Springs of Florida
Posted 16 July 2010 - 03:06 PM
I'm new here, and I'd just like to say that I'm very impressed by the work that's being done by the members of this forum. What a fantastic group.
At the moment I'm taking my first baby steps with Illustrator. Any advice on how to improve this map of Florida's Springs and Springsheds? The finished map will be printed at 24"x 24".
Posted 17 July 2010 - 02:40 PM
Very good-looking map.
As a suggestion, I found the t similar dark blues in the rivers and the springs a little confusing.
I would suggest you lighten the bodies of water to distinguish them from the blue dots and help the legibility of your text.
If you make your lakes the same color as your ocean, then it looks as if they are 'openings' through which you see the ocean.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:12 AM
I agree with Jean-Louis in that there is something amiss with the lakes - they seem too "floaty" and quite divorced from the rest of the maps - and I also agree with making them the same colour as the sea. If you're using Illustrator what you might want to try is treat the sea and the lakes to the same continuous gradient rather than having each lake with a separate gradient. I can't tell what sort of geometry is in the map but if you select the sea and the lake polygons and then apply whatever gradient you want (I'm partial to tints of Mediterranean Blue), press "G" on the keyboard or select the gradient tool from the main tools pallete then drag the gradient from top left (light blue) to bottom right (dark blue). I've done a quick example to show you want I mean -
The other thing I would take a look at is your springsheds - I see what you're getting at with the radial gradient but the trouble with the gradient is that it does not follow the outline of the shape so you get a but of a clash of shapes between the circular gradient and the more natural outer edge. If you take a look in the Effects menu and under Stylise there is an effect called Inner Glow that gives a similar effect to a gradient fill but with a buffered edge. Here's an example of gradient vs glow -
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:47 AM
I agree about the lakes. I usually like to give lakes the same symbology I use on the ocean, unless I'm trying to make a distinction between them. If you make the lakes lighter your dark blue springs should stand out better.
The yellow dots don't stand out as well on the first magnitude springs. Actually, because the background is mostly light the darker symbol for the second magnitude srpings seems to pop out more to me than the lighter symbols for the first magnitude ones. I also notice a lot of anomalies with the symbols - for example:
Many of the first mag. springs have a blue gradient outer circle, but the Spring Creek Springs Group doesn't and the Weeki Wachee Spring one seems different
The Yellow dot is centered on most, but not all, of spring symbols below them. For example, the one on the Natural Bridge Spring is closer to the bottom edge of the spring symbol.
A couple of the highway shields are tilted (275 near Tampa and 4 near Kissimmee)
I'm not crazy about the haloed text. And I'm not sure you need it, especially for the cities. Also I think the town symbols could be "scaled back", maybe make them simpler, subtler. Right now I think they compete a bit with the mag. 2 springs.
On the inset map for the Santa Fe Springs Cluster you're zoomed in a bit but the symbols are smaller. I would consider making them the same size as the symbols on the rest of the map and legend.
The legend/locator/text block is a bit overwhelming and crowded. You might move it down a smidge so the gap at the bottom (between the map edge and the legend block edge) is similar to the gap on the side. That would also move it away from the coast of Florida near the top of the block. The title looks a bit crowded to me. Maybe you could reduce the font size a little?
Posted 19 July 2010 - 09:27 AM
Just a couple of comments on the title box:
In the map's title, the pattern, colour and exaggerated height of the capitalized letters separate them graphically from the rest of the letters -- the capital letters are on a different level from the rest. Makes the title hard to read, and my eyes are torn between the main title and the subtitle, which is much easier to read.
Also a scalebar based on units of 5 or 10 is more comfortable to use than one based on 7.5.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 11:12 AM
Nice map, reminds me of my days at FSU when we would drive down to Wakulla Springs to beat the summer heat.
Generally I agree with the others above, especially with the gradients on the lakes and the highway shields. I will mention a few other things that I have noticed.
Rivers: It is cartographic standard to italicize waterbodies and streams. I also italicize other water features such as springs, falls, rapids, fords, etc... but that is up to the cartographer. When natural features are used as political boundaries, I use the map subject to dictate which one gets placed on top. In your case, the subject is natural, yet your Madison county boundary is on top of (and covering) the Aucilla River. I would flip-flop that. Also, some of your rivers are clipped by Georgia (i.e. the Suwannee River) that is distracting to me, either move them or get rid of them.
That also brings up another point. Why have county boundaries if you are not going to label them? I would either get rid of them or label them.
Good work and hope this helps,
Posted 20 July 2010 - 02:45 PM
Posted 20 July 2010 - 05:25 PM
Thank-you so much, everyone, for your thoughtful and helpful responses. I've done another draft of the map, incorporating many of your suggestions. I think that this new version is much clearer than the first draft.
Looks a lot better. Another suggestion would be to put your springsheds on a lower layer so they are not covering all your data, such as rivers, county boundaries, cities, text, etc... They should be the first layer above your basemap.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:54 PM
By the way Kru, that is a cool quote from Strabo. I just noticed it.
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