Jump to content


Student Maps

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic




  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • United States

Hello All,

I am a GIS student in Colorado. These are 2 of the maps I have made so far for my Cartography class. I am falling in love with Cartography and I think I want to make this my career. Do any of you have any tips for someone starting out? I have an internship lined up through the school for the spring, but with such a special field I am not sure how to go about getting stable work as a Cartographer. I know I need more experience with the different software, but I have my BA in Geography already. What does an entry level Cartographer need?

Does anyone have any constructive criticism for these maps? ;)



Edited by Hans van der Maarel, 27 October 2010 - 12:18 AM.
made links clickable



    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,130 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Oregon
  • United States

For the global energy consumption maps a diverging color scheme would be better. That way you could group the surpluses together with one hue and the deficits with a different hue, and "group" the "less classes" and "large" classes by value or lightness, for example.
ColorBrewer is a great resource for various color schemes. It can be educational as well as practical.

The "Walk in the Park" map has a typo - reference, not "referance".
The map elements, scale bars, legend, text boxes, north arrow, all seem scattered about. You might consider consolidating some of them. For example, you could combine the 2 scale bars and just have labels for the 2 units (or, maybe better, only include the one unit that would be most useful to the map users). Also removing or toning down some of the bright colors. Again, looking at the scale bars - why the strong green and red?

Think about audience, the main purpose of the map, and visual hierarchy.

Falling in love with cartography is a good thing. :) Now you just need to learn more about the principles and techniques and whys and wherefores. Good luck! :)

Dave Barnes
Map Geek

James Hines

James Hines

    James Anthony Hines

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 558 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Centreville, Nova Scotia
  • Interests:Cartography, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Secret Mystery Schools
  • Canada

- For most users on the Energy Consumption map; they will not understand of what less deficit vs large deficit means. -A note of what the terms stand for would suffice.
- The bar chart colours from my monitor does not match the colour values in the bar chart legend.
- Unless requested by the client or in your case your instructor no underlines for the titles.
- Check your alignment of the map area's, look at the second one in particular because it's aligned further to the right slightly.

- For the Walk in the Park while you correctly make the intended area of interest dominant I'm finding the contrast of the darkness & the colour scheme is not working.
- The reason being is that your you made the park area too dark & if you lighten it up a bit it could work.
- Also the information centre symbol is to light even in the lighter area's of the map & the legend.
- Revise the symbol size as well, try matching the size of the symbol with the Parking Lot.
- Revise the colours of the scalebar , that's an awful choice to make.
- Play with no using halo's or atleast thin it down.
- If you are going to use single line roads consider placing road names on top of the line & in some cases when needed below the line.
- Do not centre the text in the road. It's a better design this way.
- Road Direction symbol in the legend is not aligned with the other two symbols.
- Road direction symbol is located in the wrong place of the legend; remember in this order point, line, & area. Road symbol is a point and from what I see I'm reading point, line, point. So correct that
- You need to curve your text better then that eg. check "Highway 24"
- Some roads have an extra underline which seem to match that of the park boundary, what is it?
- when the symbols touch from a cartographic point of view it's alright to move them slightly so they do not touch
- fix your park boundary in the southwest sector of the park, consider a dissolve

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."




  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • United States

Hello All,

Thanks for the info. I am going to look into everything you had said. I find that some of the issues might be caused by different monitor calibration, but I will definatly be looking into your suggestions about the use of my Garden of the Gods map color.

What software do you all recomend when making maps. I am using ArcGIS 9.3 right now. Our teacher said that most professionals do their mapping projection and scale in ArcMap but then use photoshop or illustraitor for the design elements. Is this true?

I also wanted to point out that I wanted to use both the green and the red scale bar in the Garden of the Gods map because the trails are green and the major roads are red to both miles & feet. I liked it because that way both driving and walking tourists could use the map. Anyway.. Thanks for the comments. ;);)



    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 211 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Olten, Switzerland
  • Interests:geology, GIS, cartography, famlily, reading, cooking, travelling, gardening
  • Switzerland

Ahem... is it really true that american pedestrians are unable to calculate that 1200 feet is roughly a quarter mile?... I grew up in a metric world, so I'm not really used to imperial measurements. (And I don't understand why the US hasn't ditched them a long time ago, metric's so much simpler! But that's a different story altogether.) But when I look on a map, I know that as a hiker I will cover some 4-5 km (or two and a half to three on eighth miles) per hour, not accounting for topography. I don't really care if my hiking trail is 3.9 or 4.2 km long, so I don't need that "pedestrian" scale bar.

I kind of like your idea of matching the scale bar colour to the road/trail colour. But - forgive me - the colours themselves are aweful, especially if used side by side. Try to tome them down by making them darker and then use them as the dark colour for the scale bars with white as the light colour - I think that's gonna work much better.

Also, as Dave said, change those colours on the Deficit-Surplus map to a two-colour scheme with dark hues for large and lighter hues for smaller deficit or surplus. (And maybe readers would understand better if you labelled it "large" and "small" instead of "large" and "less".)

Hope this helps.


Dennis McClendon

Dennis McClendon

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,172 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago
  • Interests:map design, large-scale maps of cities
  • United States

Most of the folks visiting the Garden of the Gods park won't think of themselves as "hikers," nor will they have much concept of linear distance. So I would replace one of the scale bars with one showing "easy walk of 5 - 10 - 15 minutes."

This map has way too many outlines. There are unnecessary halos on all the street names. There are unnecessary black outlines on the many legend boxes. The park can easily be distinguished from the surrounding area by color, and doesn't need the yellow outline. The parking icons don't need an outline.

What is the "major street" that just dead ends at the park boundary in the southeast corner? Seems unlikely that it's a major street if it just dead-ends.

Some of the parking symbols overlap each other.

There's only one information center, so label it directly on the map and remove it from the legend.

Consolidate all your boxes and messages into one area on the right; use the photo (if at all) in conjunction with the title. You can combine and integrate the wording to be more elegant: Enjoy Garden of the Gods from 5 am to 11 pm May through October, and 5 am to 9 pm November through April. The data source and your name and class should be 6 pt type hiding in a corner; no one cares about the projection for an area this small.

I like for arrowheads to have a clear interruption of the line they sit on:
Posted Image

Finally, try changing the trail style to be solid rather than dotted. The large number of alternative, intersecting, and diverging pathways means that the dotted pattern often looks very messy and is hard to follow.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users