Sunday, January 29, 2017

Using Type Effectively to Make Better Maps

For this week in Communicating GIS, we focused on the concept of Type. Type includes all aspects of written communication on a map. This include labels and how they are written such as the font, size, placement, orientation, hierarchy, etc.

Here is my map for the week, below it I will go into detail about how I tackled various aspects of Type with this map.


·         Font and Size:
o   Font is used to designate the most important recognizable areas on the map. The font for the city of San Francisco is the largest because it is arguably the most important area on the map and the most recognizable to those not so familiar with the area. The other areas have smaller fonts because they can be considered parts of the greater San Francisco area.
o   The bodies of water are also treated this way with the two larger bodies having the largest font and the lake having the smallest.
o   All the labels are designated using sans serif fonts (Arial) to look more modern and typical to what readers experience with most written documents.
·         Placement:
o   Most labels are placed horizontally, however, some such as the label for the golden gate waterway have been turned to better fit within their intended area. The labels for the parks were often too big to place around their intended area and there were also some crowding issues. To combat this, the labels for these areas were supplemented with arrows pointing to the park that the label was for.
o   Placement for the islands was easy enough since there was plenty of open space around them. As a result, their labels were placed to the upper right of the actual island.
o   For some of the lesser known areas, such as the Hills, the label was placed in the general area. This was due to most of these places also coinciding with name of that particular neighborhood or district.
·         Effects:
o   Since there is some congested symbolism caused by all of the roads, all of the labels were given a 0.5 size halo effect around the lettering to help them stand out more. 0.5 was used because it wasn’t nearly as damaging to the continuity of the roads as the default 2.0 size was.
o   The color of the labels for the bodies of water were changed to blue to create a more immediately recognizable relationship between them and the feature they were describing.


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