Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The Visual Language of Maps


Geraldine Sarmiento of Mapzen has been exploring how cartographers communicate information about the world to map readers through drawings on a two dimensional surface. She examines how cartographers use simple lines to convey movement, texture and form.

In Explore the World of Form with Morphology Geraldine illustrates her thesis with examples taken from interactive maps. These examples include specific forms used in maps, such as airports (eight of the busiest airports in the world can be seen in the image above), bridges, buildings and roads.

When these forms are examined in isolation from the rest of the map we may begin to better understand the visual language used to communicate meaning to the map user. Geraldine has therefore developed a tool which allows you to isolate specific forms on an interactive map. Morphology is an interactive map which allows you to study forms in cartography by isolating specific forms on the map. You can use the drop-down menu to filter the map to show only isolated forms. For example, if you select 'airports' from the menu then all the other map features will be removed and only airports will be shown on the map.
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