An all-time favorite site of mine is the Hand Drawn Map Association. As I dole out love for the hand drawn map, I’d be remiss not to feature this fav.
The Hand Drawn Map Association (HDMA) is an ongoing archive of user submitted maps and other interesting diagrams created by hand. The HDMA website features a clean and easy to explore gallery and collections of maps. In addition, “Connect” provides notable happenings such as the September HDMA lecture and book signing at the New York Public Library.
The HDMA is also about to release From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association a new book available for pre-order (only $11.80 USD) from Amazon. The book features an exclusive collection of maps and will be available this September.
For map lovers young and old, this site is just plain fun.
Vote by April 26th, 2010!
Public voting is open for The Bizarre Map Challenge and every vote counts! The Bizarre Map Challenge is a map design competition open to high school, college, and university students in the United States. The goals of this challenge are: to promote spatial thinking; increase awareness of geospatial technology; and inspire curiosity about geographic patterns and map representation in students and the broader public.
The Prizes (wow!)
- First Prize: $5,000
- Second Prize: $1,000
- Third Prize: $600
- and $200 each to the remaining top 10
Your participation through voting helps encourage young map-makers and demonstrates public support for this exciting, fun, and educational competition. Who knows, maybe next year someone you know will compete! Vote for your favorite map now and help spread the word. Voting ends 12:00pm Pacific Time, April 26, 2010.
The Bizarre Map Challenge competition is supported by the National GeoTech Center and San Diego State University.
If you’ve ever tried to find good, authoritative sources of free, public domain small-scale world data you know it can be a daunting task. But not for long. Natural Earth Vector is coming and it will be a boon for geographers, cartographers, and GIS folks working from regional to world scales (small scale). I’ll predict it will also have tremendous impact in the geography education arena, where it is much needed.
This dataset will allow you to make beautiful and authoritative political and physical world maps quickly – from the large wall map variety down to postcard size. Instead of spending time looking for data, you will be able to focus on using the map to tell your geographic story. You will be able to map at the continent and country levels (including showing provinces and some local cities, regional, and “world” cities). The data will be fully attributed and we get into the nitty gritty details like disputed boundaries & tiny ocean islands and the beautiful with hypsometric tints & relief shading.
Tom Patterson and Nathaniel Kelso collaborated on the precursor to his first Natural Earth Raster project several years ago and they now preview Natural Earth Raster + Vector, a new free product that complements and expands on the previous work by providing detailed GIS linework at the 1:15,000,000 (1:15 million) scale and new versions of the raster product (including cross-blended hyspometric tints). The project will be unveiled at the 2009 North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) annual meeting on October 7th.
From “First Look at Natural Earth Vector.” This is a NACIS and mapgiving co-branded product with assistance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison cartography lab, Florida State University, and others. You can read more updates on the project at Kelso’s Corner.
Exciting times. At Mapdiva, we are getting prepared for the initial release of Ortelius map illustration software. On our new blog we’ll be posting news about Ortelius, as well as tips, tricks, and tutorials on cartographic techniques. There are some topics (such as map font basics) that I’ll be continuing on the Mapdiva blog rather than here, so I’ve added Mapdiva’s postings to the sidebar for a quick glimpse of what’s there. Enjoy!
I’ve been very interested in the news stories I’ve read about neighborhood boundary data and its usefulness. About a year ago Adena Schutzberg, Directions Magazine, wrote about neighborhood data offereings and the announcement by Zillow.com that they would provide their neighborhood GIS shapefile data freely through a Creative Commons license. First of all, I am very interested to see the CC licensing being applied to geospatial data – this alone is worth following. And I applaud Zillow.com (which I love) for making their data available in this way. So I was really interested when I came across another very excellent site providing my home’s walkability score (which alas is moderately low) and my office (which is very highly walkable).
Walkscore.com is a site worth visiting. “Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. Walk Score measures how easy it is to live a car-lite lifestyle—not how pretty the area is for walking.” The Walk Score algorithm awards points based on distances to the closest amenity in a number of categories. I especially love the heat maps showing the most walkable neighborhoods in the top 40 U.S. cities. And certainly turn around is fair play… Zillow is already leveraging the benefits of having made its neighborhood data available (in February, Zillow.com added WalkScore to each of their 87 million properties).
Unaware Readers = Happy Maps
- On maps and plans, text competes with the graphics. In books and magazines, they normally work alongside one another.
- Cannot be placed over backgrounds that share the same color as the letters.
- Typically placed over many various types of backgrounds – which are usually dark – instead of a common white background
- Small text can be difficult to read when placed over complex, textured backgrounds.
- The eye reads text on a map letter-by-letter, instead of through word shapes.
- Single lines of text often run across the page diagonally, or on a curve.
- Type size and style changes quite a lot on maps.
- Much map text is set in quite small point sizes.
Legibility of Type on Maps
The font variant specifies whether the text is to be rendered using a normal, bold, italic, or oblique face.
Weight, Stretch, Size
How to Font
Digital fonts are created using specialized software. A basic understanding of how fonts are created can help the cartographer in their understanding of typography. While font creation is beyond the scope of this lesson, an excellent tutorial is available from [Divide By Zero] Fonts and the Tom 7 Institute of Computer Knowledge (TICK). Divide By Zero is my favorite site for free and very fun fonts.
Map Font Selection
- The typeface must be legible in small sizes
- Typeface must also be slightly narrow, to avoid line lengths running too long
- Different styles and weights of the typeface must be clearly differentiated from one another
- Individual letters must also all appear different from one another, to help minimize misreadings and misunderstandings
- Typeface must be able to form good word shapes, which will also directly increase legibility