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Please Help with Trail Map Symbology and Labeling

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#1
raenaDIGS

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Hi everyone,

I've been asked to create an overview and 7 small 4 1/8 x 7" trails maps featuring select hiking trails within Mt. Spokane State Park. The maps will be included in a hiking guidebook, which will be printed in B&W. I've been given some instruction on trails symbology, and I'm having a little trouble. Before I show the client anything, I'd like to seek some input.

There are 5 symbol levels for the "trails" (plus additional road symbology), symbolized according to width as the client specified. However, each map in the guidebook will only deal with featured trails, rather than all trails in the map extent. The client wants the featured trails to be "highlighted" (his word) in some way using additional shading or heavier/darker (or lighter) lines behind them. At first I contemplated polygon buffering each featured trail by 10 ft (or 50 ft--whichever works) and having the buffer be stark white, or hatched...but this just seems like a terrible idea given the small size of the maps and the large number of symbols already. My thought is that there are already enough line symbols to confuse the map. For this reason, I'm trying to come up with some other way to ensure that the featured trails stand out and are "highlighted". Currently, I'm doing this by using larger, bold text with arrows indicating direction of travel for featured trails... but I'm not sure that this will be interpreted as "highlighted" or stand out enough to a viewer that doesn't know what he/she should be looking for. I will probably add a symbol for trailheads at the start of each of the featured trails, which should also help, but have not yet done this.

Questions: Is my solution for emphasizing featured trails using larger bold text effective? Does anyone have suggestions for dealing with this challenge?

Also, any other criticism that you all have would be valued. I need to ensure that: featured trails stand out, elevation/terrain is represented, and that park features are clear and legible. I'm only using ArcInfo 10 for this work.

Attached is an example of 1 of the 7 small maps, as well as the legend (which will apply to all maps, but which will not appear in or next to any single map, says the client).

Many thanks!

raena

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raena demaris
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#2
razornole

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I'll admit, I'm lost. I have no idea what you are mapping.

Are these hiking trails? If so, I really don't care about the roads, just show me where the hiking trail is. The trail should be a continuous symbol in and of itself. Don't switch from dashed to solid to whatever. Keep it consistent so I can follow it.

The answer to your question is visual hierarchy. Right now your highest elements in your VH are the state park boundary and a scale bar that covers almost a third of the map. If your trail looked like the State Park Boundary, one wouldn't have a problem following it (I'm not suggesting you make the trail look like the boundary, as it is way too harsh in my opinion). You have 255 shades of grey to work with, don't make every line black, only the important one like your trail.

The isohypse fail with your hillshade. The north arrow is useless to a hiker without a declination (especially in the northwest).

I hope that helps,
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."
Strabo 22AD

#3
raenaDIGS

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Thanks kru, this does help very much. I'll go with solid lines of 5 varying grays for all trails, give the park boundary less weight, lighten and reduce the scale bar.... but there's still the issue of how to "highlight" the featured trails. I suspect that once the map's symbology is cleaned up, the effective ways to bring out the featured trails will be evident. Revision soon, hopefully.
raena demaris
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#4
razornole

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Thanks kru, this does help very much. I'll go with solid lines of 5 varying grays for all trails, give the park boundary less weight, lighten and reduce the scale bar.... but there's still the issue of how to "highlight" the featured trails. I suspect that once the map's symbology is cleaned up, the effective ways to bring out the featured trails will be evident. Revision soon, hopefully.


I would make it have the most contrast of any element on the map. Here's an old map I did where I had to put various elements on there, but most importantly highlight the route of the Nez Perce.

kru

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"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."
Strabo 22AD

#5
raenaDIGS

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Thanks kru, this does help very much. I'll go with solid lines of 5 varying grays for all trails, give the park boundary less weight, lighten and reduce the scale bar.... but there's still the issue of how to "highlight" the featured trails. I suspect that once the map's symbology is cleaned up, the effective ways to bring out the featured trails will be evident. Revision soon, hopefully.


