Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration

In case you missed it

August 25th, 2017
  • FOSS4G was last week, had the biggest turnout yet, and included some guy on stage rubbing his feat with lotion (or so the story goes, I wasn’t there to witness that historic event.) Some recaps of the week: Carto’s take, the GeoSolutions presentations, DirectionsMagazine. If you have one to add let me know.
    Added 8/29/17: geoMusings FOSS4G Recap
  • There were a lot of eclipse maps. A LOT. All non-eclipse maps seemed to be eclipsed by the eclipse maps.
  • Brian Timoney, of MapBrief fame, said something about Excel on twitter, AGAIN. I was using Google Sheets last week and I swear it read my thoughts and did my calculations for me. I think you should switch to Google Sheets.
  • I mentioned the Einstellung effect, which according to wikipedia is, “a person’s predisposition to solve a given problem in a specific manner even though better or more appropriate methods of solving the problem exist.” As a professional cartographer, this should not dissuade you from keeping a mental catalog of map types and techniques (e.g., hex maps, dynamic clustering, cartograms, etc.). It should also not dissuade you from keeping an eye on all the new map types and techniques that are currently being developed and floated on social media. In most cases one of those is going to be the best idea for your map viz too. But it may not be. So to combat this psychological wall, you need to do some things when you are planning a new map. First, try framing your task as a question like, “is there a completely different approach I could take?” Second, if you are drawing out your ideas, switch to writing them out with words or vice versa. This helps you switch from right-brain to left-brain thinking (or vice versa), which gets you out of your usual thinking processes and may enable new insights to occur. Third, and this is always my own biggest issue, take the time to really think through the problem. To get myself to stop hurrying into solution-mode I’ll run the problem by colleagues to get their thoughts, take a walk to think more, or draw it out.
  • City Maps was cited in an academic paper. So was one of Anita Graser’s papers. Double fantastic. The World’s User-Generated Basemap is More than 80% Complete.

 

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Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration