from the city code in the callouts. The map is 11x17 and should be bound at the top.

I'm interested in feedback on all elements of the map, but the biggest question I have is concerning fonts. The previous version of this map used all Arial fonts. I felt Times New Roman communicated better with the excerpts from the city code book and I liked the distinction it made with the previous version when I changed the title block. But the legend...should that be Times as well or should I keep it Arial along with labeling on the map? Is there a generally-accepted rule? I'm considering changing the legend and the design corridor labeling to Times, but my road labels are Arial and would be difficult and time-consuming to change.

Thanks for your insight. Give it to me straight. I would really like to up my cartographic sense.

Phil
Provo, Utah

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#2
AndrewM

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Hi Phil,

The first thing that jumps out at me is that I'm not quite sure what everything is! Presumably black lines are roads and blue are waterways, but I'm not sure what the red and green lines are, and the black lines in the top left of the map look a litle odd for roads, but I'm not sure what else they could be. Will these be explained elsewhere? If not I think they need adding to the legend.

Also where you've applied the mask around the city boundary with a black outline it looks as though you've got another version of the boundary underneath which sometimes diverges from the mask and makes it look a little messy to me. It would look neater if you could clean that up somehow.

Those are my first impressions - I hope they're useful :) !

Andrew

#3
David Medeiros

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I think the Times looks ok for the block text (though it wouldn't be my first choice), I would not use it for your legend, title or any of the other map elements. Match those to each other, but use versions (bold, italic, grey and black) to separate that font into various styles. If you search the forum for fonts you should find a few threads detailing font choices.

I have a long history working with road maps, am currently a city GIS Tech and worked on our GP not long ago, so I know instantly what your red and green lines are (highway and third class or major roads), but a lot of other readers wont, as Phil pointed out. For the minor and major roads try using the same color but different line widths. Or gray for minor and full black for major. For the highways red is an acceptable color but I would up the line size to match or exceed the major highway line and I'd pick a darker tone of red. If you can't make those changes then I would add the street line info to the legend.

I don't like the little frames on your map number at the bottom left, getting rid of unnecessary boxes or frames is a good way to simplify and clean up a busy map. On that topic I applaud your not using a boxed legend or the title "LEGEND". But if you do start to add more elements like street classification you may have to frame it.

Design wise, I would move the scale to the lower right corner and the N arrow to the space above the North University Av call out box. I would move the title and legend up, closer to the top of the map.

If you can, it might be nice to see the Highways continue beyond the city limits to the map frame.

Not sure how to help with the city limit issue which is a conflict between your vector limit and the one in your raster background. Can you elaborate on your production process? Is this Arc or GeoMEdia, are you exporting to some design software or is all the layout in a GIS?

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#4
Laura Miles

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Some of your callout boxes are partially obscuring road labels. I might up the font slightly for the design corridor labels, and/or put a small white mask or halo around their text to break where they intersect with the road lines.
Laura

#5
Dennis McClendon

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Not too bad right now. A few suggestions:

  • Instead of the black city limits line, have the area outside the city be a very light tan (C4 M4 Y8 K0). Keep the city white.
  • By changing the shape of a few of them, you could relocate the callouts to the areas outside the city limits, so they wouldn't obscure anything.
  • Top the callouts with a dark bar, with the corridor name reversed to white.
  • Look hard at whether you need a stroke on the callouts, or on the green and orange corridor polygons. Outline strokes present the viewer with two edges (background to stroke/stroke to fill) when only one is needed.
  • What happened to the river? Any other water? It can be really light: C12 M5 Y0 K0 with no outline stroke.
  • Line up your title with your text blocks, all flush left:
2009 Provo City General Plan
Design Corridors Map

Adopted Design Corridors preserve the aesthetic integrity of an area
by imposing criteria for the appearance and design

Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#6
Nick H

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I like this too. The problem of ragged-right text is a difficult one to deal with, barring the use of a typesetter, perhaps some hyphenation might help? The shaded terrain doesn't add much, to my eyes. It's a GeoPDF, which is always nice, but the coordinates look to be out by a fair way (however, only checked in Google Earth!).

Regards, N.
Caversham, Reading, England.

#7
PhilU

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Also where you've applied the mask around the city boundary with a black outline it looks as though you've got another version of the boundary underneath which sometimes diverges from the mask and makes it look a little messy to me. It would look neater if you could clean that up somehow.


Thank you for your response. At first I was confused as to what you were referring to; then I opened the pdf I posted and quickly saw exactly what you meant. I didn't realize it when I posted it but the pdf went wacky with those boundaries and badly pixelated the shaded relief. Those boundaries are actually created from the same dataset. I agree with your comments about the roads. They do go along with another map, but the red/green colors aren't directly related to the design corridors so I will change them.

Sorry about the poor pdf.

Phil

#8
David Medeiros

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Also where you've applied the mask around the city boundary with a black outline it looks as though you've got another version of the boundary underneath which sometimes diverges from the mask and makes it look a little messy to me. It would look neater if you could clean that up somehow.


Thank you for your response. At first I was confused as to what you were referring to; then I opened the pdf I posted and quickly saw exactly what you meant. I didn't realize it when I posted it but the pdf went wacky with those boundaries and badly pixelated the shaded relief. Those boundaries are actually created from the same dataset. I agree with your comments about the roads. They do go along with another map, but the red/green colors aren't directly related to the design corridors so I will change them.

