The Importance of Earnest Map Design

Eye-catching map design helps catch the viewers eye and brings emphasis to the theme of the map.
Eye-catching map design helps catch the viewer’s eye and brings emphasis to the theme of the map.

Let’s face it; a lot of the maps you see today are very plain, unattractive or even downright ugly. Intelligent symbology and design are chucked out of the window in favour of representing features as distinct as possible. The outcome of bad map design is that the map tends to look like a bunch of shapes randomly thrown together with no kind of semblance between them. This lack of sincerity in making the map translates into a map that is not easy to understand, and provides very little visual cognition of the data.

It is important to style your map elements to match the theme and purpose of the map. For example, for an application that concentrates on navigation and location should have mediums of transport such as roads and railway lines given significance over other features such as green cover, to give an example.

CloudMade map with prominent transport and navigation features.
CloudMade map with prominent transport and navigation features.

More casual, urban-themed maps for more casual applications related to cultural aspects like restaurants, landmarks, pubs and recreational areas should have less emphasis on roads and more about the buildings, landmarks and structures in the area. Every theme has aspects that need to be highlighted more than the others, but not in a way that they stand out and glare at the user.

Another aspect of good map design is the use of intuitive icons and symbols for map markers. Just entering default markers is not good enough. The size of the markers, the colours, the classification of the markers; the small things matter a lot in making the map aesthetically pleasing.

In conclusion, an earnest approach to making maps can go a long way in increasing the ease of use of a map.

Webmapping Made Easy

So, you’ve made a map and you want to tell the world about it. Problem is, how do you do it?

The good folks over at MangoMap have the solution.

MangoMap is an easy to use web map publishing service. You do not need to write a single line of code to get your map published on the web. Basic mapping tools such as the map legend, search and identify are available for use within the map. You can choose among some templates as to how you want your map to look like. You can upload your own esri shapefiles, among other formats which will be shown on the webmap.

MangoMap takes care of the hosting, so you don’t have to worry about the server. It is secure, and has free and paid options to control how much space you require. The free option allows you very little space and views, but the paid options allow you a decent amount of space and views and the fee is quite reasonable.

For those of us who want to use the power of the web to publish their maps, but are overwhelmed by the coding needed to build a web mapping application; never fear – MangoMap is here!