Don’t you think we’d better skidoo? They say this part of the map won’t be safe for big game this year.”
Life, February 4, 1909
This manual establishes the design, weights, and gauges of symbols, and the type styles and sizes to be used in compiling and drafting standard topographic maps prepared by the Army Map Service for publication at the scale of 1:1,000,000.
During the compilation stages, strict adherence to symbol specifications shall not be required. Line weights and gauges may be varied twenty percent (20%), plus or minus, from prescribed specifications.
In using the symbols specified for drafting, strict adherence to the prescribed weights and gauges must be maintained.
The examples below are map symbols for permanent ice and snow features.
The 1953 Army Map Service guide Symbols for Small Scale Maps details map symbol specifications for compiled maps (left, below) and drafted maps (right, below). Compiled maps are the initial draft of a map, where diverse sources of information are drawn together. Using the compiled map, a cartographic draftsman creates the final, drafted map, suitable for printing.
The map symbol specifications include detailed symbol dimensions:
Specifications for glaciers:
Specifications for ice cliffs:
Specifications for the limits of icefields or snowfields:
The entire page 22 of the Army Map Service Symbols for Small Scale Maps, including specifications for permanent snow and ice features is linked below:
I was moving some piles of junk in a storage room and came across a 1934 U.S. Public Works Administration book on Mississippi Valley public works projects (Report of the Mississippi Valley Committee of the Public Works Administration, October 1, 1934). The book is full of maps and other information graphics influenced by Otto Neurath, Gerd Arntz, and Marie Reidemeister’s picture language, isotype.
I always thought isotype had a great look to it. Its context, in Vienna Circle logical positivism, is a bit wonky, and the idea that symbols – if designed carefully enough – could be “universally communicable” across all cultural and social differences, is merely the dream of those born with a peculiar neurology. Nevertheless, the isotype “look” is cool in a retro sort of way, and it has certainly influenced the current spare design ethos in cartography.
Some annotated examples of the isotype “language” from a 1937 article by Neurath:
The Gerd Arntz Web Archive is a spectacular collection of thousands of isotype symbols designed by Arntz. All seem to be free to use. (symbols are copyrighted by Pictoright – thanks to Jonathan Hunt for pointing this out). The site also has a breif biography of Arntz.
In casting about the internets, I was gladdened to find someone had scanned the isotype classic, Atlas of Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft (1930, 14+mb PDF). As far as I know the atlas was printed (on sheets) in limited numbers and has never been easy to find. Sybilla Nikolow discusses the atlas in her article “Society and Economy: An Atlas in Otto Neurath’s Pictorial Statistics from 1930.” (PDF)
A sampling of maps and graphs from the Atlas follows, and a few more useful isotype resources can be found way at the end.
A few interesting isotype resources:
The Isotype Institute documents the history of isotype and has much useful information.
A snazzy discussion of isotype done up by mixing isotype and text is Modern Hieroglyphics. (PDF)
Ellen Lupton reviews the history and significance of isotype in her article “Reading Isotype.” (PDF)
Neurath and the Vienna Method of Picture Statistics (PDF). A chapter out of an e-book called Speaking of Graphics An Essay on Graphicacy in Science, Technology and Business by Paul J. Lewi. Seems like a nice overview of the history of isotype and its characteristics.
The DADA Companion has much information on design and art related to isotype. Search for “isotype” or “Neurath.”
A new book to be published in April of 2009 is called The Transformer: Principles of Making Isotype Charts by Marie Neurath and Robin Kinross.
Austin Kleon’s blog on graphic design has a nice posting on isotype, comics, and information graphics design. Search the blog for other isotype references.
The web magazine Mute has a feature called The Dutch Are Weeping in Four Universal Pictorial Languages At Least that reviews a series of contemporary exhibits that focus on isotype and related ideas. One exhibit called After Neurath has a significant amount of information and links.
The New York Times summarized 2007 US and Coalition member deaths in Iraq in a isotype-esque chart (click for larger version):
Stroom De Haag writes (in the online magazine Archined) about Neurath as the “grandfather of open source.”
Posted in 02 Why Are You Making Your Map?, 09 Map Symbolization, 10 Type on Maps, 11 Color on Maps, Map History, tagged History of Cartography, Map Design, map symbols - farm fields, map symbols - French - 17th-19th century, map symbols - geology, map symbols - hunting grounds, map symbols - prehistoric sites, map symbols - property, map symbols - rivers, map symbols - terrain, map symbols - trees & forests, maps - manuscript on February 3, 2009 | 5 Comments »
Prähistorische Karte von Südwestdeutschland und der Schweiz, 1879
Looking at working maps – manuscripts, field sketches, and provisional maps – reveals a diversity of symbolization and design which are lost in the monoculture of finished, standardized maps.
