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Vermont Long Trail Map

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#1
RyanM

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Hi All,

First post here in the Map Gallery.

This is intended to show the general location of the trail. The author does not feel that many specific place names or POIs are necessary, though I'm inclined to add a few, such as a few peak names as points of reference.

It's one of a series of maps for trails of a variety of lengths, from 30 miles to a few hundred, so I think I need to be somewhat consistent in the level of detail at multiple scales. I still need to add a few things (north arrow, scale bar ,etc)

Thanks for your thoughts.

-Ryan

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#2
David Medeiros

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Hi Ryan. Looks good. I have just a few suggestions.

First, I would extend the highways into Canada. Also I would differentiate the boarder symbols between states and nations, right now they are the same dash pattern and thickness (as far as I can tell).

I think you did a good job on the labels, there are distinct separations of label classes by type style. I would look over the city names and move them around a bit - pull them off the line-work where ever possible, use a knock out to break the roads where you can't move the label. I'd break Saratoga Springs, Glen Falls, and Lake Champlain into two lines. The state labels look ok but I would increase the letter s p a c i n g to make them stretch across their territory. Green Mountains label could probably be a darker color and maybe slightly smaller font. And I would label your trail twice.

On the roads the highways are really prominent and the major roads are really subdued. I might try to lighten up the highways and darken the major roads, but keep both somewhat more in the background, since the train seems to be the focus of the map.

You appear to be missing Lake George. You could add some other hydrographic detail as well, but not sure of the final dimensions so this may be too much detail.

And finally, if you have control over the terrain output I might try to up the vertical exaggeration a bit, maybe 1.5x, then use some photo shop filters to smooth out the details. Also think about turning down the saturation on the terrain color.

On a more experimental note, if you have the time, try this map in gray scale. I think its a perfect candidate for conversion and would look great without the color, but that's just me!

Good job.

David

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#3
RyanM

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Many thanks, David. You confirmed my feeling on several things.

I'd have to double check but I think I did set the vertical exaggeration at 1.5 in NSD -- mountains are just smaller here on the East Coast! :)

And I smoothed the terrain in PS, but should maybe smooth a bit more. I used Gaussian Blur. Would you recommend another tool/method (I recall seeing a post on this subject a while back, so can refer to that also)?

Thanks again for the feedback.

-Ryan

#4
razornole

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I think that you could make Vermont stand out more, if these are going to be a series of maps on Vermont's trails. As it stands the borders are kinda lost with Lake Champlain and I-91. Maybe try using a different color hypsographic tint for Vermont.

Why are some roads labeled and other aren't. Why so much emphasis on the interstates?

I think that a title would help, unless of course there is a caption or something similar that will accompany the map.

kru
"Ah, to see the world with the eyes of the gods is geography--to know cities and tribes, mountains and rivers, earth and sea, this is our gift."
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#5
David Medeiros

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Many thanks, David. You confirmed my feeling on several things.

I'd have to double check but I think I did set the vertical exaggeration at 1.5 in NSD -- mountains are just smaller here on the East Coast! :)

And I smoothed the terrain in PS, but should maybe smooth a bit more. I used Gaussian Blur. Would you recommend another tool/method (I recall seeing a post on this subject a while back, so can refer to that also)?

Thanks again for the feedback.

-Ryan


You could always add a little more exaggeration. Terrain that is at (or close to ) its natural height tends to look flat on a map. Another option would be to play with the shadow setting in NSD to increase shadow contrast. In my NSD to PS workflow I usually keep the NSD results a little on the darker side and use PS to lighten it up to where I want it.

For smoothing in PS I use several steps. First (after adjusting hue & saturation) I use the Median filter to reduce the small details in the terrain. I then use the Surface Blur filter to increase the faceting effect on the terrain. Then I do a Gaussian Blur at 1 or 2 just to blend the terrain details together. You'll have to play with the settings on all of these tools to see what you like but I tend to keep them fairly low.

Good luck.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#6
Dennis McClendon

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Why is the trail dashed if it's the subject of the map? Why not just make it deep green, with the yellow casing if you like?

