Thursday, August 23, 2018

Cartographic Map Layout Designs


An important characteristic of maps is that they need to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Therefore, designing a quality map is more than just a scientific process, it takes your creativity, artistic and design skills to get the job done.

The craft of map making is called cartography, which is both the art and science of map making.

Well prepared map should contain the following elements on its map layout design:- map body, legend, title, north arrow (directional indicator), labels, scale, grid/graticule lines, citation, border and inset map.

Map Elements

1~ Map body: This is usually the largest element on a map layout. It is the primary focus on a map layout as it shows/display the geographical message and purpose of the map.

2~ Legend: This is the map element that lets the map reader know what each symbol on the map stands for. It help in understanding what information is been communicated on the map.

3~ Title: This is usually the largest text of the map and provides a short, descriptive, statement about the purpose of the map, and may include  other pertinent information, such as the timeframe for which the map applies.

4~ North arrow (directional indicator): This is the map element that tells the map reader the North, South, East and West directions on the map.

5~ Labels: These are textual elements written to further explain what an object is on the map. Most at time, map user will need explicit information apart from the on on the legend, so the "Labels" are there to help out. Often, it is in the attribute table of the features.

6~ Scale: This is the ratio of measurements on the map to that on the true ground. It is usually displayed in linear graphic or written text.

7~ Grid/Graticule lines: There are references a coordinate, or measurement system, that the map user can use to derive the location, coordinates.

8~ Citation: This is also know as "Metadata". It is the documentation for the map and the data displayed on the map. Metadata should include items such as the date the map was created, the author of the map, and data sources for the data shown on the map body.

9~ Border/Neat line: This is a frame for the map which typically surrounds the entire map. It separate the map from the surrounding page or elements.

10~ Inset map: This is a smaller map body that shows from which the main map body was extracted from. It help in making sense of where the main map is located especially for unfamiliar maps.

Types of Layout Designs

Some organizations have maintained these layout designs as templates they refer to any time they need to prepare a map. Keep your map orientation in mind when selecting a template to work with. There is landscape or portrait orientation and different map sizes, so if map features are linear and run east-west (like pipelines or highways) use a horizontal map layout.

Below are some map layout designs to choose from when making your own maps...

Landscape Orientations Map Layout Design

Portrait Orientations Map Layout Design

There you have basic map layout designs. Feel free to pick any of the templates and improve the design using your creativity.

1. Elements of a Map
2. Map Elements and Basic Print Layout
3. Unit 4.3: Cartographic Process of the course "Introduction to Geospatial Technology Using QGIS"
4. 33 Map Elements to Include in Cartographic Design: A ‘How to’ Guide to Map Making
5. Checklist to Create a Map in a Well Design Layout

Happy mapping :)

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