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#1
A. Fenix

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Hello everyone,

I need some good cartographic eyes on a couple of maps that for some reason are stumping me. They are draft range maps for wolves and coyotes in the PNW that will be in a book that is soon to be published (12 maps in total). This work has been done on my own time (more or less pro-bono), and i simply have way too much on my plate at the moment to keep scratching my head on how to make this more clear to the map reader, without resorting to a striped overlap or some such thing. Aka, i could really use the wealth of expertise on cartotalk. All feedback and map examples will be greatly appreciated!

Keep mapping,

Analisa

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#2
Gretchen Peterson

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Perhaps I'm being daft but the map location box is confusing the heck out of me. Is it correct?

I like the diamond shaped color boxes in the key, no real reason, just like them. They're different.

The shading/texture is really nice - love it, especially the blue tones on the water. The blues and greens go well together. I think there's plenty of contrast between the historic and current colors, personally. I was going to suggest doing some kind of pop-out effect, but I really don't think that's necessary.

Minor point: I would label Strait of Juan de Fuca instead of Puget Sound. For one thing the Puget Sound label goes beyond the actual sound, so to remedy that you might as well label the larger water-body (the Strait) instead. Are the highways necessary? The Canadian symbols seem to pop out a bit too much. Other than those items, I'd say the maps work quite well.

#3
David Medeiros

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Hi Analisa,

What are the specific issues you are running into? Stylistically these look pretty good to me. I like the subtle earthy colors and limited base map content. What size are the maps going to print as? What print process (print quality)?

Unless these will print at large page size (for a book) or be printed in very high resolution and perhaps semi gloss or glossy (magazine style), I think there may be too much detail in some of the terrain features. If I were working on this I might experiment with a down-sampled elevation model for terrain shading and I would increase vertical exaggeration a little. This would reduce the detail level making it more suitable for book printing but balance the detail loss with an increase in terrain emphasis with the increased elevations.

For similar reasons I would look at dropping out some of the tinier lakes and streams.

I don't like the orientation that much, although I understand why you did it. But if you rotated back a little closer to N at top of page (your N arrow is incorrect BTW) you would have a more familiar extent and may have room to move the legend to the lower corner instead off the middle center. Moving the legend would balance the locator and be less distracting I think.

No need for a N arrow really. Its incorrectly aligned at the moment and would only ever be correct for a small portion of the map since you are using a conic projection. Also when dealing with large easily recognizable areas and good locators the separate N arrow becomes redundant in a sense.

Back to the print detail issue, I think you could thicken your road lines a bit and perhaps strengthen their color as well as the colors for the hwy symbols. Don't make them too saturated but just enough to pull them off the base layer a bit.

I like your font choice, label colors and placement. But they look very thin. This could just be the reduced resolution of the sample but they may benefit from a slight bump up in thickness (from regular to semi bold if that option is available).

You could also lighten the scale bar a bit. It's pretty simple already but is very dark compared to the rest of the map. Of course it also suffers from the same issue as the N arrow where it's only really accurate for a particular section of the map. Could easily be left off.

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#4
Paul H

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Here's what I see: The current range is to the south and the historic range is to the north. Apparently there is no overlap. Canadian Provinces are labeled with their names but US States just have abbreviations along their border. And I don't think your north arrow is pointing north.

#5
A. Fenix

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Great suggestions and feedback Gretchen and David. Thanks so much! Good catch with the north arrow, i'll remove that immediately. I knew that i was taking a risk with the conic prj, but I chose this projection specifically to maximize the amount of space that I had to work with for the geography. Attached you will find my initial draft base map where you can note the differences. The dark brown mask is the extent that we are focusing on (PNW) for the book. As for the labels, I was asked directly by the writer of the book to place those specifically since they are noted in the books passage. I'll see if i can't make the Puget smaller so that it's more accurate to the actual extent though (great catch!).

As for the size, etc each map will be 6x8 semi-glossy so i'm pretty sure that the terrain will be appropriate. I'm just starting to work with the publisher's graphic designer on those finer points.

While all comments are invaluable, the specific assistance i need is in how to show the overlap of current and historic ranges. What makes this tricky is that the coyote map is showing how their range has EXPANDED, while the wolf range has contracted. Does this make more sense?

Thanks again for the great feedback!

Analisa

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Analisa Fenix
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#6
jrat

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I really don't see any movement in these maps. This might be a clunky solution but a few arrows pointing the direction of the range movement would make it clear. It is not elegant, I know.

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#7
David Medeiros

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While all comments are invaluable, the specific assistance i need is in how to show the overlap of current and historic ranges. What makes this tricky is that the coyote map is showing how their range has EXPANDED, while the wolf range has contracted. Does this make more sense?

