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#1
Rick Dey

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I've been toying with the thought of submitting one of our maps for open critique from the group here for a while. Since we have a style that has evolved over the years here there isn't a lot of radical new ideas in the forms of our maps and we have a pretty well honed the style into something we are comfortable with, and are generally proud of the quality and detail.

Recently one of our associated clubs provided us with some copies of a new map from a series they are producing and we spent a fair amount of time analyzing it asking ourselves a lot of questions as to why did they do this or that and reasons for some of the design decisions. As we did so we realized that our view was biased by the style that we have developed and come to know over the years. Perhaps what we need is for some fresh eyes to look at our maps.

With that in mind I'm posting a link to a zipped PDF (1.8MB) that I invite you to look at and provide some feedback. This is a regional map of the Los Angeles Metro area, the reverse of a Sectional map that covers most all of Southern California at a scale of 1" = 9 mi. You'll find items in the index that refer to the reverse of the map.

This is typical of the Regional map that we provide our AAA members in the scale between detailed Street maps and the more generalized Sectional maps.

Download the File Here:
http://homepage.mac....ion.pdf-zip.zip

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Rick Dey

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Rick,

First of all, could you post an unzipped PDF? Zipping it doesn't really make it much smaller and it's an extra step to download and open a zipfile.

My first impression of the map is 'wow', followed by 'I know this' (AA-type maps are quite well-known, even over here).

I think that given the complexity of the region, the amount of information to show and the space to show it, this is really a very good way of doing that. Looking at it for a longer time, I start seeing all kinds of clever rules that obviously went into the design.

One thing I'm often missing on US-style maps is a distinction between built-up and 'open' areas. May be a cultural difference, as I'm used to seeing that on European maps.

Seeing this makes me wish I could post some samples of the maps produced by our 'AA'. I'll contact them and see if I can persuade them.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#3
mike

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I like it, looks better than the current AAA map that I have!

#4
Kevin McManigal

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Guys and Gals, it reminds me of a Thomas Guide. I used to use them all the time to navigate around the freeways and avoid the traffic in LA. They did a nice job with details, and I since I grew up here, I can pick out places that are not shown on most maps. Pleasantly surprised! Kevin
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#5
Martin Gamache

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My only issues with AAA maps in general is the spacing between street names and suffixes. It is IMO often to long and you end up looking at ladders of Blvd or Dr down the grid and at the other end of the streets ladders of names. This can make it hard to figure out which street is which.

The other thing I often find lacking which is not an issue in this case is often public transit stops and routes (subways,not buses) are not marked. I realise it is a driving club, but I often use both on a trip.

The best part of AAA maps for members is that they are one sheet and they are free. I always felt that was a bit of a compromise because I always want something more detailed once I am actually there trying to use the map.

Can you post the other map for comparison?

#6
Rick Dey

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Thanks for the comments so far.

Hans
Sorry about the zipped file, this is an unfortunate feature of using my dot Mac account for file sharing. The system tends to automatically zip uploaded files even thought this pdf had already been pretty well optimized.
Your observation of all the rules that went into the design and classification is the result of an evolution of standards that have developed over the years. With 10 cartographers working on various maps at times and over time a single title being updated by a different individual at each update, to maintain consistency our standards guide is substantial, if not ever changing.
Many other US publishers will show the built-up areas or city limits on their maps of this scale but we found it to be one item for us that we felt to be an unnecessary detail.

Mike
Thanks for the good word, unfortunately for the Southern California members they receive a different map, see my description of the club relationships below.

Martin
Good point on the spacing, we have some disagreement on this very topic within our ranks, some preferring the uniformity and definition of the beginning & end of a road name, others believing its too structured.
Our street maps do show the transit systems (not busses) and a few of our regionals also show them, this one however shows only the passenger rail lines (however as I say that I realize its not shown in the legend).
We do have the next level of detail maps (street) available for most areas in our territory, you may not be able to get it from an office out of the area however.
Since the other map does not belong to us I'm not at liberty to post it, sorry.

A quick background on AAA and maps. There are currently over 60 clubs throughout the country and only two of them produce their own maps, us (California State Automobile Assoc.) and Auto Club of Southern California (which also includes Hawaii, New Mexico, & Texas {with recent acquisitions of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Missouri, & Louisiana}). All others either purchase their maps from other map companies or the national master AAA organization in Florida. So throughout the country there tends to be some uniformity in the maps produced by National, and regionally by us and ACSC. But each of us is our own entity and develops our own styles and designs. Sometimes there will be titles that overlap other's territories and we will distribute our own map to our members rather than buy it from others. We currently publish nearly 100 titles and update them on a 18 month cycle in addition to special projects and new products.
Rick Dey

#7
Nick Springer

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Overall an amazing amount of detail.

I have to comment on the point symbols used: you use an open circle for larger pop. places and a filled square for smaller ones, but on the map the smaller ones are visually much stronger and stand out. Similarly the filled circle for attractions stands out as well as being confused as a pop. place since it is a circle like the large places.

I would recommend keeping the same shape for pop. places and using a filled symbols for larger places and on open one for smaller places.

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Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC





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