Bike Grand Rapids Map
Posted 18 August 2011 - 11:41 PM
I recently completed an overhaul of the bicycle map for the Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan area. Formerly published by the City of Grand Rapids, it is now a publication of a local bicycle coalition. The basic composition of the map was retained, but cartographically it was redrawn from the ground up. It's been a rather popular map over its first four editions (2002-2008) and the bike group hopes the additions of features like singletrack networks (mountain-biking), additional points of interest, and expanded geographic coverage will help continue that tradition.
I created the entire publication myself with the exceptions of taking the map cover photograph and the re-use of the safety/etiquette symbols from the previous edition. GIS data assembly and basemap construction occurred in ArcGIS 9 before I exported it to Adobe Illustrator CS4 for final cartographic production.
You can view/download both PDF and JPEG versions of the map at http://www.chrisbessert.org/bikegr/ . (The 2008 4th Edition, the last one produced by the City of Grand Rapids, can be found at http://www.grand-rapids.mi.us/2665 )
I would love ANY feedback, constructive criticism and ideas for future enhancements. The online version of the map will be kept updated as changes and corrections come in and it may be possibly ported to the mobile environment in one way or another. The Coalition also hopes to be able to print a new edition in the next 12 months, depending on how fast the existing stock is depleted.
Thanks so much,
Christopher J. Bessert
Posted 19 August 2011 - 07:14 AM
An obvious must for cyclist of Grand Rapids.
You can tell a lot of work went into text placement and readability.
I like your use of number references to name roads in clustered areas.
I only looked at the front side,
But here are my comments,
1. Maybe consider using a dash line for ALL Planned bike route.
2. Alphonsus Es (note the use of the lower case s). All other ES are in caps.
3. I am not a fan of advertising on maps, it down plays your cartographic work (actually it literally cuts it off). But this was probably a necessary evil.
4. Also because this map is to be used as 'take' along map, I would consider adding lat long values.
Posted 19 August 2011 - 08:30 AM
I agree with Jacques about using dashed lines for all planned lines. With all the solid linework, and with some of the colors a little difficult to distinguish (maybe even more so for individuals with some forms of color "blindness"), I think it could be a little difficult to pick out usable existing routes from the planned ones that may not be "optimal" for bicycles at time of publication. (of course, some colors will look fairly different on screen vs. in a printed publication).
Should there be some hierarchy to the various line symbols?
It might just be me, but as a bicyclist I never thought or cared much about lat/long while cycling or planning a cycling route. I'm more interested in how bike friendly a particular route or section of a route is. That includes things like steepness, separation of bike lanes or paths from motorized traffic, busy-ness of motorized traffic, and maybe scenicness of the route.
Posted 19 August 2011 - 09:23 AM
You are probably right about the use of lat long on a bike map. Not really useful, while knowing where steeps hill are along paths is. For the lat long use, I was thinking more in terms of complementing information for those who have GPS in their smart phones etc. It would be interesting to see what other think.
Posted 19 August 2011 - 01:05 PM
Posted 19 August 2011 - 04:26 PM
Hi Chris - nice map, thanks for posting it here. I can see you've already put a lot of thought and effort into it.
I would love ANY feedback, constructive criticism and ideas for future enhancements.
Personally, I suffer just a bit from information overload. I think it's mostly due to colors being used for features that are not all that relevant to a bike map. So here's what I would experiment with:
On the front side, you might consider making the interstates and highways white lines, just like all the other non-bike arterials (at first glance, those pinkish lines look like they might be some classification of bike route). You might also eliminate the different-color background fill for incorporated cities. Also, you've got vastly-different colors for various types of POI: blue for schools and hospitals, red for other public buildings. Instead, maybe just go with a single color for all POI.
On the back side, Kent Co. map: maybe eliminate the yellow fill for incorporated cities, and instead, use fill color to emphasize which areas of the map are covered at more detail (I don't think the pinkish lines are quite doing the trick by themselves). I'd try leaving the background color white, except for the detail portions. For those, use the same beige color background that you used on the detail maps. I think that will have the added effect of helping users understand the relationship between the county map and the detail maps.
Communities that have high-quality bike maps are fortunate, and I'd say Grand Rapids is in for a real treat.
professionally: cartographics manager for Dex One
personally: cartophile and road-geek (my website)
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