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Best map ever?


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#1
rudy

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Of course, we can debate whether or not this is the best paper map of the US you'll ever see but it is nice to see this kind of coverage of a map on the Internet. I'm curious as to what software he used.

#2
David Medeiros

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Here's a link to an existing thread on this: http://www.cartotalk...wtopic=7831&hl=

I think he uses AI now but not sure. His old Oregon map (not the current version) was done entirely by hand and I think it was his best work> I really like his hand done shaded relief on that. I'll have to pick up a copy of the new map as soon as his site is unclogged!

You're right BTW, this is generally good press for our profession and its nice to see a solo map maker take such an award.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#3
mapfax

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It is great to see a map like this being compared to a mainstream map, such as the National Geographic map of the United States at www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2012/01/the_best_american_wall_map_david_imus_the_essential_geography_of_the_united_stat
es_of_america_.html.

My favorite design feature of the Imus map is showing the extent of urban areas. This makes it superior to the National Geographic map. The time zone line symbol is great content, but I would suggest a different color for this line symbol, perhaps red, so it is easier to see. I would also make the airports and their letters a different color to avoid blending into the darkness of the surrounding black type. These are minor criticisms of a great map product.

#4
pfyfield

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In the other thread the topic has become paper vs. digital. Perhaps in this thread we can, as Rudy says, debate whether this is indeed the "best paper map of the US you'll ever see."

I do not intend for this to sound too critical or negative. I have seen David Imus speak twice recently, at NACIS in Madison and at a Portland State cartography symposium a short while later. I think we all as cartographers are accustomed to criticism, or should be. It makes us better.

What struck me both times (not surprisingly as it was the same presentation), and I guess I have to be blunt here, was a self-congratulatory tone for having essentially re-invented cartography. His own website calls this "the only map of basic US geography." How do we all feel about this? Is this really accurate?

When he gets into the specifics, he talks about things like altering color, font style, orientation. Visual variables such as these are discussed in the first chapter of almost every cartography book written in the last one hundred years, I would imagine. He points out that at some scales features (a river was his example) are better represented as a line symbol rather than a polygon. Generalization. That might not come up until chapter two of my old carto textbook. These are basic cartographic concepts that we all employ every day. David Imus did not invent them.

He compares portions of his maps to other maps without acknowledging that other maps might have a different purpose. A road map, for instance, might not have the same base information as his. It is not necessarily inferior. It just has a different purpose.

I am not saying his is a bad map. I’ve seen better and I’ve seen a lot worse. And I do not begrudge him his publicity. I do however feel that superlative terms like “best “and “only” should not be so hastily applied.
Paul Fyfield
Cartographer, Bureau of Land Management
Oregon State Office
Portland, Oregon
pfyfield@blm.gov

#5
MapMedia

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I ordered a few copies, and I have not seen him talk yet, but considering he has been in the profession since 1983, he is an authority (not THE authority).

#6
David Medeiros

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I have also never heard him speak, although we have exchanged a few emails. I found him to be personable and enthusiastic about what he is doing.

I have some of the same criticisms as Paul but in my case I aim them at the articles written about the map (Slate & Gizmodo). I think they have somewhat inflated the nature of the work, not that their description of Davids work isn't accurate but that it's ascribable to most cartographers who work in a manual-digital style. 2 years is just how long it takes to make a map like this when working alone in that manner (perhaps shorter for some, longer I'm sure for me!). The editorial on the map suggests that this process and dedication is unique to Imus, which it of course is not. It would have been nice if the articles had tied this work to the broader map making community by suggesting that if this is the kind of work you like, there are still cartographers out there in addition to Imus who do it on a regular basis. But you have to take what you can get and I think this is good press for the profession as a whole.

As to "best", well of course not. It's just a superlative for headlines sake (and a reference to the award them map won, "best in show" CaZGIS 2010). A "really very good map of the US" just won't pull in the readers the same way! ;)

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#7
pfyfield

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David, you make a good point. It's the media using the term "best."

Imus uses the word "only," as in "the only map of basic US geography," on his website. This implies there are no other maps..not one, none, none at all...that display "basic US geography."

That is not raising the field of cartography. That is denigrating it.
Paul Fyfield
Cartographer, Bureau of Land Management
Oregon State Office
Portland, Oregon
pfyfield@blm.gov

#8
Dennis McClendon

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Indeed, I raised an eyebrow back at the NACIS conference when he described his personal cultural choices as the only map of essential geography for student use. That seemed like quite a slap at folks such as National Geographic or Nystrom who put considerable resources into expanding their cultural horizons, consulting with educators, cross-checking sources, and editing their work compulsively.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#9
rudy

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"Best," as it is turns out, is a useful and successful marketing tool. As all of us cartographers knows, there are different purposes, uses, constraints etc. that determine how the map looks. We can all agree that it is a good map, probably a really good map (can't confirm that as I don't have a copy). Let's keep in mind that the media gets excited about the best things and the online media especially gets excited about someone spending 2 years on a single project! Really, in the instant world of the Internet that sounds unheard of.

For us professionals, we can all cast a skeptical eye at all the press and know that there are tweaks that could be made to improve it, depending on our own preferences. As I said in my original post, it is great to see this sort of coverage for a single map. Unfortunately it ignores all the rest of us who have laboured as long and as lovingly on our projects.

#10
Dennis McClendon

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Looks like the publicity paid off for Imus:

A labor of love finally validated
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#11
rudy

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Looks like the publicity paid off for Imus:

A labor of love finally validated


Definitely deserved. I'm not sure how many of us would be willing to spend 2 years working on the same project and go in to debt that much with no promise of success.

This is not to say that Imus doesn't deserve kudos for the work he's done - he certainly does - but it seems that, once again, it's who you know, not what you do. In this case, it seems that the article in slate saved him from penury. Good for him.

#12
Jacques Gélinas

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Thousands of copies sold.
Well deserved sucess.

Jacques Gélinas
cartographer
www.cartesgeo.ca





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