Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration

Crash-course in Cartography, Concepts to Cover

July 29th, 2012

(Unbelievable genius emanating from this brain tonight: the concoction of a 5 C title in less than 10 seconds!)

It looks like I’ll be putting together a workshop for Colo. State University this fall on cartography. We’ll focus on the basics:

Good design takes time
Trial and error are your friend
Peer review is essential to a map that makes a lasting impression
Studies of the great stuff: National Geo., new OSM-based layers from Stamen Design, Tufte principles, etc.
Critiques and “what’s wrong with these maps? maps”
Work flow and software to accomplish it
User experience

There won’t be a lot of time to discuss everything in-depth. For example, I may just touch on user experience but not go into a big treatise on ways/means to accomplish a good outcome for that goal.

I’d really be glad to hear what you all have to say about what things are most important to cover in a 4-hour cartography crash-course. Think about what you wish you would have been taught that would have made your life a lot easier. I’m open to any suggestions you have, either privately by email or via the comments here. Thank you!

How to Design a Winning Map Poster

July 25th, 2012

I’m not at the Esri User Conference this year, but from some of the pictures that were tweeted at the map gallery last night, there came a need to write a post. Here’s what you’ve got to do if you want to make an award winning poster:

#1 Have ONE single message that you are trying to get across
#2 DO NOT cram every nuance of your research from the past 4 years onto that 60 x 40!
#3 The point of the poster is to teach someone ONE thing, not show off how much you know
#4 Make a dramatic graphic statement that looks different from the maps around you. This is a sure-fire way to get your map noticed.
#5 That drama needs to highlight your SINGLE teaching point
#6 You can have some extra details but they need to recede into the background and not compete with the SINGLE teaching point

Antarctica Street View and Camaraderie

July 23rd, 2012

Google Street View has added images to its Antarctica collection of historic sites. You can check them out at their World Wonders Project.

Coincidentally, I was just re-reading my copy of Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer last week (at the pool in blazing hot weather, ironically.) The part of the book that hit home to me was that much of Shackleton’s success–in keeping everyone alive under horrific conditions–was due to his ability to cultivate camaraderie among all the crew members. Even between the scientists and the boat crew, who, in regular society would have not been likely to get along given their very different upbringings. It was this camaraderie that not only kept the group alive, but also kept them in good spirits for much of their ill-fated journey.

The Google Street View images are of Scott’s hut and surroundings, but still a great visual to go along with the reading of this book or any of the others detailing those early explorations.

Cartographer’s Toolkit Direct Purchase

July 21st, 2012

A reader just asked me if I could direct-ship a copy of Cartographer’s Toolkit to him. The answer is yes! So add that to your options for purchasing the book. If you would like to get the book faster and a bit cheaper* you can simply email me. I’ll send you a PayPal invoice, and then drop-ship the book once the payment has gone through. It takes the printer approximately 2 days to get the book shipped out. In all, it generally takes about a week between ordering and receiving the book, if you are in the U.S.

If your address is within the continental U.S., the price of the book plus shipping will be invoiced as $40, via PayPal. If your address is outside the continental U.S., I will calculate shipping, and send an invoice accordingly ($36 + shipping). Email your request to gretchen *at* petersongis dot com. Be sure to include your mailing address in the email. I can drop-ship from the UK and AU as well, so if you are from either of those countries, the price will be close to US$40.

The printer for the book handles the order fulfillment and shipping, and I have not had any problems with them so far regarding speed of delivery. Getting your book directly from the printer will certainly speed things up.

I’ll try to get to all requests within 24 hours, if not sooner! Thanks for your emails, comments, and twitter comments, as always.

*as of today–the prices on Amazon and B&N change daily and they aren’t set by me

Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration