For April Fool’s Day we challenged one of our most senior and experienced cartographers to create a mythical island for Country Walking magazine. The premise was that this island had been lost to the sea centuries ago, only for it to have now mysteriously risen out of the waves in need of mapping.
Mark Wolstenholme, in his 34 years at OS, has worked across every series of mapping we have. Here he explains how to produce a fictional island in a short time frame, while making it authentic enough to convince as a prank.
What is an annotation?
“a note by way of explanation or comment added to a text or diagram.”
Synonyms: notation, comment, footnote; commentary, explanation.
Sometimes referred to as data labels or captions, annotations are often added to charts to add an extra layer of useful information for the reader. Think of it like using a highlighter on a block of written text. We can purposefully guide our readers to view certain aspects of the data that are important.
Why are they so useful?
Annotations can help:
Critique is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as a detailed analysis and assessment of something and in 2010 Judith Tyner released the book Principles of Map Design and included the diagram on the right, defining the map making process.
Map critique plays an important role in the design process and this is for a number of reasons:
- Feedback will improve your map – If you always think you’re right, how do you know for sure your map is actually any good and doing what it is intended?
- It allows you to analyse the way you work – Constructive criticism can lead you away from bad practices and towards good ones. Mistakes can be spotted and you can learn from them.
- It can give you an advantage – Criticism can be information that perhaps no one else has, making your map a better one. This is valuable information and give you an edge amongst your competitors.
As we start a new year we thought it would be a good time to reflect on 2017 and also look ahead to 2018. 2017 was our first year with the new team name, GeoDataViz, prior to which we had been known as CartoDesign. You can read more about the changes we made and the reasons why here.
Throughout the year we saw and heard an increasing number of things from many others that validated our decision to make these changes to our team. We always want to stay relevant and forward-thinking and we feel that we are really well placed to do this. It was much more than just a change of name for us – more a change of mindset and a new approach to data. We’re now more journalistic and we aim to tell compelling visual stories rather than just map topography. When working through a project we are now asking more questions, challenging requirements, digging deeper and looking for different angles to tease out narratives and insights.
One of our big achievements last year was the release of our GeoDataViz Toolkit (read more about the release here). Our toolkit is a set of resources that will help you communicate your data effectively through the design of compelling visuals. It is something that we developed and used ourselves throughout 2017 and it enabled us to be more efficient and consistent, allowing us to free up time to work on other things.
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 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.
By Paul Naylor
The British Cartographic Society (BCS) and the Society of Cartographers (SoC) joint conference recently got underway at the Redworth Hall Hotel in Durham. After months of careful planning and organisation the stage was set for three days of inspirational presentations, hands-on workshops and the annual BCS/SoC awards ceremony.
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the work of our Cartographic Designers. The team have been posting a variety of articles here since 2013 from reviews of events to sharing helpful resources. The team recently made some changes to the way in which they work and the work that they undertake, including a name change; from Cartographic Design to GeoDataViz.
In this post the team will consider some of the reasons why, and what the changes mean for them, their work and our customers.
This visualisation, which we created in June 2016, was the trigger for us to review our team and led to the changes that we have made subsequently. It was the first time that we had published a geographic visualisation that doesn’t contain any topographic data. We simply plotted the GPS data using colour techniques that help represent the density. This method is much more abstract (possibly considered as more art than science) than our traditional topographic maps but we felt it gave us a more engaging and visually stunning visualisation.
Yes, there are 607 OS paper maps of Great Britain for you to choose from, but did you know there are also infinite Custom Made maps you can order? Tens of thousands of you have already put your Custom Made map orders in, creating enough map areas to cover the moon three times, an amazing 111.5 million km2 of Britain printed on your maps.
CartoClinic is a simple way to get in touch and get help whether you are having problems with your GI or concerns with your cartography. Made up of Paul Naylor and Charley Glynn from our GeoDataViz team, we can also call on industry experts from both within OS and from our extensive external network.
The 2016/17 English Football Premier League season is over and what a great season it has been.
Chelsea are champions for the sixth time while Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull have been relegated. Tottenham Hotspur say a fond farewell to White Hart Lane after 118 years and finish the season in second. West Ham started life at the London Stadium and finished the season in a respectable 11th place.
To mark the end of the season, the GeoDataViz team have created a one-off visual of all 20 locations for each of the Premier League stadiums. Each of the stadiums have been mapped using OS Open-Map Local and styled using the team colours.
Have a look for your favourite team below in the final league table or view and download a poster of all 20 stadium locations.
The 2016/17 Premier League Table