Emily Bischof's Cartography Webpage!!!

Geog 167, Summer 2008

Hello, World! Hello, World!

Go Bruins!
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Google Maps
Week 1:
Bad Maps

Poor Design Qalities

It is important that a map has good design qualities because it is the cartographerís responsibility to direct the focus of the reader to the most important features of the map. The map above is bad because the main image is small so it becomes difficult to distinguish the exact location of some of the symbols. Also the legend takes up so much room it can be distracting from the more important visual representation. Not only is the legend distracting but also it takes up space that would be more effectively utilized by making the map image larger. Also the map is not spatially referenced with longitude/latitude lines. This map can be considered a good map because it includes many necessary map elements such as a title, north arrow, scale bar, and legend. Also this is a very specific thematic map and there is not too much information.

Bad Labeling (Too small and numerous)

It is important that the labels on a map are large enough and spaced out enough so that they are legible and donít make the map seem cluttered. As you can see the map above is considered a bad map because the number and size of the labels making the map not only illegible but also visually overwhelming for the reader. Also this map tries to display too much information (highways, cities and national parks) and should limit the information making the map more specific. Whatís more, this map is lacking certain necessary features such as a title, legend and compass. Despite all of itís problems this map has several good qualities. Although there are no longitude and latitude lines, the maps location is spatially referenced because the Pacific Ocean and surrounding states are identified. Yet, the spatial reference could be improved by including an inset that locates the state of California on the globe. Plus the map includes a scale, which is important for determining actual distance.

Lack of Legend

It is important for maps to have a legend especially when there are symbols or colors that are unlabeled or unclear. The map above is bad because it is missing not only missing a legend but other crucial map elements such as a title, north arrow, and scale. The legend is especially important for this map because there are different colors, which appear to represent altitude, yet it is unclear what each color represents. Also, although the triangles seem to indicate the locations of mountains, once again this would be clearer if the triangle symbol was identified in a legend. The one redeeming quality about this map is that it is a specific thematic map and does not try to display too much information. While this map is aesthetically pleasing, almost looking like a painting, itís utility is hindered by itís lack of key map elements.

Good Maps

Specific Location is spatially referenced on the globe

It is important that a map is referenced for its location on the globe, especially if the audience of the map may be unfamiliar with the location of the area being represented. Unfortunately this map has many bad qualities. The design of the map is very bad because the focus of the reader is drawn too much to the insets. It is hard to tell whether the purpose of the map is to show the distribution of the Hawaiian Islands, to show where the islands are located in relation to the United States or to present a topographic map of Molokai. The lack of direction presented by this map once again decreases itís utility. Also this map lacks other map elements including the lack of latitude/longitude lines, a title and a legend (to identify the colors representing altitude.) that are necessary for the clarity of the projected data.

Inclusion of Latitude and Longitude lines for spatial reference

It is important that a map, especially world maps, include longitude/latitude lines in order to maintain the spatial accuracy and location of the countries that are represented on the map. This is a good map because it includes longitude/latitude lines making the location of the countries are that are identified clear. Also, the projection of the map seems to maintain a fairly even representation and does not give precedence to any particular country. Finally this is a good projection because the map is simply representing countries and oceans so the map is not overwhelmed with data. Although this map does not include many of the necessary map elements such as a north arrow, legend or title, because the map is representing extremely straightforward information these elements are not necessary for the utilization of the map. Despite the fact that the map would be better if it had these elements, it is able to maintain its use because of the idea of familiarity since most people know that this is a projection of the world, that north is up, and that the different colored areas represent country boundaries.

Map project only enough information that can be clearly read and interpreted

It is extremely important for maps, especially thematic maps, to present only enough data that can be easily read and comprehended by the reader. Thematic maps tend to be most effective when only displaying one or two sets of data, as is shown in this map depicting the ďLiteracy Rate in the World.Ē This map is good because it is simple and does not display too much information and the information presented is clearly identifiable based on the legend and title. Whatís more the qualitative data seems to have a good break scheme giving the reader an accurate idea of where illiteracy is a major problem (below 50%) Also this map only projects a small number of colors (less than 8) which prevents the image from being overwhelming to the readerís eye and makes the information more easily comprehended. Some bad qualities represented by this map is the lack of spatial reference (longitude/latitude lines) and crucial map elements such as a north arrow, scale and reference information.

