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Please help, embarrassed newbie!

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#1
Daniel Fulford

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Hello,

I am currently an undergrad pursuing a B.A. in Geography along with a GIS minor and looking to advance my knowledge of the cartographic world. I would really like to brush up on my cartographic design/GIS skills over the summer, but have no idea where to begin. I have already completed several cartography and GIS courses, so I have a general understanding of the basic terms and processes.

At the rate new software comes out and the competitiveness of the field, I do not want to be stagnate and left trailing behind the rest. I am looking to possibly pursue a career in the field (cartographic design mainly) and want to stay on top of my game. Any advice for a newbie looking to begin a comfortable, enjoyable, and hopefully a long-lasting career in the field?

Cheers

#2
Dennis McClendon

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Yeah. Don't get comfortable. :lol:

There are several excellent books on this subject:

Brewer, Cynthia. Designed Maps: A Sourcebook for GIS Users From ESRI Press

Brewer, Cynthia. Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users From ESRI Press

Krygier, John. Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS from Amazon

Tyner, Judith. Principles of Map Design from Amazon

The best way to improve your design sense is to collect and analyze maps that you admire. What makes them better than others? What would you have done differently?

Finally, undertake a couple of real-world projects. Identify a client with a need (could just be directions to the local BMX track or a cancer walkathon route guide) and give it a try. Post the results here. For the most part we'll be kind. (I'll be more blunt than most, but I don't mean it in an unkind way.)
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#3
dsl

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Not cartographic specific, but I enjoyed Tuft's The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. It's also completely software independent.

Cheers,
David

#4
Gretchen Peterson

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A great summer project that would hone your design skills, allow you to learn something new, and provide a real-world product for your portfolio/resume:

Mine some Big Data and create a data visualization. The data visualization could be a static, paper map; an art installation; a series of static, digital maps; or an interactive map.

There are a lot of Big Data sources listed here: http://www.quora.com...n-to-the-public to get you started.

I believe this would put you in an excellent position to be a pioneer in what McKinsey says is a rapidly growing field, with practitioners in short supply: http://www.mckinsey...._for_innovation.

#5
David Medeiros

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Ditto everything Dennis said. I'd add Edward Tufte's books on visual design especially Envisioning Information and Visual Display of Quantitative Information.

Map evaluation is key to understanding what works and doesn't and helps develop your design style. Find what you like in other maps and emulate it. As Dennis said create a few projects to help develop your skills. In addition to finding clients though I'd make up a map scenario you're interested in and just do it as though you had a client, it's great piratical experience, you'll have more freedom to determine your style with out a real client or deadline and the work makes for good portfolio filler.

Good luck.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#6
Daniel Fulford

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Wow, thank you all so much for the helpful information. Much appreciated!




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