We’ve had lots of interest from those of you wanting to enter The Times Mars map symbol competition to design a map symbol for our new Mars map. Chris Wesson, our cartographer who created the Mars map, advises on how to create the perfect map symbol.
As Steve Backshall said in a previous post, ‘If you’ve studied or used a paper map before, you’ll be aware of OS map symbols. The symbols help us to understand what appears on the map and gives us a useful guide to what we can expect to see when we’re out and about exploring Britain.’
But map symbols can also depict things you cannot see on the ground such as scientific data or historic sites without remains. Map symbols are commonly used as a method of showing location and in our latest symbol competition we are asking for your ideas to create a symbol to represent the location of landing sites on Mars.
Three of OS’ regular bloggers, Christopher Wesson, Jon Field and Luke Hampson spent the weekend at Open Data Camp (#ODCamp) held at Manchester Metropolitan University’s digital innovation space known as ‘The Shed’. Catch up on their views from the event.
Paul Maltby kicked off proceedings with a discussion presentation uncovering a project that he is leading that will look to capitalise on the great work that’s already been done by public sector through the release of data through data.gov.uk over the last five years. We should be as excited as he by the next five, as UK Government concentrates on making data more accessible, more interoperable (by defining data standards, structures etc.) and more useable; all of which should unlock more value.
This month saw the British Cartographic Society (BCS) and the Society of Cartographers (SoC) join forces in York to host Mapping Together, the first joint conference since 2003. This event contained an inspirational collection of presentations and workshops, the annual BCS awards ceremony and a corporate members exhibition. OS were Platinum sponsors once again – hosted workshops, presented and also sponsored an award. We were well represented at the event with six colleagues in attendance, including Cartographic Design Consultant Paul Naylor who is also a member of the BCS organising committee.
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’.