Qualities of Good Maps
1. A good map engages the reader actively, by allowing a smooth guidance to understand its components by using innovative techniques. (*1)
2. A good map can provide readers with clearly legible symbols and captions. They are not distracted by colors or designs, and are reasonably spaced and well organized.(*2)
3. A good map can clearly portray its objective or purpose. A good map can do this by being selective of certain infromation to portray and omitting unnecessary ones. (*3)
Qualities of Bad Maps
1. A bad map is a representation of too much information being crowded into a small space, or scattered across without any clear overall uniformity. (*4)
2.A bad map lacks in effective figure-ground organization (Robin Ch.18) - including visual contrast in colors and texts. (*5)
3.A bad map fails to deliver the map's purpose to the traget audience, by using a peculiar language or by being outdated. (*6)
Examples of Good Maps
National Geographic - Human Atlas Map
Weather Forecast Map - Infared National Satellite
(I was not able to upload these maps because they are interactive maps - but please click on the links and you will be redirected to the appropriate maps.)
Traditional maps have been imprinted on 2-dimensional surfaces and readers could not engage in changin the images. Today, new computerized techniques encourage readers' participation in exploring different layers of maps, selecting information to appear on maps, or visualize the changes over time. The national graphic human atlas map is an example of an interactive map that allow readers to click on different parts of the maps to zoom in and acquire selective information in an organized way. Because of its selectivity, readers may avoid confusion from trying to take in alot of information at once. The weather forecast map is an example of an animated map that allow readers to observe the changes in clouds over time. Such animation technique allow readers to understand the movement over time on one single map, whereas without it, they would have to flip through several different maps to capture the movement at each time period. Incorporating new and innovative methodologies may better guide readers to understand its components smoothly and cohesively.
(I apologize for the fuzzy-ness. The original image had better pixels - See http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/africa/sudan_pol00.jpg
I think this is a good map because despite the amount of information and labels the map contains, the primary and secondary variables are well thought out and legibly presented. Presenting names of countries in bold letters, using different colors for smaller provinces and types of boundaries, and italicizing certain geographical components are well done to differentiate the information presented. Symbols like the star and the circle also stand out very well in constrast to others as the national capital and other major cities. Also the types of boundaries are clearly differented by colors and patterns, and its continuation into the neighboring countries are effective. The map is well-centered and is comprehensive to understand general georgraphical knowledge of Sudan.
I think this map is good in a sense that it is clear in its objective and what the map is trying to get across to the readers. The map's captioned "China's Critical Sea Lanes", and the important sea lanes are drawn by red arrows, which stand out the most in the map. The map contains the small scale, and a clear inset with legible symbols. I also thought the small white insets that point to each strait or port was very effective. Though I think that the map could have been centered slightly more to the Southern seas where the most sea routes are, overall I was able to quickly and smoothly capture the objective of the map. The map could have contained more geographical information such as capitals and other landscapes, I felt that the map purposefully omitted unnecessary information to focus on the targeted information.
Examples of Bad Maps
I thought this map was very scattered and failed to create an effective structure to present different information and components. First of all, most of the labelings are too small to read legibly, and the symbols (such as fire represeting the conflict villages) are too similar with each other to clearly differentiate when they are so closely bunched together on the map. Also the placement of the inset boxes are scattered on all three corners, and the upper left hand inset cannot be clearly understood its connection to the map. The middle left inset of an example of a conflict village is too small and its characteristics are not visually represented so I do not see the point of presenting such inset. Overall, the color contrast and the landscape marks make it harder for the readers to examine the map.
This map was extremely hard to read because of its lack of figure-ground orientation. Because the thick green grids that divide the land and sea mass into prospective squares is so vivid, the actual land is faded in contrast and gets lost behind this first layer that pops out too much. Additionally, small squares also create too much visual distraction on the map by hiding other layers behind it. Too improve this map, the color of grid should be lighter and thinner to complement other layers. Also, The map has no clear explanation of what UTM zone is and what the x-axis and y-axis values are.
I thought this was an interesting example of an outdated map that can no longer be delivered to the needs of the public today. This map is found in the middle of downtown Tokyo in Japan (where I grew up in for 15 years.) where it is bustling with new comers to the city, including foreigners who are most likely unable to read Japanese. No streets are numbered or labeled, which are problematic even to the native Japanese who have come to the area for the first time. Only the buildings and stores are mentioned, and only the local residents in the area who have lived there for long enough to have a general sense of the area may find such map helpful in locating stores. However, I am highly skeptical that all of these buildings still exist as the map indicates, as this part of Tokyo is constantly changing and being re-developed. I think that this example re-enforces the significance of updating information in modern world and creating it with universal representation for increasingly globalized networks we see today.
This is a pdf version with better resolution.
The original map of LA metro railway system was a little too simplistic. It could have integrated more useful information in the given space, which was mostly vacant. In order to add more geographical features and details to the LA metro system map, I decided to use the most comprehensive transit system map available on metro.net to see what other information will help improve the railway map. The specific details I wanted to modify were the shape of coastlines, simplified rail routes (adding the right bends and curves to it), and more detailed geographical labeling such as cities.
Narrowing down what to include in the map from various information available was extremely difficult, because the information I put in should be presented coherently and with some sort of purpose so the audience can easily understand the map. Some questions I decided to answer before working on the map were, “Who will read this map?”, “How will this map be used for?”, and so on. After browsing through different metro system maps of other cities, I realized (again) that fundamentally the use of public rail system is far less prevalent which leaves a lot of room in the map other major cities in the world usually do not have, which creates the cycle of impracticality to use trains because it does not extend as far. So I wanted to modify the map in ways that the map could appeal more in practicality to use metro for people in LA, though I personally believe the system need a lot of work at this point.
Because the LA district does not have train system that extends far enough, the users tend to often have combination of train and bus. I have personally experienced this inconvenience and have wondered how much more efficient it would be if I could take the bus first to the metro station and transfer to avoid traffic in downtown for example. So I wanted to give the general ideas of how the bus routes intersect with each metro station, and appeal to the public that combination of public transportation is possible. Though originally each bus route was color coded and numbered in several different ways, I wanted to keep the map as straightforward as possible by changing them all to a uniform color. I also wanted to not let bus routes distract readers from the main of this map which is the rail and maintain a clear ground-figure orientation. I also included major airports because they are one of the most practical landmarks for those who would be most interested in utilizing public transportation. Other landmarks could have been also helpful, mainly public spaces known to the most people. I attempted to add more practical information to give an overall appeal to the use of public transportation (with the oil price hiking up, it may be easier than before). At the same time, I tried to not overwhelm it with too many details because when a map is too complicated to comprehend, I believe that it directly correlates to readers’ interpretation that public transportation is too complicated to understand and utilize.
Final Project Proposal:
I plan to complete my final project by creating a UCLA recycle map. I want to identify all the recycling bins and trash shoots that exist on campus, and present a comprehensive map. I hope to create a map that indicates the types of recycling bins (newspaper, glass, cans, plastics, etc) and other related information that will help all visitors and students on campus to understand how they can enhance recycling and raise awareness of it. The map should be appealing to the significance of recycling on campus and its objective to raise recycling rate on campus. As a student on campus, I personally were often confused where certain types of recycling bins were because different locations had different recycling trash bins. I plan to visit recycling office on UCLA campus, to gain more information on locations of recycling bins. I believe that UCLA's recycling facility has recently been trying to increase the amount of its activities on campus, yet they still lack many factors that other campuses use, such as University of Washington where every regular trash can comes with recycling trash bins. UCLA recycling has a discrepant pattern, and recycling bins are placed randomly across campus. I would like to also depict this in creating the map.
Equal interval classification is easy to understand because all breaks are equal in range. This classification is good when several maps are being compared, because the equal intervals give them a uniformity. However, in this map we are only trying to see the 2000 population density in california alone. And most counties population data have been bunched into one interval, except for the orange county. This makes the map hard to understand and ineffective because all other relative information are hidden or bunched together under this classification.
Quantile classification method distributes a set of values into groups that contain an equal number of values. This is interesting contrast from equal intervals because this classification definitely creates a pattern we can see. There is clear contrast between each density levels and colors. However, its shortcoming may be that its patterns may be overly expressed and intervals range become too distorted. For example, the lowest value interval has approximately a range of 19 where as the highest value interval has range of about 1000. This classification cannot depict outliers, or a case of when a few counties with extremely high (which is often the tendency) density that set them apart from the rest.
Standard Deviation classification finds the mean, and sets itnervals of 0.5 to show how much the data deviates from the mean. This is interesting because we could see from the map very clearly that Los Angeles and San Francisco regions deviate the most from the rest, and that seems very logical from our understanding as well. However, its shortcoming of this map is that overall counties in California have population densities that do not deviate too far from the mean. They are all placed within the two standar deviations, which may be too simplistic portrayal of density data.
It is a manual data classification method that divides data into classes based on the natural groups in the data distribution. It uses a statistical formula (Jenk’s optimization) that calculates groupings of data values based on data distribution, and also seeks to reduce variance within groups and maximize variance between groups. Overall this classification produced the most visually pleasing and informative map that portrays the relative levels of density among the counties. Its shortcoming may be that the classification method is somewhat subjective because it is done manually, and it may be different when comparing data from one year to another. ArcGIS had a function to calculate this which could be read and edited, and for the most part I agreed with the breaks it determined.
Califonia Population Density: From 1970~2000
Natural Breaks Classification
Source: US Census
Created by: Aerin Cho
I created three different landuse maps of Carson city in multi-colors, two hues, and in black and white. As the colors decreased in variety from the left to the right, patterns were utilized to differentiate the 13 different landuses in Carson.
I also included major roads (with its names) and railroads, since I was aware that the transportation is a key characteristic to this highly industrial city located near the Long Beach.
Railroads were easier to see because of its unique shape, major roads were often hard to see in lack of effective figure-ground due to the use of similar colors in the latter two maps. This problem was met by creating halos behind them.
Art Museums and Galleries near UCLA (Created with Googlemaps)
View Larger Map
Art Museums and Galleries near UCLA (Created by Geocoding)
I initially had some difficulties in working with the geocode-cache.html (though I figure it out later thanks to Regan counting my inconsistent
number of brackets), so I created my first map
with the mymap function. On the googlemaps.com website, there is a tag called "my maps" next to the general search section. As long as you have an account with
google, you can create your own map through this wizard provided. This was easier to work with than the geocode-cache.html, because it was more interactive and
intuitive process to create a map than working with html codes. Adding markers, editing the info in the windows, and adjusting the zoom were able to be added to
my map through this wizard. My map indicates six museums and art galleries locations near UCLA, with detailed information about address, admission cost,
hours, website, and jpeg images of museums. The "My Maps" function also allows one to draw polylines and shapes to highlight certain streets or areas.
So I created three rectangles that group the locations together in generally close approximation, and added transportation information.
Week 6: Final Assignment
This is a pdf version with better resolution.
For a final project, I created a recycling map of UCLA north campus. My initial motivation of this project was to create an easy, legible, and somewhat informative map that would
promote more recycling on campus. Personally, I have felt the growing need of recycling with the environmental awareness, and saw that the UCLA waste and recycling management facility has
had a website that aimed to inform the public. There was no specific map for locations of recycling on campus. Instead, I found the new Campus Map BETA
(A new interactive map of UCLA campus), with an option to click on "recycling". The map then showed the recycling symbols on campus, which you could zoom in and out of, but I found various weaknesses
of this map that could be greatly improved.