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Table of contents
Chapter 1

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URLs referred to in this chapter
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Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Appendix
The map versus the aerial photograph
A topographic map
A socio-economic thematic map: the population of Overijssel
A physical thematic map: the drainage areas of Overijssel
The cartographic communciation process
Point, line and area symbols, and text
The graphic variables
Right and wrong mapping qualities
Right and wrong mapping quantities
The map and its marginal informaion
Appealing maps: with and without contrast
Relief: an orthogonal view and a perspective view
Overijssel in a VRML environment
Animation frames: change of municipal boundaries
 

Maps are there to answer questions. They should offer solutions to questions like "Where can I find…?", "How do I get to…?", "What feature can be found at…?", or "Where else do I find that feature?" Maps have to be well designed to be able indeed to answer questions like those above. If the translation from data to graphics is successful the resulting maps are the most efficient and effective means of transferring geospatial information. The map user can locate geographic objects, while the shape and colour of signs and symbols representing the objects inform him about their characteristics. They reveal spatial relations and patterns, and offer the user insight in and an overview of the distribution of particular phenomena.
Before maps can be designed the cartographer should get a feel for the nature of the information, since this determines the graphic options. This is done via cartographic information analysis. Based on this knowledge the cartographer can choose the correct symbols to represent the information in the map. The cartographer has a whole toolbox of visual variables available to match symbols to the nature of the data. These are applied according to the cartographic rules and guidelines.
Maps constructed using these basic cartographic guidelines are not necessarily appealing maps. Although well constructed, they could still look sterile. The design aspects required to create appealing maps also have to be included in the visualisation process. Appealing in a communicative sense does not only mean having nice colours. One of the keywords here is contrast. Contrast will increase the communicative role of the map since it will create a kind of hierarchy in the map contents, assuming that not all information is of equal importance. The chapter ends with some details on mapping of the third dimension and time.

Last updated April 16, 2002