In the latest Bayfield Training Webinar, Sonia Martin-Gutierrez, in collaboration with Dr. Seppe Cassettari and Chris Going: Cartography for Real Estate Professionals. The webinar assessed how you to make small adjustments to your existing spreadsheets or financial databases by adding simple geospatial keys to link existing data to a map. It considered some of the statistical and analytical tools you can apply to your data to understand the geographical context better. It also touched on how geospatial statistics can further enhance your understanding of a problem and some of the pitfalls that arise from inconsistent data of varying resolutions and age.

Principles of Cartography 

Dr. Cassettari explains that the first step in creating cartography is deciding the purpose. Second is deciding on the base geography, such as a localized project area or country-wide geographic level. Next, you need to determine the level of detail. Third is deciding on the colour, text, and symbology of the map design. In general, five of the main design principles are legibility, visual contrast, figure-ground organization, hierarchical organization, and balance. Together, these principles form a system for seeing and understanding the relative importance of the map’s content.

Colour, text, and symbology

Next, Chris Going expands on the principles of colour, text, and symbology. Specifically, colours are used to make features stand out from the background. As Going explains, where possible, use conventional, logical colours. For example, green for vegetation and blue for water. However, do not use too many— “usually use no more than twelve.”

Text is important in explaining what the map is about or providing geographic context (e.g., adding place names). It is essential to consider how easy the text is to read. One should think carefully about the size and type of font to keep the map easy to read. For example, small letters need more intense colours to stand out. The most legible colours for text are black, dark brown, or blue on a white background. The most significant contrast is between black and yellow. Changes in background colour affect legibility. Moreover, text can be used to create hierarchies. For example, “in a map of the world, the continents would be more important than the countries.”

Lastly, symbols should be used when there is not enough room to depict the detail you attempt to emphasize a particular attribute. Most of the rules about size, colour, and contrast equally apply to symbols. In addition, one should always make sure to provide a legend explaining what the symbols mean.

3D and Thematic Cartography

3D mapping relates to the profiling of objects in three dimensions to map the objects in the real-world. Relief mapping is the depiction of the shape of the surface of the earth on a map. Regarding 3D mapping, Dr. Cassettari explains that one can use colour or shading techniques to emphasize a change in relief.

Chris Going explains that a thematic map is a type of map specifically designed to show a particular theme connected with a specific geographic area. For example, temperature variation, rainfall distribution, or population density. Thematic maps pull in attributes or statistics about a location and represent that data to enable a greater understanding of the relationships between locations and the discovery of spatial patterns in the data explored.

Modern Data Visualisation Techniques

To conclude, Dr. Cassettari explains the new trends in data visualisation techniques. As Dr. Cassettari explains, there are many new ways to visualize map data, including animations and dynamic cartography. For example, recent trends have brought about the adoption of 3D model adoption of presentation. Nonetheless, there are several issues to be concerning 3-D mapping. For instance, 3-D space is much more difficult to interpret for the casual viewer. One must consider the impact of elevation and angle of view of what is seen. For example, you may be in a particular position where the feature you want to show may not be visible.