Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:38 AM
Perhaps at the risk of starting a lengthy discussion that is unlikely to get resolved and would be of interest only to us cartographers, I have a question that I'd like your input on.
I've been having an ongoing discussion with the company president who insists that contours should be labeled uphill, like so:
Capture.JPG 9.98K 33 downloads
I just think that's wrong and have always thought that it is more important to align with the bottom of the map, like so:
Capture2.JPG 9.97K 26 downloads
Can some one enlighten me as to what the gods of mountain cartography (read: Imhof) suggest? Or, if you want, just wade in with your own opinion.
Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:36 PM
Posted 21 November 2012 - 01:45 PM
(Figure 97 shows the labels so they are not upside down.)
In some countries it is common practice to orientate the contour numbers [...] to show down-sloping directions. In case of doubt, therefore, the direction of slope should be expressed. However, the resulting inversion of some numbers can be quite disturbing as lettering should be upright where possible. For this reason, in Switzerland it is normal to orientate these numbers as shown in figure 97."
Posted 21 November 2012 - 02:08 PM
Posted 21 November 2012 - 02:38 PM
Posted 21 November 2012 - 02:39 PM
No you don't. This was just an example to illustrate the issue.
Labeling should never be upside down like it is in your first map. Do you really need to label those small contours twice?
Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:45 PM
I also prefer to stagger the labels in a well-spaced manner rather than using the ladder approach...but I guess that is a different contour labeling topic altogether!
Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:56 PM
Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:43 PM
House practice should be uniform, of course, whichever it is.
Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:11 PM
I also feel that upside down labels are a violation of basic principles. About a year ago, we had a similar discussion about the "ladder effect" that some also feel is somehow desirable for contour numbers.
Yeah, that was a discussion I started a while back, more on placement (in a ladder or staggered) than on alignment to page bottom. I generally agree that it is usually better to have contour labels right side up (relative to page bottom) if possible, but I think its a bit much to say 'never'.
Topo style maps are often rotated to align with the actual landscape in use rather than always read from the bottom of the page and in that case it might be helpful to have some areas of the map with contours read up hill.
Most map labels should follow the 'feet falling' rule, but contours can be a special case. Eduard Imhof himself stated that either was just fine. I found with my Koke'e map that right side up was best.
GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.
Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:41 AM
However, based on the assumption that topographic maps are made for navigation and terrain interpretation, I would follow the guideline of placing contour label reading UPHILL even if this means placing the contour label upside down.
Why. If you don't do this the map reader if FORCED to interpret the map further in order to acknowledge that the contour above or below the labeled contour is going up or down hill. If the contour label is reading uphill CONSTANTLY across the map, then the map reader can easily and quickly deduct the slope side.
I rest my case.
Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:54 AM
Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:44 AM
jrat - the map will be an online map, most likely used indoors on a computer but potential outdoors on a mobile device.
I think we can all agree that the preferred option is to avoid using upside-down labeling where possible (and it is avoidable in many cases). Beyond that . . . .
Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:21 PM
Nonetheless, recall when you navigate in the terrain with the map, the map should be oriented with the terrain. So if you are heading South, your map should be oriented upside down. Orienting all lebels upwards with the slope, may help interpreting the relief in areas with complex contours.
Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:17 AM
I've done a lot of bathymetric maps using engineering standards and the contour are always oriented uphill. Having said that, I tried to find a place where they wouldn't be upside-down. The main reason was that come contour could be largely spaced and that automatically show the direction of the slope nonetheless...
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