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GIS Cartography: A Guide to Effective Map Design Hardcover – April 6, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1420082135 ISBN-10: 1420082132 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: CRC Press (April 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420082132
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420082135
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,035,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gretchen Peterson is a certified GIS professional (GISP) and the founder and principal of PetersonGIS. Her work focuses on analysis of geographic data to solve natural resources management issues. In the course of this work, she has made innumerable maps and map- related products that present results elegantly and informatively. She is based in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Customer Reviews

This book does an excellent job in explaining many of the concepts and principles involved in map design.
Robert W. Plummer
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has not been trained as a cartographer but who needs to develop effective maps as part of their job responsibilities.
Greg Babinski
I found this book to be a very practical and easy to read guide for understanding the elements of good map design.
Dusty Robinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Kurland on June 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a college professor teaching GIS, I found this book to be extremely useful for students who have no previous map making or design skills. I especially like the "Best Practices" sections that help students learn from real world applications. The book also includes a nice variety of examples, from basic to advanced maps.

This is an easy to read, well written book that is very useful for new and veteran GIS users.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Geographer on July 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is the best book yet for designing cartographically accurate and intelligible maps as a GIS user. I have been a cartography educator at the University of Minnesota and UW-River Falls. Most books dwell on how to use ArcGIS. This one doesn't. This one uses layperson English to explain to people already familiar with GIS software of any type how to design maps that look good. Exactly what is needed in this day and age of GIS users making unintelligible and counter-productive maps! The best book I have read in years for students. I highly recommend it for practicing GIS users who know they are making crappy maps, as well as for instructors in smaller academic programs that are expanding their GIS offerings at the expense of courses in cartographic design.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nathanael Coyne (Boehm) on June 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I'm disappointed that someone who thought they could and should write a book on the topic of cartography and GIS didn't spend some time learning visual design given that a map or geospatial data visualisation is a graphical product.

The language and recommendations around visual design are at best novice, misleading and vague. I don't advocate books be longer than they need to be but this was just too brief, especially given the price and the cursory treatment of some topics. At least there is some detail on colour theory. I fear that many people will read this book and continue to churn out hideous-looking maps and GIS products.

I applaud Gretchen for writing such an accessible and informative book but I just wish she had done some research and studied graphic design to ensure a well-rounded book, although I suspect that what I expected to see in this book may be covered in her second book, Cartographer's Toolkit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. A. C. Kiefer on September 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I previously somehow received a verion of this book that was in black and white. For a book discussing design and color theory that is a bit of a stretch of imagination. Promptly though, Gretchen got in touch with me and tried to remnedy this problem as soon as possible. When in the end, things still proceeded slowly she graciously sent me a copy of the book via an express second day air service (to Europe!)

The book packs lots of good advice for the cartographer and individual in general who is working in the field of map design. Today there is a wealth of sources with which anybody who has access to GIS software can create very interestings maps. However designing well designed and communicative maps has, apart from general design and color principles, also some very specific knowledge that is particular to map design. Petersons book discusses these topics effectively and yes, the book is generously illustrated with lots of color illustrations.

The physical compact format makes it an ideal and compact book to keep with you and look things up when in doubt on a particular cartographic design problem. It would have been nice to see a small section on genrally used map projections and when the use of one projection might be better than another. Maybe something for a next edition.

Overall a nice and compact book on the topic creating communicative maps.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Hales on June 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The first thing that stood out to me was the openness and personable presentation of the author in the introduction. As I read through this book I did not see it as a textbook, but I saw it as if I was sitting across the table from Gretchen discussing keys to GIS cartography. She presents each area in a detailed manor as one speaking from experience.

I liked how the book did not focus on a single software package, but provides ideas that could be applied across the board. The examples and topics are presented in a more up to date application. This allows for the incorporation of new media like PowerPoint slides and web maps. Although this book was written with the early career professional in mind, it has a lot of good stuff for everyone no matter the career level.

A few areas that really stood out to me included the challenge of learning to be creative with map design. Observing art and other non map designs help stimulate the creative juices. There is also an excellent detailed layout design checklist. Each element is discussed extensively throughout the chapter. Another helpful area was map fonts. Learning when to use certain fonts, understanding map viewing distance and its correlation to the font size, and understanding the importance of text direction are some of the topics discussed in the font chapter.

I highly recommend this book. It is a great reference book for the beginning cartographer to the seasoned professional. I keep it within arms reach on my desk.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dusty Robinson on May 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The introduction contains a great summary of the purpose of this book. "Many of us enter the GIS profession without so much as one hour of design instruction in our formal educations. This book seeks to fill that void by providing a reference that can be thumbed through time and again as your create your maps."

I have been working in the civil engineering consulting world for the last 11 years. I have certainly created a lot of maps in that time frame, and Gretchen is correct in that I don't have any training in design. I found this book to be a very practical and easy to read guide for understanding the elements of good map design.

The book is not software specific, and not even GIS specific. If you make maps of any type in your line of work this will be a helpful resource to get you off on the right foot, and something to refer back to for guidance on how to create a well designed, better communicating, map.

"The good cartographer is both a scientist and an artist. He must have a through knowledge of his subject and model, the Earth...He must have the ability to generalize intelligently and to make a right selection of the features to show. These are represented by means of lines or colors; and the effective use of lines or colors requires more than knowledge of the subject - it requires artistic judgement." Erwin Josephus Raisz
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

"Gretchen Peterson is a well-known geospatial professional...[Peterson's] extensive experience with geographic analysis and mapping forms the baseline for the knowledge she shares in her publications on maps and cartography. Peterson shares her thoughts about cartography and the geospatial field regularly on her blog and via her @PetersonGIS twitter account." ~GIS Lounge

Peterson maintains a cartography blog at www.gretchenpeterson.com, is a co-founder of Ignite Spatial Northern Colorado, publishes technical articles in leading geo media outlets, and is a data scientist for Boundless. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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