5. The Cartographer's Palette: The Semiotics of Cartography

Cartographers employ symbols to represent location, direction, distance, movement, function, process, and correlation. These features of the real world are abstracted and symbolized on maps as points, lines, and areas. A tremendous amount of practice and skill is involved in choosing effective strategies for symbolization. One of the best ways to learn about these strategies is to consider the sorts of visual resources available to the cartographer.

5.1 The range of visual resources

5.2 Strategies of symbolization

USGS map symbols

5.3 Typography and lettering

5.4 Foreground-background (figure-ground) relationships

5.5 Highlighting the theme

Further Reading

Bertin, Jacque. 1983. Semiology of Graphics: Diagrams, Networks, Maps. Translated by W.J. Berg. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Board, C. and Taylor, R.M. 1985. Perception and maps: Human factors in map design and interpretation. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers New Series 2: 19-36.

Cleveland, William S. and McGill, Robert. 1985. Graphical perception and graphical methods for analyzing scientific data. Science 229: 828-833.

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