Some modern mapmaking tools don’t have direct antecedents. Yes, maps have long been composed of many layers of separate artwork just as we have digital map feature layers now, but in the during the time of Mylar overlays, pin registration, and photomechanical reproduction that resulted in static paper maps, there was nothing like the dynamic and highly interactive web maps that are second nature to us today.
King County Metro Transit, in coordination with area jurisdictions, including the City of Seattle, has long designated a network of high-ridership bus routes that can use typically plowed streets and which avoid steep hills to provide a reduced but core level of service during major snow events.
It is fortunate that weather conditions over the last six years had not necessitated the activation of Metro’s Emergency Snow Network and the publication of their Emergency Snow Network map. That is until two days ago.
Cartographers and GIS analysts often have to make choices about where, within a given map space, to position points that represent real-world features. Shouldn’t be a big deal though, should it? A place is a place, a location a location. It’s just there. You know, where the house or building or parking lot, or whatever, sits on the ground! Well, it isn’t that simple.
Among the fundamental skills required to be map literate, that is, to be able to read and comprehend maps, are an understanding of scale, the recognition of spatial orientation, and an appreciation of map projections. A higher-level, overarching principle of map literacy is that a single map can seldom tell a whole story, which is a point well made by Dr. Kenneth Field, Esri senior cartographic product engineer, in a recent article in Wired.
You’ve heard about vector tiles. You’ve used vector tiles in a variety of online maps, perhaps without even realizing it. But have you created your own vector tile maps?
One of the most satisfying things that a well-made map can do is convey a sense of place. And an especially well-map map may convey a sense of a past place that both infuses and transcends a present location. I came across such a map yesterday just a few blocks from our own King County GIS Center location, where Seattle’s Pioneer Square transitions to the International District, specifically the historic Japantown.
Monica Van der Vieren, who works as a King County Wastewater Treatment Division community relations planner, has created a new visually stunning Story Map, “On the Trail of the North American Buffalo” which tells the story of the North American buffalo and promotes bison and prairie conservation.
Government leaders inevitably leave long paper trails and numerous digital footprints. One of the newest marks made by our own current King County Executive, Dow Constantine, honors his first predecessor in his office, Gov. John Spellman who died on Tuesday. Remembrances of Gov. Spellman this week prompted me to reach back into my personal archives for a record of when then County Executive Spellman’s paper trail and my much more humble one intersected.
An effective map portrays a place, delivers a message, or reveals a pattern with representational accuracy and visual clarity. How to make that happen is the subject of this workshop, a mix of lecture and exercises which gives GIS practitioners the practical information and techniques needed to create effective, successful maps in any display medium.
The re-use and re-purposing of map elements, especially digital map data, may seem simple and obvious since we are far past the time when the availability and use of digital data and production practices became the norm in cartography. But it hasn’t been all that long since the time when mapmakers were beholden to the technical strictures imposed by mechanical map construction methods.