Guest post by summer intern, Jessica Fisher
Under the banner of OS OpenData are over a dozen products which vary in format, scale and design to offer the greatest flexibility and usability possible. These products are all freely downloadable from our OS website – and now there are new start-up guides to using a number of the products.
At OS, we sponsor and judge one of the British Cartographic Society (BCS) awards and once again this year we will be rewarding cartographic excellence and the innovative use of OS OpenData. The 2015 awards launched in March and are made annually at the society’s symposium which this year promises to be a fantastic event as it is being jointly hosted with the Society of Cartographers (SoC).
In our previous eight posts we have taken a closer look at each of our Cartographic Design Principles. We offer them as a set of guidelines, intended to focus and aid the design process when making a map. They are not rules. In cartography, rules as such don’t exist – the aim is for a map to communicate a message to its users, and if it does so then it can be deemed a success. If a map is designed to get a person from A to B and it does, then it works. The distinction is not between right and wrong but between a map that works well, and one that doesn’t; between good communication and bad communication.
This means that there is lots of room for creativity within cartography!
Over the past eight weeks we have taken a closer look at each of our Cartographic Design Principles in turn. This is the final post in the series as we switch our attention to Good composition. Although we consider all eight of our principles to be of equal importance, we have purposefully put this one at the end as it will usually be the last thing you do. It’s important to consider the overall composition of your map from the start of the design process, but it’s a good idea to check the composition and layout at the end, to ensure that all the elements work well as a ‘whole’.
We are just over halfway through our series of posts about our Cartographic Design Principles. Last week we shone the spotlight on Simplicity and this week we continue our series as we turn our attention to Legibility. In its simplest definition, to be legible is to be easily read. It is extremely important for a map to be legible as the user should be able to easily understand the message that the cartographer was attempting to portray. Much in the same way as a book, if a map is difficult to read then it is likely to fail in its objective and not meet the user requirements.
This is the fourth in our series of blog posts about our Cartographic Design Principles and this week we are taking a closer look at Simplicity. The concept for our own principles was initially inspired by Dieter Rams and his ‘ten principles of good design’, one of which is ‘Good design is as little design as possible’ where he states:
Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.
We’ve been taking a closer look at each of our Cartographic Design Principles in turn and this week we are delving deeper into A clear visual hierarchy. Although we consider all eight of our principles to be of equal importance when designing a map, this one is of key concern to the successful communication of a maps message. Without a clear visual hierarchy, a map can be confusing to the user and may lead to poor decision making.