I would make it have the most contrast of any element on the map. Here's an old map I did where I had to put various elements on there, but most importantly highlight the route of the Nez Perce.

kru


Thanks for the nice example! I understand the need for visual heirarchy. The problem that I'm having is that the client wants all park trails symbolized according to their width (there are 5 classes of the trails: some are paved, some are old fire roads, some are dirt, etc). He also wants roads shown. In addition, he wants certain trails featured and discussed in the guidebook text to be "highlighted" differently than the rest. In this draft, I've begun many of the changes that you suggested...but I still struggle with the way to "highlight" the important trails while keeping them all symbolized by width. THe way that I'm currently doing that is by labeling heirarchy. I'm calling out the featured trails using larger, bolder text and arrows for direction of travel. Am I on the right track?

Thx!

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raena demaris
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#6
raenaDIGS

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Thanks kru, this does help very much. I'll go with solid lines of 5 varying grays for all trails, give the park boundary less weight, lighten and reduce the scale bar.... but there's still the issue of how to "highlight" the featured trails. I suspect that once the map's symbology is cleaned up, the effective ways to bring out the featured trails will be evident. Revision soon, hopefully.


I would make it have the most contrast of any element on the map. Here's an old map I did where I had to put various elements on there, but most importantly highlight the route of the Nez Perce.

kru

with new legend

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raena demaris
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#7
raenaDIGS

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Or... (I think progress is being made) I could differentiate the featured trails by line weight and distinguish the different trail types by degree of greyscale. This seems the most simple and elegant soution. Better?

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#8
razornole

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Hind sight is always 20/20. If I had a client that requested that, I would have mentioned that it is not feasible to do that and have the map communicative at the same time. Not when you are limited to shades of grades. I would try to talk him/her into two trails; one for single track and one that follows roads (whether dirt, paved, old logging/fire).

Let the book do the explaining. The human eye can only differentiate (at least easily) about 5 shades of the same color. Your map has 9 (park boundary, 5 trail widths, roads, trails that aren't important, and isohypse). On top of that you are placing your elements on a raster which will shift the colors. I would say that you are going to have to develop patterns to differentiate (the thought of which makes me cringe).

Your map is looking a lot better. Still could probably push your isohypse in the dark areas. There is no need to label your lexicons, that's what the legend is for and the labels take up too much space. Not sure what the arrow next to the ranger station on #140 is for.

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."
Strabo 22AD

#9
raenaDIGS

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Hind sight is always 20/20. If I had a client that requested that, I would have mentioned that it is not feasible to do that and have the map communicative at the same time. Not when you are limited to shades of grades. I would try to talk him/her into two trails; one for single track and one that follows roads (whether dirt, paved, old logging/fire).

Let the book do the explaining. The human eye can only differentiate (at least easily) about 5 shades of the same color. Your map has 9 (park boundary, 5 trail widths, roads, trails that aren't important, and isohypse). On top of that you are placing your elements on a raster which will shift the colors. I would say that you are going to have to develop patterns to differentiate (the thought of which makes me cringe).

Your map is looking a lot better. Still could probably push your isohypse in the dark areas. There is no need to label your lexicons, that's what the legend is for and the labels take up too much space. Not sure what the arrow next to the ranger station on #140 is for.

kru

Thanks for all of your guidance, kru. I have to chuckle because my first thought was to talk the client out of all of the crazy symbology and shading that he instructed student volunteers to produce (which I inherited) and into greatly simplifying the symbology. I think I will give this a shot. I've standardized (for lack of a better word) the grays in the symbols and text and lightened the hillshade, which I think has clarified the map a little more. Here's today's final map; additional input is always appreciated.

-r

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raena demaris
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#10
razornole

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It's working. I can tell what is going on now. All I see are trails, and that is what the map is all about. Good job. Still not quite sure how I get to the trailhead near Bear Creek Lodge as there is no road leading to it. Maybe I hike to the trailhead? Doesn't make sense.

With your scale, put it in terms that people understand. Most don't know that 5280' = a mile, therefore 4000' doesn't mean much. I would max the scale to a half mile, and justify it with the text on left or with something.

Your roads look much better.

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."
Strabo 22AD




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