Digital Map Wrongs and Rights

Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong will go wrong.

Let’s count the ways that your digital map can bite the dust.

1. Labels get cut off at tile seams. (Increase map buffer area.)
2. Effects at land/water boundary don’t work if the two datasets lack topology. Mouths of large rivers and canals? (Use data that was built to work together like Natural Earth.)
3. Layering isn’t correct. Trailhead symbols underneath park shading. (Do lots of testing and moving code and stylesheets around as needed.)
4. Symbols not appearing. (Remember to include them in the right folder and call correctly. Hello.)
5. You forgot to normalize thematic, population-related data. (Normalize.)
6. Line widths aren’t changing incrementally. When you zoom in they just get bigger and bigger until pretty soon the entire map is one road. (Specify a different line-width for every zoom level or groups of 2-3 zoom levels.)
7. Lines are jumbled or too thick at low zooms. (Generalize the low-zoom data. Simplify the lines using a simplifying algorithm.)
8. All features show up but with no styling, all black and Arial and width = 1. (Re-code, nesting isn’t working right.)
9. You published it but nobody cares. (Remove half the functionality and increase the prominence of the central purpose.)
10. You published it and everybody cares but in the wrong way. (Remember the most vocal voices are not always the majority opinion.)

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