Thanks again for the great feedback!

Analisa



Yeah, that's the typical map fill area conundrum. How to differentiate without employing cheesy pattern effects.

In both cases, is the expansion or contraction of range in a single direction? Away from or back towards a home range? You could simply add a boundary line to the ranges and label that directly with the date information. Something like the Somali Pirate map bellow:

Posted Image

Adding arrows to indicate the range movement from one front to another could help as well, possibly in the same color family as the fills but darker or more saturated. I don't think you should be worried about directly annotating the map in this way since its really acting as an information graphic here. Direct labeling of range movement or dates could also

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#8
Dennis McClendon

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Handsome work, for the most part. It bothers me that US states have abbrevs rather than names, and I think the highway shields/halos are too big compared to the line weight.

Two related problems with the range: it's an imprecise boundary, and the new territory should be integrated with the old territory. Because it's such a simple boundary, you could do an overlay in Photoshop and align it properly. That gives you some tools you don't have access to in Arc, and maybe not in Illustrator. In Photoshop you can do gradients or things that look like airbrushed boundaries, which fade from one thing to another. You could also just do a boundary made up of closely spaced dots, with labels on both sides to indicate current and historic range. Finally, as you mentioned, you could use striping so that it's clear how current and historic ranges relate to each other. So you could combine these two ideas this way:

Posted Image
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#9
Charles Syrett

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A few points to add to the above excellent commentaries:

1. Instead of naming Puget Sound, why not the newly-named Salish Sea, which includes it as well as the Strait of Georgia and the Strait of Juan de Fuca?

2. And now the naming of mountain ranges: The way you named the Selkirks was wrong on the first examples (you included the Purcells, which are on the east side of Kootenay Lake), and only marginally better on the second example. Instead, why not name the Columbia Mountains, which include both the Purcells and the Selkirks?

3. I second the suggestions about the level of detail on the relief. You can try several different resolutions and sun angles, and artfully blend them in Photoshop. The idea here is to retain the detail you already have, but bring out the larger shapes with varied angles and resolutions on transparent layers. Try it – it works, and it's a lot of fun. B)

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#10
A. Fenix

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Fantastic points. Yes, the labels are a difficult thing to be sure. Again, I'm at a loss here since the author wants/needs these specific labels to match the descriptions in the book. I added a few a more labels but didn't want it to get too muddled... I'll circle back with the author about this directly. I had a heck of a time even locating the Selkirk Mountains, so thank you for that specific comment Charles. I love the examples and thoughts on how to blend the ranges together. Again, my hands are tied on this one since i'm literally mapping the line that a number of wolf scientists agreed on and drew on a base map that i gave them months ago. Completely agree that having a hard line to represent range which is fluid and temporal is weak to say the least, but i do not feel comfortable altering what regional wolf specialists are telling me to map.

Again, GREAT suggestions!

Thanks so much!
Analisa Fenix
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#11
eli

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Hi Analisa,
Lovely maps - I can see your struggle with the overlap. Some good suggestions above to deal with that.

Two more things that you might want to consider: Queen Charlotte Islands were officially renamed to Haida Gwaii a few years ago. Second, I'm not sure if anyone's mentioned this, but you might want to change the colour of the provincial and state boundaries to something in a different hue from the ranges. It's especially confusing around Alaska.

(Also, I'd move the Great Bear Rainforest label up a bit, as where you have it is pretty much the southern extent - I personally never think of it that far south.)

#12
frax

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Just a minor thing - I would suggest dropping the tints for bathymetry (and shaded relief) in the oceans, that doesn't add anything to the message.
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#13
Dennis McClendon

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Forgot this yesterday: I'd suggest using a very thin white line for the state and national boundaries. If that looks too stark, use a light gray.
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#14
katzmoye

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I like the idea of using arrows to show shrinking/growing ranges, however I might suggest using small ones right at (or sweeping across) the current/historic border. If you have access to an Atlas of Oregon check out p. 132 (Ice Age Lakes and Floods) for size/style. I couldn't find a good example for placement, but hopefully you get what I mean.

Another idea - how about hatching for the current range? Or are you confined to using solid colors? I know authors can be adamant about a certain style.

Another suggestion - change the contrast on the rivers and water bodies? At least on my monitor they start to get lost in the historical range and are very hard to see in the hillshade out of range. The roads too - at first glance my eyes didn't catch the highway symbols, and I didn't immediately grasp what the lines represented.

That totally could be related to how much beer I drank last night though.

Very nice maps!

#15
MapMedia

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Nice work. I love wolf maps! I suggest a diagonal hatch for current range, so the historic shows thru, revealing the true nature of the historic range. To avoid hard boundaries of the current range, you could also try a checked box pattern with a slight transparency.




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