Day

December 14, 2017

14
Dec
2017
8

Effective basemaps

What is a basemap?

Often referred to as a contextual or backdrop map, a basemap contains reference information used to both orient the viewer and add context to any data that is overlaid. Basemaps come in a variety of types, styles, and scales, from full detail to muted ‘background’ styles.

In this post we want to explore the options available and share some useful tips for presenting your contextual data effectively.

What are the options?

When it comes to choosing a basemap there are many choices available, from creating your own to using a provided service. Let’s look in more detail at some of these options:

Raster maps

Raster maps are images made up of pixels. The content is set and the scale and style are predefined however it is possible to make minor alterations to the look and feel of them. If you’re using a raster basemap then it’s often a good idea to desaturate the colours, reduce the opacity or even convert it to greyscale. This will help your overlays stand out more clearly.

If used at the wrong scale then you will end up with an illegible map so they’re better suited to static mapping where the scale is set. Read More