Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration

Salmon Map Critique

November 9th, 2012

This is a new feature for the blog: map critiques. To start us off, I gathered three random salmon-related maps to display and make a few comments on. Any critiques you’d like to contribute in the comments are welcome.


This map gets good marks for color scheme, especially given that it’s vintage 2004, a time when these kinds of bold colors were just coming into map fashion. The choice of coordinate system leaves a bit to be desired with regard to the enormity of the Hudson Bay. The reasoning behind outlining Washington State and Main in white is not clear. The rivers, though obviously placed here due to stream-system applicability with the species in question, don’t, in the end, do anything but detract from the main message.












A lot of salmon maps have hypsometric tinting and hillshade backgrounds. I’m agnostic about that. What I really like about this map is that the red dots look like salmon roe. Was that purposeful? The labels for CANADA and U.S.A. creeping up the side are a bit odd.









Once you realize the pie chart sizes are related to proportional release size, the map makes a lot of sense. Overall, a decent map. One wonders if it could have had a simple background instead of the hillshade, and if there were a better way than pie charts to represent the data.




















Unrelated News: There’s a new version of Natural Earth data, version 2.0.0. There are a lot of good things going on with this update including new “gray earth rasters” (terrain), readme and version files, and new economic geography data. Opportunity for change: the list of contributors is all male.Correction via @kelsosCorner (Nathaniel Kelso) “Tanya, Melissa, Jill, Annemarie, and Kimi all helped with the earlier releases. 2.0 was mostly me with a few assists.”

Comments

2 Comments

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  • LeighH says on: November 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

     

    There’s an awful lot of unused space in the third map. The hypsometric tint gives it something to do.

  • Kevin says on: November 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm

     

    Agreed, the first map’s colors are modern, especially for 2004. My only gripe with it is that the black and blue could be made much more subdued so that the orange is much more prominent.

    Totally agree with the country labels in the second map! They make it look like the edge of the map is country borders.

    The seafloor topography in the third map is definitely interesting. Can’t explain why, but I like it. Could do without the land topography, though. It doesn’t seem to add much (remove what doesn’t contribute, right?).

Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration