3. What Is a Good Map?

If cartography is a form of communication, the measure of a good map is how well it conveys information to its readers to enlighten, convince, or persuade. Too often the pure aesthetic appeal of a map is equated with its communicational value. Aesthetic issues certainly play a role in effective cartography, but it is the issue of communication that holds the central role in cartographic design. To ask "what is a good map?" is to ask how well it communicates with its audience.

This means that one always begins a project by considering the message to be conveyed and the audience to be addressed. This raises a series of questions that must be addresses at the start of a project:

3.1 What is the motive, intent, or goal of the map?

3.2 Who will read the map? 3.3 Where will the map be used? 3.4 What data is available for the composition of the map? 3.5 What resources are available in terms of both time and equipment?

 Go on to Basic Elements of Map Composition

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