Letterspacing is a good way to extend a label such as _G R E E N _ M O U N T A I N S_ properly over a long feature. The US highway shields, being white, pop to the foreground when they shouldn't. Those could be just a dark gray outline with no fill.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#7
DaveB

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Besides the other comments about labeling work and such, the terrain seems rather dark to me. Very little lightness or contrast to help emphasize the terrain. I wonder if lightening up the part of the terrain that lies within Vermont would help with that and focus the reader's attention on Vermont as well.
Dave Barnes
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#8
RyanM

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Hi folks,

Just getting back to this now. Thanks for your feedback. I've included an updated version here.

I upped the vertical exaggeration and played around with some blurring techniques in PS, along with some of the other suggestions here.

This is the only Vermont map, and some of the other maps will cross state and international borders, so it didn't make sense to me to mask out any portion of the map in any way.

I think I'll tone down the highway symbols some more. Make the interstate symbols a gray-scale of some kind, but I'm not inclined to make the shield fill completely transparent.

Thanks again
Ryan

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#9
Dennis McClendon

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My only real criticism is that the trail apparently crashes into a tall fence at both ends of the state. Is this really true? Perhaps the red line could continue but not the yellow? Also it's traditional to use uppercase for letterspaced features such as_G R E E N _ M O U N T A I N S_. Long Trail would be better if it were one uppercase label spread along the length of the trail, probably in the yellow or red rather than black.

More as observation than criticism:
I wonder if you realize how much visual redundancy is in this map? The water is not just a different color from the land, it's outlined in yet a third color. The borders are not a simple light gray dash, but a dash on top of another line, and this is distracting where it's so close to I-91. The town dots have an outline. The highway shields have one. Even the state names look like they might. I realize some of this is simply a matter of mimicking an expected set of styles, but I always ask "what does the eye gain from seeing two edges rather than one?"
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#10
HappyMaps

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Hi All. Just hopped on board CartoTalk!

Ryan, I agree with the observations from Dennis. Visually I prefer the state boundaries from your first rendition posted over the line with a dash over top. Particularly as it appears over Lake Champlain. Perhaps the gray line underneath the lighter dash could be the color of a single dashed line for the boundaries. It seems that the color would still hold up over the green terrain. Also, I would recommend making "Green Mountains" more visible, part of the lettering gets a little lost (maybe making the color just a bit darker)--and I agree with the caps for "Long Trail" and "Green Mountains."

As for the townships, all of the location labels outside of Vermont, in NY, NH, and MA could possibly be smaller. I find my eyes moving to the left and right to read the town names (especially because their dot points, as Dennis pointed out, are highlighted with the light colored ring). I do not sense their significance for emphasizing the Long Trail. In fact, for hikers, towns closer to the trail would be more useful to know about. However, I do not think you need to add any more town names unless they are a very small font. I do think the map looks much better with the dull color for highways when compared with the first map you posted.

As a Vermont native, I think you have displayed it quite nicely. I have given a ride to LT hikers coming through town, so it brings back some good memories ... very friendly folks :)

I hope you are having a beautiful autumn!

Genuinely,
Tori

#11
RyanM

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Clearly, I've been working on this in fits and starts!

Thanks Dennis and Tori for your suggestions. I see your points about the visual redundancy. But at the same time, some of these seem like fairly common (or at least, not unusual) cartographic conventions. Maybe they just don't work well with the darkish terrain (I've since lightened it a bit more)? Or maybe visual complexity is more of a problem for background features?

At any rate, I'll continue to tweak them as I move forward.

Thanks again

#12
clickinaway

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Clearly, I've been working on this in fits and starts!

Thanks Dennis and Tori for your suggestions. I see your points about the visual redundancy. But at the same time, some of these seem like fairly common (or at least, not unusual) cartographic conventions. Maybe they just don't work well with the darkish terrain (I've since lightened it a bit more)? Or maybe visual complexity is more of a problem for background features?

At any rate, I'll continue to tweak them as I move forward.

Thanks again



any updates on this?

I' think you could do well to emphasize Vermont a bit more or rather de-emphasize the surrounding states a bit. (keep in mind this is coming from a very Vermont centric person ;) ).

I may have missed it, but is this just going to be a small insert in a larger product?




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