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"Historical" Watershed Map

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#1
Christina Z.

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Historic Chagrin (Picture about 2MB)

I work as a watershed coordinator and make watershed maps all day. Most of the time they need to be pretty cut and dry. Nothing fancy, nothing special. They just have to show the communities around the watershed, the watershed's drainage divides, important political boundaries (counties, townships, etc), and relevant waterbodies and waterways.

I decided to make a new watershed map for the Chagrin River Watershed, which drains to Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. This time around, I wanted to make sure it still showed relevant information, but was kinda fun to look at to boot. I found the "Historical" package from ESRI's resource site and ran with it. The municipalities and townships were done with the "parchment" fills from that package. I created my own buffered fills for the shoreline hatches and the sub-watershed boundaries.

I like the way it's going for the most part. I do worry that it's too busy, and it's hard to label the communities and sub-watersheds in a manner that fits everything in neatly and legibly. Also does anyone know of any good "sea monster" font or image packages that I could use for this? The Historical package came with some good ships and hills but no monsters!

-CZ

#2
Dennis McClendon

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What is the advantage of this over a map that is readable and useful?
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#3
Christina Z.

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What is the advantage of this over a map that is readable and useful?



Well, I DO want it to be readable, but I also want this particular one to be entertaining to look at in a cartoony fashion. It's a gift for some watershed colleagues of mine who work at Ohio Department of Natural Resource's GIS department and love maps. I want it to have a historical feel to it and I want to emulate old cartographic elements like shore hatchures, border shading, et cetera...a nice artistic rendering of the watersheds they work with every day. So I guess it's not tremendously useful since it's just going up on their office wall, but I would like it to be readable.

To that extent, I messed with it again and dialed back the detail: eliminated municipality names, cleared out some unnecessary labels, and changed some fonts. I also expanded the area to include the entire Lake Erie watershed system, since my friends do the mapping for the whole coastline and not just my watershed. I'm definitely going to change the river fonts to something with a more hand-written aspect to it, but haven't hit upon a font yet that reads well.

Google Docs Download (.pdf file, 47.5MB)

#4
Teeds

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Interesting map

I worked for a CE firm back in the dim past and often got tasked with making watershed maps back in the days of multiple overlays and four color offset printing.

By nature our maps were simple because we were trained as draftsmen not graphic artists and the clients (government entities) often dictated simplicity.

I like the art aspect of your map, but I can only imaging that you would get some blowback proposing this style to some of the folks with pocket protectors that are out there.

I have been trying to learn ArcGIS and make some pleasing user friendly maps for parks that our organization owns.

This map has given me multiple ideas to try.

Thanks!
Tony Eeds aka Teeds aka Dad aka Grandpa

Good Roads bring Bad People
Bad Roads bring Good People

#5
Laura Miles

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I agree with you, it does look kinda busy. Where was it that I heard, "a map is finished when you can take nothing more off of it"? It has been my mantra ever since.
It seems that the orange-y irregular shaped polygons are your watersheds, but the symbology doesn't really say that- I would use some shade of blue or green rather than a warm toned color. Though I like the way you've graded the boundaries out towards transparency there, nice effect. Also, the stippled fill on Lake Erie and the water bodies is really distracting.
Currently, I think the pink fill of the political boundaries is stealing the focus- I would lighten that way up so it's not so dominant. Also there's something going wrong with this boundary where it meets Lake Erie, there is some white space showing through.
Lots of your text is overlapping or on boundaries when it doesn't need to be- manually placing text is time consuming but I think it really pays off. For example the label for Cleveland is sitting on top of a river, but there's a ton of empty space on either side that it could go to. I would put labels like "East Cleveland" and "Cleveland Heights" onto two lines so they don't look so crunched. This will help with that busy look.
Is it possible to change it to portrait orientation? Just because the area of focus is taller than it is wide.
Good luck!
Laura

#6
Hans van der Maarel

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Google Docs Download (.pdf file, 47.5MB)


Can you perhaps post some jpg's of certain parts of the map here? I think more people would respond if they didn't have to download a 47 Mb PDF.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#7
Laura Miles

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I'd like to see your changes, but I don't think this Google Docs link is working...it just takes me to the page for signing up for a Google Docs account.

#8
Christina Z.

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I'd like to see your changes, but I don't think this Google Docs link is working...it just takes me to the page for signing up for a Google Docs account.


Hmm, yes. I'll shrink the map a bit per Hans's recommendation and re-post it through something different after I noodle with some of the ideas you gave me, Laura. Thanks!

-Christina

#9
mikeb226

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so, how'd it work out?

Would like to see an updated version....

#10
MapMedia

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Historic Chagrin (Picture about 2MB)

I work as a watershed coordinator and make watershed maps all day. Most of the time they need to be pretty cut and dry. Nothing fancy, nothing special. They just have to show the communities around the watershed, the watershed's drainage divides, important political boundaries (counties, townships, etc), and relevant waterbodies and waterways.

I decided to make a new watershed map for the Chagrin River Watershed, which drains to Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. This time around, I wanted to make sure it still showed relevant information, but was kinda fun to look at to boot. I found the "Historical" package from ESRI's resource site and ran with it. The municipalities and townships were done with the "parchment" fills from that package. I created my own buffered fills for the shoreline hatches and the sub-watershed boundaries.

I like the way it's going for the most part. I do worry that it's too busy, and it's hard to label the communities and sub-watersheds in a manner that fits everything in neatly and legibly. Also does anyone know of any good "sea monster" font or image packages that I could use for this? The Historical package came with some good ships and hills but no monsters!

-CZ

Christina,

I think you are on the right track, in the sense you have a passion and desire for making a beautiful map, not the staid hum-drum maps you may typically make. And this is a great energy to harness. I love that you have a sense of romance about the watershed (i.e., seamonsters) and are eager to learn (posting at Cartotalk).

I remember my first watershed wall map for stakeholders was a side project I just 'had to do'. I leaned back in chair and thought real hard what information the users would want from a poster, detailed map of their watershed. Then it hit me - hydrology, stream names, some place/highway references, stakeholder info (county areas) and some topography, as long as it didn't muck things up. I had a lot of praise of my map with many direct calls to me that people were using my map at watershed meetings.

If you were a user of the 'best wall map of the Chagrin River Watershed' - what info would you want to get a very clear picture of?

Thanks for sharing!




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