Geography 353 Cartography and Visualization

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Geog 353 Lecture Outline: Map Layout & Intellectual and Visual Hierarchies
Update: 10/5/16

We will review chapters 6 (The Big Picture of Map Design) and 7 (The Inner Workings of Map Design) from the Making Maps book. Additional information and examples can be gleaned from the material below.







Introduction

Map symbolization: in essence, choosing visual marks to effectively represent the points, lines, and area data of our base maps and thematic data


The Visual Variables


Today: visual hierarchy, 'marginal' map information, and editing


1. Visual Hierarchy and Map Design

Importance of understanding a map's purpose prior to making the map

Map purpose drives


It also drives the design of the map


A map's intellectual hierarchy: given the purpose and content of the map


PROP) Voyager Map



Once you make decisions about the intellectual hierarchy you need to choose a visual hierarchy that adequately represents the intellectual hierarchy



Visual hierarchy adds 'depth' to a flat paper or on-screen map (above).


Failed visual hierarchy (left) limits the map's ability to effectively communicate


"Public speakers arrange their material to emphasize certain remarks and subordinate others. Professional photographers often focus the camera to provide precise detail in certain parts of the picture and leave the remainder somewhat blurred. Advertising artists organize ads to accentuate some spaces and play down others. Choreographers arrange the dancers so that some will stand out from the rest on the stage. Professional cartographers must go through similar activities in designing the map." (B. Dent)


Customary Positions of Map Elements in the Hierarchy: higher in intellectual and visual hierarchy towards top of list, lower in intellectual and visual hierarchy towards bottom of list. Given a particular map purpose, these may shift in the intellectual and, thus, visual hierarchy:



Lab Project: Intellectual and Visual hierarchy of your maps and WWW pages


Map elements that are intellectually important should be made to be visually dominant on the map: how do you do that?



1a. Figure Ground Defined

If we understand how people perceive visual hierarchies, we can use that information to guide the design of the visual hierarchy of a map


Figure ground phenomena



Figure ground on maps will fail if the map is too visually homogeneous

We have to do something on maps to set off that 'automatic perceptual mechanism and to make sure that the figure ground we achieve represents the intellectual hierarchy of the map.

When we achieve figures on maps, they are seen as separate from the rest of the map, have form and shape, appear to be closer to the viewer than the ground, have more noticable color (or value), and are associated with meaning

We can manipulate figure ground to communicate what is most important in the map display, and to organize what the viewer sees to reflect the relative importance of the material on the map.

Next: look at some means of enhancing figure ground on maps (or any visual display)



1b. Achieving Visual Hierarchy using Figure Ground

HANDOUT) Figure Ground Examples


1. heterogeneity: noticeable visual differences tend to separate figure from ground




2. articulation: figure has more detail than ground




3. shape: figure has shape




4. contour: objects with sharp, well defined edges tend to form a figure




5. closure: closed objects tend to form a figure




6. common fate: objects moving in the same direction tend to form a figure




7. interposition: continuance behind a figure




8. value: darker areas tend to be figure




9. proximity: objects close together tend to form a figure




10. simplicity: simple objects tend to form a figure




11. similarity: of shape, size, and value tend to form a figure




12. direction: objects with the same orientation tend to form a figure




13. color: higher color intensities tend to be figure



14. texture: coarse textured areas tend to be figure




15. familiarity: familiar shapes tend to be figure




16. shadow: objects which have a shadow tend to be figure




PROP) Voyager Map




Sum: various techniques for using figure-ground phenomena to enhance the visual hierarchy of your map




2. 'Marginal' Information and Editing

2a. Marginal Information

The stuff that appears around the margins of a map

Titles and labels: establish geographic, topical, and temporal context



Legends


If mapping statistical information, you may want to include a graph of the data range, standard deviations, etc. - if relevant to the material being mapped


Don't have to put "key" or "legend": waste of space


Base map and thematic data source information


Note all relevant information about base map: source, scale, orientation


When to use north arrow



2b. Editing and Blunders



Conclusions

Map symbolization: choosing visual marks to effectively represent the points, lines, and area data of our base maps and thematic data

Fundamental aspect of map symbolization: effective representation of intellectual hierarchy with a visual hierarchy and basic techniques for doing that




E-mail: jbkrygier@owu.edu

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