Sorry about the poor pdf.

Phil


I've found that some GIS programs will rasterize any layer that has a transparency set. Or in some cases rasterize the entire export even if only feature has transparency (or opaqueness).

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#9
PhilU

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For the minor and major roads try using the same color but different line widths. Or gray for minor and full black for major.

I don't like the little frames on your map number at the bottom left, getting rid of unnecessary boxes or frames is a good way to simplify and clean up a busy map.

Design wise, I would move the scale to the lower right corner and the N arrow to the space above the North University Av call out box. I would move the title and legend up, closer to the top of the map.

If you can, it might be nice to see the Highways continue beyond the city limits to the map frame.

Not sure how to help with the city limit issue which is a conflict between your vector limit and the one in your raster background. Can you elaborate on your production process? Is this Arc or GeoMEdia, are you exporting to some design software or is all the layout in a GIS?


Thank you for the advice. I think I'll change the roads along those lines so I can avoid adding them to the legend. As for the map number boxes, I carried that over from the previous version because I was drawing a blank on a better option, but now I'll think of one. It will serve as another visual break from the previous set so that will be good.

I'm thinking about your suggestion to continue the highway. Would you be surprised if I told you the entire area where my title and legend reside, all the way to the Provo boundary, is another city? I tried to give the indication that something is there using the city boundaries in gray, but they are giving the impression of a crazy road rather than city boundaries. Hmm.

I'm using Arcmap 9.3. For some reason it really created a mess of a pdf and I didn't catch it. The printout is much cleaner.

Phil

#10
PhilU

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2009 Provo City General Plan
Design Corridors Map
Adopted Design Corridors preserve the aesthetic integrity of an area
by imposing criteria for the appearance and design


I love the font combination and title/legend layout! I was going to ask you what fonts they were, but I can see them in the markup tags.

Top the callouts with a dark bar, with the corridor name reversed to white.


I think I'm envisioning what you mean here, but I'm not 100% sure. If you have an example readily handy, let me know.

Thanks for the help.

Phil

#11
PhilU

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2009 Provo City General Plan
Design Corridors Map

Adopted Design Corridors preserve the aesthetic integrity of an area
by imposing criteria for the appearance and design


When I set about choosing the fonts for my map, I was under the impression mixing serif and sans-serif fonts like this was a cartographic sin, but I like how this looks. Are there any general rules I should be following?

Phil

#12
Dennis McClendon

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Here's what I meant for the reverse bar header:

Posted Image

As far as rules for mixing type, I should sit and think about it some weekend, but these principles guide me generally:

  • Never mix sans-serifs in the same document.
  • If you mix serifs, be sure there's a good reason and good contrast.
  • Design decisions should always look deliberate. Go big or go home.
  • Contrast between bold and light type can do a lot of work in signifying a hierarchy. The contrast can make it unnecessary to use a new line or punctuation such as a colon or dash. Contrast can also be indicated by the difference between serifs and sans-serifs, or by using a line of all caps (small) under a line of larger U&lc.
  • Laymen—including your boss—will try to have too many levels of headings. Use combinations and rewordings in conjunction with typography to reduce that to a maximum of three. You can have a kicker above and an explanation below, but there should be a title in the middle with a single thought. When explanations reach the level of disclaimers, look for a way to put them in the legend or a note at the bottom.

Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#13
Nick H

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Hello Phil,

Yours is a map with a message; it tells a story. I don't think it should contain anything that distracts from its message, content must take precedence over style. In my opinion the map tells its story very well as it is, but I also think that its message could be emphasised further by dispensing with unnecessary features such as shaded terrain and the north arrow.

So much of what this map has to say is expressed in text and I think this must be a candidate for improvement. I can only speak for myself, but I find blocks of ragged-right text (or even worse, blocks of badly-justified left-right text) very distracting. The problem is not about fonts, it's about formatting. Almost every day, here and elsewhere, I see maps over which enormous pains have be taken to get everything right, spoiled by poorly formatted text. Producing nicely-formatted text in relatively narrow blocks isn't without its problems, but it can be done, using (for example) typesetting software. Or perhaps there is a LaTeX plug-in for AI?

Regards, N.
Caversham, Reading, England.

#14
PhilU

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This has been an interesting process. I decided to try to implement almost everything that was suggested and see what the end result would be. It required some arm-twisting to get it accomplished in Arcmap (found some bugs in the legend description tool). So here it is. I changed some of the suggested colors because I was getting signficantly different results on my color laserjet than was intended. On the printed version the roads in the neighboring cities are barely there in comparison to the pdf so you might have to look past that. Also, I clipped the original down to get under the 1MB upload limit.

Any and all suggestions welcome. Thanks for all your recommendations. It has opened my eyes to new design possibilities.

Phil

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#15
David Medeiros

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Much better, good job. The call out changes alone really helped. Your legend is getting a bit lost over the small streets for the surrounding areas. I know you said the print looks better but you might try placing a filled box beneath it, set to some transparency.

My personal taste is that I'd like to see the title further up, closer to the top frame. When placing an element like that off center I like to balance the top and side margins as much as possible.

Not having seen a print, I think you need more contrast at the city limit. I'd put the limit line back in, or fill the city with a color or up the gray on your outter fill.

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