Map Design Resources
Other resource lists
See some of these lists for even more links on map design, as well as more technical and software-speficic resources.
- Resources list from Robin Tolochko.
- Geo how-to from Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso
- DUSPviz resources page
- Maptime resources
- Maptime Boston tutorials and resources
- MaptimeHRVA meeting links and notes
General mapping and visualization
- Cartography and Visualization course website, Penn State
- Unrequested Map Tips and part 2 by John Nelson
- DUSPViz, mostly by Mike Foster
- 39 studies about human perception in 30 minutes by Kennedy Elliott
- CartoTalk forum hosted by NACIS
- List of map-related blogs, publicly editable
- Cartographic Design notes and resources by Alexa Todd for MaptimePDX
- Thematic Cartography and Geovisualization, Terry Slocum, Robert McMaster, Fritz Kessler, Hugh Howard. Comprehensive textbook on thematic mapping.
- Making Maps, Second Edition: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS, John Krygier and Denis Wood. A beginner-friendly overview of mapping concepts and principles.
- Elements of Cartography, Arthur Robinson, Joel Morrison, A Jon Kimerling, Stephen Guptill. A longtime standard cartography textbook.
- How to Lie With Maps, Mark Monmonier. A good guide to the biases and agendas in maps, and how to read maps critically.
- How Maps Work, Alan MacEachren. For the truly ambitious map nerd, a densely detailed book on how maps and our brains work together to form meaning.
- Semiology of Graphics, Jacques Bertin. A seminal work in cartography and information design, introducing the visual variables and much more on how graphical communication works.
- Cartographer’s Toolkit, Gretchen Peterson. Handy reference for color palettes, typography, and other elements of map design.
- Designed Maps: A Sourcebook for GIS Users, Cynthia Brewer. A guide to good map design using GIS.
- Web Cartography: Map Design for Interactive and Mobile Devices, Ian Muehlenhaus. One of the precious few texts on map design specifically for the interactive, digital, and mobile age.
What is a map? What is GIS? What is Cartography?
- Communicating Geographic Data: What is a Map?, Penn State Geog 160
- The Lost Art of Critical Map Reading by Mike Foster
- Map Purpose and Audience, Penn State Geog 486
- When Maps Shouldn’t Be Maps, Matthew Ericson
Types of maps
- Types of maps, Penn State Geog 486
- Choropleth Maps, Penn State Geog 486
- Graduated and Proportional Symbol Maps, Penn State Geog 486
- Dot Maps, Penn State Geog 486
General map design
- Design is Human by Daniel Huffman
- More Principles of Map Design by John Krygier
- Easy Steps to Better Maps by Mike Foster
- Visual Hierarchy, Penn State Geog 486
- Visual Variables - forthcoming overview paper by Robert Roth
- InfoVis: a semiotic perspective - slides mostly about visual variables, by Sheelagh Carpendale
- ColorBrewer, Cindy Brewer + Axis Maps
- Using Color in Maps - handy guide compiled from work by John Krygier
- Map Color Resources
- Your Friendly Guide to Colors in Data Visualisation by Lisa Charlotte Rost
- Color Oracle, a color blindness simulator
- Adobe color wheel, a tool for generating color palettes
- Color Hex and Color Hex - Popular Palettes
Scale and generalization
- Generalisation of Map Data, Geographic Information Technology Trainling Alliance
- Map generalization exercise by David Woodward
- ScaleMaster - Flash-based interactive tool from some Penn State research about designing multiscale maps
- Zoom levels, pixel sizes, and scales, oh my - a bit about how scale works on web maps Gretchen Peterson
- Mapshaper, an online and command line tool for simplifying vector data by Matthew Bloch
- Projection Wizard - a web tool to help select appropriate map projections, from Oregon State
- Coordinate Systems and Projections concept gallery, Penn State 486
- Projections and Coordinate Systems by Mike Foster for Maptime Boston
- Map projection reference by Bill Rankin, grouped by use cases
- Why Mercator - Tom MacWright explains why the Mercator projection is used for web maps
- Map projections and distortions, Hunter College
- The Wild World of Geodesy by Lyzi Diamond
- Labeling and Text concept gallery, Penn State Geog 486
- Maps and Prose by Marty Elmer
- Practical Cartography: 8 Tips for Better Typography by Marty Elmer
Geographic phenomena and data
- The Nature of Geographic Information course from Penn State
- Map symbolization lecture notes by John Krygier includes examples of types of phenomena and how they can be represented.
- Levels of measurement from the Axis Maps guide
- The Nature of Geographic Data, lecture notes from an Oregon State course
- Spatial Data Formats by Shaun Walbridge for Maptime Boston
- GIS file formats, Wikipedia
- More than you ever wanted to know about GeoJSON by Tom MacWright
- Introduction to Geographic Data Formats by Lyzi Diamond for Maptime
What is a web map?
- Web Maps 101, Maptime Boston
- Anatomy of a Web Map, Maptime SF
- Intro to Web Mapping, Maptime Detroit
- How web maps work, Mapbox
- Why tiled maps?, notes from a Penn State geography course
- How to Start Web Mapping? - message thread with a variety of suggestions for getting started in web mapping
When should a map be interactive?
- Why We Are Doing Fewer Interactives by Archie Tse, New York Times
- Making maps, part 1: Less interactivity by Brian Boyer
- Interactive maps: What we know and what we need to know by Robert Roth