Map Design Patterns?
Posted 16 December 2011 - 01:11 PM
I've been wondering if the concept of software design patterns can be applied to cartography. My first thought was that there is no pattern to cartography. Each map is too unique to discern any patterns. But then I thought that if the idea was approached from a solutions stand-point, that it might be feasible.
A list of common map design solutions might be something that can be readily researched and organized. I'm wondering if anyone has ever thought about doing this before - I do not want to reinvent the wheel. Or, if nobody has done it, what might be the objections to doing so?
Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:43 PM
It's not exactly a collection of "solutions" to common map design problems but similar perhaps. Do you have any examples of what you envision a design solution might look like?
For my part I think the idea of codifying best practices is a good idea, as long as they include the necessary wiggle room to handle the variety of design issues that any given map may face. Creating too specific a solution means having to create a greater number of solutions since there is so much flexibility in map design over all. Solutions would have to avoid being set up as rules for processing map design issues. If there is one thing this forum has taught me its that traditional map design rules can often be broken to great effect.
GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 06:32 PM
Just as you brought up - the fear is that it becomes too much of a template approach whereas it should just be a starting point. One wouldn't want to stifle creative solutions that differ from standard approaches as there seems to be much room for invention, as you've also pointed out.
In this way it would be different than a list of commonly accepted tips and tricks. It would be a whole-map composition patterns that have been successful in the past.
The only thing I've found so far that seems to match this idea (and I can't access the actual paper) is this thesis here: , which I'm going to try and get a copy of.
Thanks for your thoughts!
Posted 16 December 2011 - 07:31 PM
He created an interactive website for help in determining the appropriate way to visualize data (including some spatial representations), but my mind keeps referring to the image I saw of his Pattern Browser which I can't find anywhere with the exception of Kelso's blog post.
co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com
Posted 18 December 2011 - 08:56 PM
Posted 21 December 2011 - 05:04 PM
This is something I'm looking at in my own research. I'd like to discuss this further with you offline if that's OK.
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