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The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

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Hi Amy,

A couple of notes:

  • Perhaps making use of different font styles would help differentiate what elements are being labeled on the map. I am finding that between roads, rivers, parcels, etc. it is difficult to discern between them because of similar fonts being used. Think as if you were completing this map in B&W...could the reader still understand what is being labeled and where?
  • The "Sacramento River Deep...." has a road line running through it. Maybe placing it on the NW side of the channel would work better
  • I am not a fan of rotating road shields to be parallel with roads, but that is your call.
  • Not sure what the purpose of the map is, but your logo is a bit big unless it is strictly for portfolio/marketing purposes.
  • The linework on some of the creeks is a bit intermittent and spotty. Maybe you should spend some time researching your data to see why this is. Is the stream data only showing perrennial sections of the streams? There are quite a few "stream fragments" that are orphaned.
  • Sacramento River annotation is overlapping the river
  • I agree with a past comment that your hydrology symbology doesn't match. It seems your major hydro data is darker than you minor hydro data, which is strange because the bay in the lower left is light in color, but a major water body
  • Overall, I like the style and colors. However, there is significant work that needs to be done to the linework, especially the hydro and attention needs to be paid to style and placement of annotation. It seems that the basedata was exported from ArcGIS without much processing in your graphics program.

Thanks for posting!

Thanks for your comments, BioGeoMan!

I'll look into my hydro data further. The data come from the California Spatial Information Library. According to the metadata, the features were digitized from USGS topo maps. I'm downloading some of those maps now to see which features I may be missing.

What exactly do you mean by the linework of the hydro data? I spent a lot of time in Illustrator working on the various map layers, but I can't say that I did much to the lines themselves, other than alter the color and transparency. What sorts of things would you recommend?


Note that there are multiple areas where streams are orphaned, meaning they don't flow into successively larger streams (stream orders). I would continue to look at the topo maps to see if you can digitize the orphaned streams into the system, or if it makes more sense to delete them.

Michael Scisco

Albuquerque, NM


Amy Smith

Amy Smith


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I see you are using a font which have text figures, that is, numbers that both have descenders and ascenders. The purpose of these is partly to prevent the numbers to stand out too much in running text, compared to numbers written with lining figures.

Personally, I find text figure less suitable for cartography - a map doesn't have running text, although in some cases, they may provide some character to a map. However, on number shields, they are unsuitable in my opinion.


Wow, I think you're totally right. I don't know much about fonts, so that's something I hadn't thought of. It's easy to look at fonts and simply think, "Hey! That looks neat!", without really understanding that some types serve a very practical purpose. And I was using that one incorrectly. I worked that into my last batch of edits, along with some path smoothing (thanks David Madeiros for the tips on your website). I also fixed up the scale text (thanks Hasdrubal). I'm continuing to work in everyone's comments. Many, many thanks. I'm learning a lot from you guys!


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