Cartographic Design Principles: Legibility

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.

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OS Explorer Maps – designed for usability and legibility  Continue reading “Cartographic Design Principles: Legibility”

Cartographic Design Principles: Simplicity

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.

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Removing clutter allows a map to better portray its message  Continue reading “Cartographic Design Principles: Simplicity”

Cartographic Design Principles: A clear visual hierarchy

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.

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Overview map of Great Britain – the labels have a very clear visual hierarchy  Continue reading “Cartographic Design Principles: A clear visual hierarchy”

Cartographic Design Principles: Consideration of display format

This is the second installment in our set of blog posts taking a closer look at our Cartographic Design Principles. Last week we shone the light on Understanding of user requirements and this week we turn our attention to Consideration of display format.

Design your maps with the final display medium in mind

Design your maps with the final display medium in mind

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Cartographic Design Principles: Understanding of user requirements

This is the first in an eight part series of blog posts taking a closer look at our Cartographic Design Principles. Devised by our CartoDesign team, the principles are intended as a useful guide for anybody making a map, from Ordnance Survey customers to budding neo-cartographers. In this post we shine the spotlight on the first principle in our list, Understanding of user requirements.

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Remove confusion by understanding your users’ needs

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50th Anniversary Summer School of the Society of Cartographers

On 2 September, we attended the second day of the conference at the University of Glasgow.

The Society of Cartographers (SoC) is an association of cartographers that was founded as the Society of University Cartographers at the University of Glasgow in 1964. The society renamed in 1989 to be open to all those who regularly make maps. So we at Ordnance Survey were honoured and delighted to be invited to both attend and present at the society’s fiftieth anniversary at the place where it all began.

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British Cartographic Society Mapathon and Symposium 2014

The British Cartographic Society’s (BCS) GIS Special Interest Group recently held their first ever Mapathon at Marwell Hotel, Winchester. The Mapathon kicked off 3 days of mapping and would bring together a range of mapping experts each with different skills and experience before presenting them with a map challenge.

The day started with Rob Sharpe from ESRI introducing the Mapathon before delegates from Esri UK, Ordnance Survey, Steer Davies Gleave, OMV (UK), HR Wallingford, DMB, SIL International, Esri Inc and DGC were given their objective for the day. Using data provided by The Commonwealth War Graves Commission we were asked to help create maps to commemorate and educate people about World War One. The data included information on cemeteries, number of casualties, cemetery type and location and so on.

For a good five hours some of the best heads in cartography munged, pulled, manipulated and styled a wealth of geographic information in order to be crowned Mapathon winner (and win a prize money just can’t buy). At 3 pm all cartographers had to put their mice, scribers or pencils down so that the judging could begin.

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Mapathon is underway

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New Cartographic Design resources

It is really important to us to make our products as easy to use as possible so, hot on the heels of our recent release of stylesheets and to follow up a previous post introducing the importance of resources, we are pleased to launch the latest additions to our Cartographic Design and Development web pages. We have just added an updated library of cartographic resources and a media library of news, forums, blogs and articles. These now sit alongside our cartographic design principles, our map showcase, stylesheets, thematic data sources, our blog posts and our OS OpenData Award to form a set of resources that we hope will help during the map-making process.

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Opening up to QGIS: QML launched for OS OpenData

Charley from our CartoDesign team was in Stirling yesterday to officially launch our new QGIS stylesheets (QML) for OS OpenData products. The inaugural Scottish QGIS User Group Meeting, organised by thinkWhere and the UK QGIS User Group, came at a great time for us to announce our latest cartographic developments.

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