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A little bit about Southern Survey

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Southern Survey

Southern Survey


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I graduated from Texas A&M University in '04 with a liberal arts degree in history and cultural geography. Ironically I fell into geomatics and I have worked as a surveyor for the past 6 years. After becoming a registered professional licensed surveyor, I opened my own firm that specializes in topographic design and construction layout here in Longview, TX. My drafting experience is that of legal plats and site plans. I wanted to expand my firm to offer mapping.

My GIS background is shaky at best. I remember in some of my undergraduate courses finishing maps with pencils rather than fight an unknown mapping program. I have been looking at some fantastic maps and I would like to offer that quality of production to the civil engineers and real estate developers in East Texas, their planning diagrams aren't too aesthetically pleasing.

What I really wanted to get help on with this forum is suggestions on software and reference books. Does anyone know of a good book and economical program that will allow me to start making quality maps? I am not talking about data maps, but It seems to me that a graphic design skill set is what will dominate quality cartography. Anyway, always welcome to suggestions and I will keep reading the post.

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Welcome Casey,

Glad to see someone from Longview, I grew up in Gilmer and still have family there.

I think that a requisite for good design would be knowledge and use of both a raster and vector program. I'm partial to the Adobe suites, but there are plenty of others to choose from that are more economical. However you can't overlook the importance of processing the data, and for that I use ArcMap.

I do put a lot of stock in theory, most of which I picked up in school attending lectures but I have always had Borden Dent's cartography book on my shelf for reference.

Finally I have learned a lot from the threads here on Cartotalk. Take some time to read the past ones,

Good luck,
"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

Dennis McClendon

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Hello, Longview. Ex-Texarkanian here.

The best way to improve your graphic sense is to collect and analyze maps that you admire. What makes them better than others?

That said, there are several new books on this subject:

Brewer, Cynthia. Designed Maps: A Sourcebook for GIS Users From ESRI Press

Brewer, Cynthia. Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users From ESRI Press

Krygier, John. Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS A new edition is under preparation, but here's the first edition at Amazon

Tyner, Judith. Principles of Map Design from Amazon
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics

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