Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration

The Map Isn’t Done Until The Last Little Detail is Complete

March 12th, 2019

The reality is that getting any map information to show up on an actual map can sometimes seem like such an insurmountable hurdle that when it happens we are tempted to up and call it a day. Maybe it’s the first time you’ve tried writing Mapbox GL JS from scratch and applied it to tiles you’ve tried to cut yourself. Maybe it’s the first time you’ve used AGOL or tried to import a map into Illustrator to manipulate. Whatever the process to make the map, the process can be a very difficult thing. It is so tempting to simply give up once something remotely close to adequate is produced. Especially for those who aren’t mapmakers or cartographers by profession.

But YOU are a mapmaker by profession so you cannot call it a day! No no no. You can’t forget to update that lower-right hand corner attribution at the bottom of the FOSS webmap. No you can’t ignore the boilerplate Details section on the AGOL webmap:

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(It is embarrassing that the above image is a screenshot of a live webmap that I had a hand in myself. Yikes. And yes, it is being fixed as we speak.)

No, you shouldn’t continue to use the original thumbnail images after the map has changed many times. No, your legend items should not contain abbreviations, acronyms, version numbers, or any other unintelligible blather. No, your pop-ups should not contain every data field known to cartographers but not to man (e.g., perimeter, objectID, area_acr_try2).

And, if you have created a series of webmaps that all go together, they should probably not all have different basemaps just because you wanted some variety.

This has been a public service announcement.

Also, I am myself guilty of all of the above. But one must continue to up the professional field and keep trying to make one’s products the absolute best possible. And for that reason, I’m off now to fix some things…

 

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Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration