Ozri 2014

Maps with brains and beauty: creative cartography in action


Maps, in an abstract sense, are a vehicle for information; a way of presenting an idea, a plan, or a story. Since the earliest cave paintings, maps have been a pivotal communication tool, but in today’s world the amount of data that we have access to makes it harder than ever to clearly articulate our thoughts.

Our presentation’s main focus today was to look at how we can use lessons learned from other disciplines to simplify, modernise and improve the appearance of our maps.

Symbol systems, data frames, legends and inset maps are very important from the point of view of cartographic design. However, in this session we decided to concentrate on some of the new, innovative or simply lesser-known data processing and mapping techniques, which will help you create intelligent and beautiful maps.

This session looked specifically at the way in which you can go beyond the defaults to bring your data to life using maps. We explored a range of techniques to display data in innovative ways, including making online maps of multivariate data, animation and incorporating maps as part of exciting and eye-catching information products.

In this session we also looked at the methods of creating flow maps, representing flights across Australia. We considered a workflow for aggregating point data using the method known as “hex-binning” and we demonstrated how to use “alternative” basemaps and intelligent imagery in your maps in ArcGIS.

Finally, we had a bit of fun creating an 8-bit map of the world.

All the techniques that we covered are available to GIS users, and they normally don’t require any advanced software products. All you need is data, some imagination and a desire to create a map, which will be a bit different from a standard A4 layout with a map title, a scale bar and a legend, built with coloured rectangles and corresponding labels.

If you have any questions about the techniques and methods that we demonstrated today, please contact us on GeoNet.

Happy mapping everyone!

Ivan E and Richard S

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