Map Misery

About 11 years ago I had my first child. There was a point during the birth that things went horribly wrong and the only thing I could do or think was to hope that someone would put me out of my misery.

Your goal is to not have people want to be put out of their misery when they look at your map.

  1. #1 by Ken Gross on April 16, 2013 - 6:37 pm

    You’re way over-thinking all of this. Your last few posts have been rather cynical regarding the science of GIS vs. the art of cartography. Surely, if neatness counted for much or if the artistic perfectionists out there were actually correct, then real cartographers—such as myself—would have an easier type convincing others of our worth.


  2. #2 by Gretchen on April 16, 2013 - 9:16 pm

    Almost the entirety of the close-to 3 years worth of blog posts here are positive and encouraging or plainly instructional. It seems like human nature to veer off the path once in a while, but thanks for the reminder to rein in the snark. :)

  3. #3 by JRigs on April 22, 2013 - 8:32 am

    RE: digital cartography from some time back – I totally started using that term when telling people what I do, even though I probably suck at *cartography*. The average person can grasp what that might be immediately compared to “GIS”, plus it’s way more sexi.

  4. #4 by Gretchen on April 22, 2013 - 9:26 am

    Ha! True. And glad to hear the term is working for you. I introduced myself as a digital cartographer to a few non-GIS professionals last week and I feel like there was a glimmer of understanding in return, unlike when I say “GIS”.

  5. #5 by Holly Glaser on April 30, 2013 - 10:57 am

    I ,too, found it very easy to make bad maps and, after a kindly person informed me of this, I tracked reviewer comments I never want to hear again:
    1. Hey, where is this place? | no area/detail inset
    2. Ow, my eyes hurt, make it go away! | Clashing colors can produce optical illusions that cause discomfort
    3. What are those dots for? | oops, no or unreadable legend
    4. What’s this map for? | Message? what message?
    5. How big is that? | readable scale bar graphic and words
    6. So What? | Tell the audience why this data matters to them

    The goal is an attractive map that clearly and elegantly shows the intended audience what is important about this area.

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