In response to The End of Maps in Seven Charts, Duncan Jackson writes to point out the above xkcd comic from 23 November 2012, which says something quite similar about maps that really just show population density.
Here’s a short talk from last year by Washington Post graphics editor Darla Cameron, who points out that many maps actually show population density rather than the data they purport to show. “Just because you have geographic data, that doesn’t mean that a map is a best way to tell the story.” She offers some alternative ways to present information—non-cartographic ways—that in some cases do a better job than a map could. (Heretical, I know.) In a similar vein, read the blog post by Matthew Ericson that she refers to at the end of the talk: “When Maps Shouldn’t Be Maps.” [via]
A couple of years ago the Ordnance Survey posted a series of cartographic design principles to inform and promote “good map design.” The principles are understanding user requirements, a consideration of the display format (e.g., paper vs. web), simplicity, legibility, consistency, accessibility (everything from data format to colourblind inclusiveness to licensing), a clear visual hierarchy, and good composition. (Last year the Ordnance Survey’s blog published a series of posts on these principles, using mostly similar text but different examples.)
Gretchen Peterson reviews the second edition of Cynthia Brewer’s Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users (Esri Press, December 2015). “I’d say it’s much better than the previous edition. All the images have been updated and are now in keeping with modern cartography practices. All the typical things that you need to know are covered from fonts and labels to color and layout.” Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)