Inclusion of necessary map elements

There are several specific map elements that are necessary for a map to be considered a good map because these elements help to convey meaning and they ensure the clarity of the information presented on the map. These elements include a title, north arrow, scale, and legend plus several others. This map is good because it includes many of the aforementioned elements. As seen above the reader is able to immediately tell the purpose of the map by looking at the title, can estimate the size of the areas because of the scale and can easily identify the significance of the different colors and symbols because of the legend. Also this is a very specific thematic map and there is not too much information. This map is bad because the actual map is small so it becomes difficult to distinguish the exact location of some of the symbols. Also the legend takes up so much room it can be distracting from the actual visual representation. Also the map is not spatially referenced with longitude/latitude lines.

Map includes reference information (projection type, source data)

A reference box is a significant factor of map quality because of the important information it provides the reader with about the map. The reference inset as can be seen in the bottom right corner of the map above not only indicates what this is a map of (which may be obvious in this example) but also important information about the source of the data and what projection this map is using. The source information is important for the reader to be able to decide if the source of the data is reliable for their purpose. Also, it is important for the reader to know what the projection of the map is, especially more technical readers, because this can indicate which features of the map are distorted and which maintain their accuracy. Another good quality presented in this map is the inclusion of map elements especially a north arrow, and neatline. Unfortunately this map may be considered a bad map because the projection greatly distorts many of the countries in the North Pole. For example, Greenland appears to be a comparable size to Africa. In this sense, this may be an inappropriate projection type for a world map. Also this map has so many labels it appears to be cluttered and the words are so small they are illegible. This usability of this map would be greatly improved if the cartographer had simplified the labels and only included the most important sites.

Week 2:

I decided to make this map for tourists in order to give them the most accurate depiction of Los Angeles possible. The reality unfortunately, that Los Angeles Metro sucks. I put the Metro on top of a grid of the freeways in order to show that LA is a large place, the metro is small, and that you need a freeway to get anywhere outside of the direct city area. I feel that it is all too possible for tourists to come to LA with the misconception that because it is a big city it will have a comprehensive metro system like those of San Francisco, New York, and London. This map eliminates any chance of that misconception occurring.

I included many popular places of interest on this map to give their location in reference to not only the metro system but also to the freeways. This will allow tourists to decide if they will be able to get to their final destinations by using public transportation or if they will have to drive. It was difficult working on such a small scale so I did what I could to make the locations not only a bright color but a distinct star shape while making the metro lines bolder colors. I grayed the freeways and put them in the background because their purpose on this map is only to give reference to the metro map which is the more important feature presented here.

My labeling system was chosen once again because of the small scale that I had to work with. I felt that numbering the points of interest and including a legend that identified the location that each number was referring to was the clearest way to show the locations. I made the station labels black because any other color in combination with their size would have made the map illegible. I made the freeway labels larger and in the same color as the freeways themselves in order to show that they were connected.

Week 3:
Equal Interval

The Equal Interval classification is obviously a poor representation of this data. This occurs because the data is so skewed to the right and therefore almost all the data can be found in the first interval. It seems to me that equal interval is really only useful when the data being represented is evenly distributed. Another use would be to use for data that changes over time because this classification remains the same no matter what the data is, but when I tried this classification for my animation the skew of the data nullifies this use.


The Quantile classification works much better than the Equal Interval classification for this data. Still the fact that this data is so skewed I think that the range is misleading. For example in this example, there is so much low data that the range of lowest data 32,620, while the highest data range is 8,766,142. Because of this, a county with one million people will be the same color as the county with 9 million. Therefore, this huge discrepancy in the ranges makes it seem like CA is much more populous than it actually is. Whatís more, because of the color scheme, the dark color I chose to represent the higher populations makes this large high range even more emphasized, thereby exacerbating the problem.

Natural Breaks

As is stated in the readings, Natural Breaks considers natural groupings of data. I feel that this data classification is effective especially if there are outliers or unusually distributed such as data that is multimodal. Therefore this classification is perfect for the CA population data because of the unusual skew. The map with the natural breaks clearly shows which areas are highly populated while not exaggerating the information. For example, when looking at the data we can see that there is a small number of really high numbers in the LA area. These high populations constitute their own break. This is important because unlike the Quantile distribution, smaller numbers do not appear to be the same color as the high outlier.

Natural Breaks - Normalized by Area

I thought it would be interesting to see the difference between the Natural Breaks of the raw population numbers and that of the data normalized by area, representing the density of the population by county. The one major problem I see with this distribution is that there is no county found in the highest classification. I find this odd because I donít really understand why the natural break classification would create this highest color range if there is no data in that range. There are several trends that can be seen with this distribution of density. First, it is clear that CA is highly urbanized with the largest number of people per area living near LA and San Francisco. Second, the more dense populations are located along major roads and highways. This makes me wonder whether these roads were built because there were so many people or if people decided to live where there are roads and infrastructure.

CA Population Change 1970-2000

I had a hard time with the classifications among the four different maps. At first I was working with the raw population numbers and I manually created breaks that were as close to the natural breaks as possible. Unfortunately, these maps did not show much change over the four decades. In order to fix the problem I decided to work with the normalized data by area. I would have rathered my maps projected the raw population growth but instead, they projected the changing densities of each county and reflected the progressive urbanization of California. I created the manual breaks by rounding up the highest natural break for each year. This allowed me to stick close to natural breaks (which I found to best portray the data) while standardizing the breaks for the four maps.

I like the information that is portrayed by the animated map. It shows the increasing urbanization of first LA and then San Francisco. Then, once the major cities became sufficiently dense, people began moving outward. I like that this animation allows you to see the process of urban Sprawl as well. If I were to make a prediction for the future population growth in CA based on this map, I would say that the next place to really grow would be the coastal area between LA and San Francisco. This makes sense because people are going to spread out even farther from the cities to find their own "space." What's more, people love the coast and because of it's central location, residents in this area will be close to the two most popular cities in the state. If I were to recreate this map, I might have included a couple more classes to see if I could show change among the less populated counties.

All Maps

In choosing the color scheme of my maps, I really like the default yellow to a reddish brown color scheme, as provided by the GIS software. I thought it provided clear distinction between the colors ad was easy to see. When choosing the ocean and state colors I looked at the Munsell wheel and found that blue was across from the yellow and the green was across from red. By making my background complementary to my main map, the entire product is visually pleasing. I also tried to make these background colors light so that they would not distract from the main purpose of the map and to make the state of CA stand out. I decided not to label the main roads or cities because the labels made the map look cluttered and I felt that they were unnecessary. I assume that anyone who is going to want a map that is the specific about Californiaís population and population change will know the location of major cities.

Week 4:

I chose to map this specific part of LA not only because I grew up near by and am therefore familiar with the area but also because it provides a wide variety of land uses to map. I found that there are pros and cons to mapping areas that the cartographer is familiar with. On the one hand, familiarity allows the cartographer to choose colors, or in this case textures, that intuitively make sense for the given area. On the other hand, if cartographers take advantage of this familiarity, it is possible that they make decisions based on their previous knowledge of the area that the reader who may not know the area would not be able to understand.

The color map was difficult to assign colors to because I had to ensure that no one color was going to stand out more than the rest. Because of this, I chose to give my color map a more pastel color scheme. This allowed me to pick a variety of colors that are visually equal. Whatís more, by choosing colors that all have similar values, it is possible to make all of these colors look aesthetically pleasing while not all being complementary to one another. I tried the best I could to make the colors intuitively match with the land use they are representing. For example, I chose to keep the major road/transportation gray. Unfortunately, this was fairly difficult so I couldnít find an aesthetically pleasing way to do this for all of the colors.

My biggest problem with the two-hue map was trying to pick greens that were all the same hue but different values and chroma. I tried to distinguish the different land uses by combining flat colors with textured patterns. I didnít want to overwhelm the reader with patterns yet because there are so many different categories of land use it would have been impossible to distinguish between that many flat colors. The Gray Scale version of this map was difficult because the only way to distinguish all of the different land uses you must use different textures and designs. Unfortunately with the use of these designs comes the potential for overwhelming the user and making the map difficult to read. I tried to compensate for this potential problem I tried to make the different textures distinguishable by using different levels of lightness, using textures with different orientations and values.

For all the maps I tried to make the major transportation stand out a little more than the other colors and land uses. I chose to do this because I feel it provides good spatial reference for the other features on the map. This is especially important because the end user will know the area well. The end user will probably be someone like me who grew up in the area or someone involved with local government. By emphasizing the transportation highways, these users will quickly know exactly where each land use is located.

Week 5:

Google Maps JavaScript API Example: Geocoding Cache
Go to:

This Google map locates and provides the address for 11 major Universities located in Southern California.

Week 6: