Reaching a Compromise between Contextual Constraints and Cartographic Rules: Application to Sustainable Maps

By Hoarau, Charlotte | Cartography and Geographic Information Science, April 2011 | Go to article overview

Reaching a Compromise between Contextual Constraints and Cartographic Rules: Application to Sustainable Maps


Hoarau, Charlotte, Cartography and Geographic Information Science


Introduction

The ever-increasing demand for mapping, as well as the need for different kinds of maps and mapping products has accelerated the development of more diverse mapping applications. Cartographers and map designers have responded to these increasingly diverse needs by developing maps that are responsive to different visualization contexts and to individual user needs. In order to create these new visualizations, it is often useful to add some constraints to the traditional cartographic rules. For example, depending on the context, maps might sometimes be less complex, less luminous or maybe limit the use of color. Cartographers should consider these constraints in order to design the most suitable map for any given context keeping in mind that for a map to 'make sense', the chosen symbolization must be consistent with the semantic relationships it represents.

This article explores the extent to which a given topographic map can be modified according to a given constraint without loosing the meaning of the initial map. An evaluation of the semiotic quality of a modified map to an initial reference map is presented. This evaluation quantifies the semantic relationships of association, differentiation and order in the initial map, and measures how well the final map conveys these semantic relations.

The method employed in this study is based on map designs that have been created with decreasing adherence to cartographic guidelines so as to adapt a map for display on a mobile device. A practical constraint was to lower the energy required to display a map by redesigning the legend and modifying the colors. These energy savings are useful, for example to trekkers to increase the battery life of their GPS, or any other mobile user of GPS.

This article begins with a discussion of estimation of semiotic quality, and the energy required to display a map on a mobile device. The four map samples are compared to determine the relative compromises between traditional cartographic guidelines and the contextual constraint of reducing energy use for the display of maps on mobile devices.

Semiotic Quality of a Map

Cartographic rules

Cartographic theory provides a detailed formalization of graphical semiotics. Bertin (1967), as described in MacEachren (1995) presents different graphical variables and the correct ways to use them during cartographic conception. In this study the following two of Bertin's cartographic rules are considered: (1) conventional color uses, called conventional rules in this paper, and (2) semantic rules, that structure the organization of the legend by semantic relationships of association, differentiation and order.

Conventional rules limit the color space for some themes, as illustrated in Figure 1. In this example convention suggests that hydrography be represented by a color of the blue family, vegetation by a color of the green family and the background layer by a light color. Conventional rules facilitate the understanding of maps because people are often familiar with the conventions. Of course, it is possible to represent forest by red (which is sometimes relevant in fall) but this is not typical.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

As illustrated in Figure 2, semantic rules link two themes and their color. Two themes involved in an association relationship should be represented by similar colors, whereas two themes involved in a differential relationship should be represented by distant colors. Finally, themes involved in an ordered relationship should be represented by a color shading of the same hue.

In the legend, color choices play a major role because they are supposed to convey the existing semantic relationships between their corresponding themes. They ensure the semiotic quality of the map. For example, ColorBrewer (Brewer 2003) provides color schemas adapted to thematic cartography. Christophe (2009) proposes a cooperative method to design customized and original legends, by helping users to select suitable colors.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Reaching a Compromise between Contextual Constraints and Cartographic Rules: Application to Sustainable Maps
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.