Wikle, Thomas A. Department of Geography, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma.
- Design process
- Design principles
- Additional Reading
The systematic process of arranging and assigning meaning to elements on a map for the purpose of communicating geographic knowledge in a pleasing format. Unlike painting or graphic illustration, map design observes rigid limitations involving the juxtaposition and symbolization of geographic features such as rivers, national boundaries, and coastlines. During the twentieth century, standardized symbols and designs evolved for reference maps such as topographic maps. However, nonstandard maps with unique purposes must be designed through a process that encompasses creativity, experimentation, and evaluation. Careful design is crucial to map effectiveness to avoid distorted or inaccurately represented information and to enable the meaning of spatial information to be understood by the map user.
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