Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration

Because Halos

December 18th, 2014

Mostly, halos around labels on maps look bad. Especially when they are large and in high-contrast with the background. For example:

Halo Example Mega Size



We typically prefer what has been referred to recently as masking halos. These are fairly thin and match the background color. For example:




Any questions?


2014 Holiday Map Gift Ideas

December 10th, 2014

I was recently asked what I would recommend for map decor and had a fantastic time looking up old favorites and discovering a few new offerings along the way. Since it is nearing the holidays and many will be looking for some gift ideas for the map-enthusiasts in their lives (or, ahem, for themselves), I thought it would be good to list my finds here for everyone to peruse. Please feel free to add relevant map gift ideas in the comments as well!

  • David Imus’s map of the U.S. Get it framed and hand-signed by Imus for an extra-special gift! Purchase site.
  • Exquisite maps of major cities, made almost entirely with words. Purchase site.
  • Fans of Disney World’s Jungle Cruise will appreciate Jonah Adkin’s fun map. Also, Illinois and the Noland Trail maps. Purchase site. (Edited to add link to his new $5/off offer.)
  • The globe chair. And yes, it isn’t just a projected map un-projected onto a globe! It’s accurate (which is more than we can say for this). Created by Hans van der Maarel of Red Geographics. Purchase site.
  • Etched wine and pint glasses on etsy. Purchase site.
  • The 2015 Geohipster wall calendar. Disclosure: my company made the map on the cover. Make sure to specify Jan 2015 as the starting date. Purchase site.
  • And though this book is more about data visualization than about maps per se, it is a book that’s on my Christmas List so I’m hoping this hint makes it to the right person…The Functional Art by Alberto Cairo. Purchase site.

Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration