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A Graphic Designer's Approach to Map Making

graphic design cartography information design

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#1
hasecbinusr

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Hello all,

 

I have been doing graphic design and programming for about eleven years, but moved into the geospatial realm about five years ago. As a designer, I've noticed that my approach to producing maps is quite different than classically trained GIS folks. While not a true cartographer, I find the specialty is closest to describing my skill set. I think of maps as scientific data packaged in artistic wrapping. My experience is mostly centered around ArcGIS and Adobe, but I do dabble in open source solutions from time to time. As a firm believer in the open source model, I am now seeking to replicating and refining my workflow in an open source context.

 

I look forward to sharing experience and learning from this community.

 

M



#2
DaveB

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Welcome!

 

What is a "true cartographer" anyway? :P


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Dave Barnes
Esri
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Map Geek

#3
hasecbinusr

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In my mind, cartography is more the art of making maps. Graphic design is the art of making effective graphics. And I fall somewhere in the middle, in that I try to make effective map-based graphics.

#4
Dennis McClendon

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Welcome, and please start some discussions about design.  We need more of those.

 

I come from a graphic design background, and sometimes find my philosophy seems very different from those coming out of modern GIS or cartography programs.  At times, I've described it as a subtractive approach vs. an additive one.  It seems like many mapmakers today gather up all the datasets they can find, and thin out the map until they can stand to look at it.  You get a very different product if you begin with a blank sheet of paper and add only what's necessary.


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Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#5
hasecbinusr

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You get a very different product if you begin with a blank sheet of paper and add only what's necessary.


This is commonly called the data-to-ink ratio: telling the most complex story with the least amount of content. Although it has to do with intended purpose. A reference map will have a tremendous amount of information, while a locator map at a mall will have much less.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: graphic design, cartography, information design

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