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Indistinct Natural Boundary - Best representation technique?

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#1
snowgage

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I am working on a political map of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The boundary of the GYE is not a set political boundary and loosely follows natural features and administrative boundaries. In the high-res example below I've used a solid, blue line. Have a look and let me know your thoughts on the boundary line. I am also looking for any other feedback on the map. FYI - I still need to fill out the legend a bit more with some logos etc.

http://dl.dropbox.co...C_GYA_12_06.pdf

My client would like to explore other options of representing the boundary that display it as being less distinct.

I've tried no-outline with an inner glow which is nice but does not feel quite right
Posted Image

I've also tried some illy brushes from the chalk collection that seem to work a little better
Posted Image

Any other suggestions for representing this type of boundary?

thanks in advance,

Josh

#2
David Medeiros

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It's part of the nature of mapping that "fuzzy", undefined boundaries must become defined if we are to visualize them on screen or paper. A very general not very detailed looking polygon over an area usually signifies a non-specific region in my mind and I think your first example seems to accomplish that. I like the inner glow version, but it could be a higher resolution (I see a lot of pixelation on my end). I would make sure that the map notes in the legend that this is an undefined boundary. I'd also try to use a geographic feature style label to help identify it as a region type of extent (like you would for a chain of mountains).If you don't like the way the inner glow looks by itself add back a very thin solid boundary line on the outside to help define it.

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#3
ravells

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I'm not a professional cartographer or anything, but maybe you could bring it into photoshop and using a soft mask have the GYE in colour and the rest in grayscale?

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#4
snowgage

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I'm not a professional cartographer or anything, but maybe you could bring it into photoshop and using a soft mask have the GYE in colour and the rest in grayscale?


Thats a great suggestion.. I forgot to mention I'd also used that as a previous method, masking everything outside the GYE with some transparent white/black. Areas outside the boundary are equally important to the client so I had to steer away from that technique..

-j

#5
DaveB

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How about a dotted (not dashed) outline? Maybe make the spacing between dots a bit irregular, or at least a bit more space between dots than the actual dot size?
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#6
ravells

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I'm not a professional cartographer or anything, but maybe you could bring it into photoshop and using a soft mask have the GYE in colour and the rest in grayscale?


Thats a great suggestion.. I forgot to mention I'd also used that as a previous method, masking everything outside the GYE with some transparent white/black. Areas outside the boundary are equally important to the client so I had to steer away from that technique..

-j



Thanks!

What is the tolerance of uncertainty of the boundary? 1 mile? 5 miles? between x and y miles? unknown? I ask because it may be worth having your 'fuzzy boundary' at least conform to the erm, level of fuzziness. Do you have a copy of the map without the line on which I can play with and post my results here? (It'll save me from clone stamping out the line as I perform my experiments!).

cheers

Ravs

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#7
Laura Miles

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On another note, I just noticed that you have an Indian Reserve on your map...if it's appropriate, I would consider changing that to Native American Reserve. Unless it belongs to one of those bands that does refer to itself as an Indian Band, can't tell if the name may be partially cut off above.
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#8
snowgage

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I'm not a professional cartographer or anything, but maybe you could bring it into photoshop and using a soft mask have the GYE in colour and the rest in grayscale?


Thats a great suggestion.. I forgot to mention I'd also used that as a previous method, masking everything outside the GYE with some transparent white/black. Areas outside the boundary are equally important to the client so I had to steer away from that technique..

-j



Thanks!

What is the tolerance of uncertainty of the boundary? 1 mile? 5 miles? between x and y miles? unknown? I ask because it may be worth having your 'fuzzy boundary' at least conform to the erm, level of fuzziness. Do you have a copy of the map without the line on which I can play with and post my results here? (It'll save me from clone stamping out the line as I perform my experiments!).

cheers

Ravs


I wouldn't say that the tolerance of uncertainty could be defined in this case.

Here's an example without the boundary, experiment away..

http://dl.dropbox.co..._06_nobound.pdf

#9
snowgage

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On another note, I just noticed that you have an Indian Reserve on your map...if it's appropriate, I would consider changing that to Native American Reserve. Unless it belongs to one of those bands that does refer to itself as an Indian Band, can't tell if the name may be partially cut off above.
Laura


You can see the whole name of the reservation in the larger pdf file. The two boundary example are just snippets..

#10
Bryan Swindell

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Hi Josh!

Looking good so far... I like the idea of using "ghosting" over parts of the map that are not the focus. Here, you could mask everything beyond the GYE boundary with a transparent white or beige, and just have it fade away at the GYE boundary. You should be able to keep the transparency high enough such that the features underneath are legible, especially with such contrasty symbology. Sounds like that wasn't working for you though. Another option would be to have a look at HUC boundaries and see if you can define the GYE that way; then, pair up the HUC-based boundary with a faint hillshaded terrain model underneath it all. That might have a neat look to it.

Cheers!
-B

#11
Pete

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There seems to be a trend in the industry for clients that delight in watching cartographers turn pale at the thought of trying to render a "fuzzy boundary" >>shudder<< :( ;)

If you have a root around in your Illustrator ink brush pallette you should turn up three marker pen brushes that look very much like highligher pen strokes - they might be quite effective for this sort of thing. They're called Marker, Marker - rough and Marker - smooth.

Also, if you're feeling creative you could take a look at the scribble effect in Illustrator but be warned - it's moreish!

Attached File  scribbly.gif   11.84KB   43 downloads

Take your rough outline and treat it to the scribble effect at 30 degrees with quite tight spacing. Duplicate your shape with the effect and alter the effect to 20 degrees or somthing a little different than the original. This will fill any gaps where the line ofyour shape follows the same angle as your scribble. Once you have your two shapes you can expand their appearance and then apply the marker pen brush to your outlines. In the example above I just did the two shapes in black and multiplied them with the background but you get the idea. The neat thing with this effect is that you get a nice caligraphic effect with the tickness of the stroke changing over the shape.

#12
David Medeiros

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I may be the oddball here, but in cases like this I often think its better to educate your clients (and map users) about the nature of map representation and generalization rather than give in to their notion of what a fuzzy boundary should look like. This is the type of exercise that often leads the cartographer down an ever lengthening series of "lets try this effect..." that eventually leads back to the original, simple straight forward approach and to the discovery that not every feature on a map should be rendered as a literal translation of itself.

This is one of those cases where what the line represents, an uncertain boundary, is best described in the legend or a map note rather than in the line itself. That said if the client still wants to try a new approach you should of course indulge them (to a point). But it's worth trying to get them to think about the work a little before reacting to it.

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#13
AndyM

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... maybe you could bring it into photoshop and using a soft mask have the GYE in colour and the rest in grayscale?


Good idea, if the other map layers are relatively simple. Here's an example.

http://www.canadiang...l_maps/1700.asp

#14
MapMedia

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A faded area or dashed line.

#15
Gretchen Peterson

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I call these types of features "fuzzy features" and I tend toward the dashed line approach. I like the dashes to be about half the size of the space in-between the dashes. If the feature boundary is rather squiggly (that's an extremely technical term, I know), then the dashes will take on a harried appearance which would be just about right for this. That said, the other techniques mentioned here would be worth a try as well.




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