HistCarto brings together more than 4000 17th-19th century French manuscript maps. All are working maps, and most are hand drawn. Most contain signs of assessment:
These “signs of assessment” include textual commentaries or the addition of symbols, which provide some indication of the ways the maps were made or the uses to which they were put in an administrative or military capacity.
Map symbols and topics shown here include prehistoric sites, farm fields, trees and forests, rivers, hunting grounds, geology, terrain, and property parcels.
The site is in French. Once at the site, click on the Acces a la base link on the right. Then select Recherche (on the left) and Simple. I tried to link each of the maps below to its page at the HistCarto site, but you must be logged into the site for the links to work. Not optimal! So I removed the links. To find the maps, just search the site using the map’s title (below each map).
Detail, farm fields near Neuhof forest (1787):
Plan de la forêt du Neuhof
Detail, farm fields near Poppenreuth (1795):
Mappa Geographica Parochiae Poppenreutensis
Detail, farm fields near Strasbourg (no date):
Carte des environs de Strasbourg
Detail, farm fields near Herlisheim (1760):
Projet d’une nouvelle route entre Gambsheim et Drusenheim
Details, trees, Château de Karlsruhe (no date):
Plan du château de Karlsruhe
Detail, forests near Molsheim (no date):
Plan de Molsheim
Detail, forests near Mont Sainte Odile (1810):
Les environs du Mont Sainte-Odile
Detail, forests near Thann (1815):
Lever à Vue de la Ville de Thann et des Montagnes qui l’environnent
Drachenkopf Forest, detail and full map (no date):
Forêt de Drachenkopf
Detail, map of Strasburg (1765):
Plan de Strasbourg en 1765
Terrains de chasse aux environs de Strasbourg
Revision on Geologic Map, Barr Region (no date):
Région de Barr: Carte Géologique
Detail, hand-drawn map of Euphrates (no date):
The river Euphrates with the Cilician Taurus and Northern Syria
Detail, terrain near Munster (no date):
Carte des Vosges depuis Belfort jusqu’à Landau
Detail, terrain on map of mining concessions near Thann and Dauendorf (1705):
Concessions minières dans les environs de Thann et de Dauendorf
Map showing two roads linking Wissembourg and Fischbach and a new road (in yellow) (no date):
Deux routes reliant Fischbach et Wissembourg
Parcels in a portion of municipal Nordheim (1782):
Portion du communal de Nordheim
Posted in 09 Map Symbolization, Map History, tagged Cartographic Symbols - Trees and Forests, Historical Maps - Russia, History of Cartography, History of Maps, map symbols, Map Symbols - Trees and Forests, Russian Map Symbols - Historical on January 13, 2009 | 7 Comments »
Examples of map symbols used to show trees and forests on old Russian maps (1700s & 1800s) are documented in Izobrazhenie Lesa Na Kartakh by Liudmila Andreevna Shaposhnikova. The title is roughly translated to “How Forests are Depicted on Maps.” The book was published in Moskva, former USSR, in 1957.
1/22/09: Tree symbols from these maps inspired a new role-playing map by Chgowiz – very cool! Click on the close-up below to get the entire map:
4/8/09: Tree symbols from these old Russian maps have also been incorporated in the soon to be released Ortelius map illustration software for Macintosh:
Official sites of execution – prisons, military bases, etc. – are found in parts of the semi-civilized world where capital punishment is still practiced (shown in red on the map below).
Alas, these sites where we kill people so people stop killing people (and other assorted reasons) are not typically symbolized on modern maps. I guess this is one of the ways we Lie With Maps.
A nice summary of capital punishment around the world can be found at Wikipedia. For those of you keeping score at home, Capital Punishment UK keeps a tidy list of the most recent executions around the world. For last month (September ’08), it looks like the US is in first place. Go USA!
There are many ways to execute people, including burning, boiling to death, breaking wheel, burial, crucifixion, crushing, decapitation, dehydration, devouring by animals, disembowelment, dismemberment, drawing and quartering, drowning, electrocution, explosives, flaying, garrote, gassing, guillotine, hanging, impalement, lethal injection, marooning, nitrogen asphyxiation, poisoning, pendulum blade, sawing, scaphism, shooting, slow slicing, snake pit, stabbing, starvation, stoning, thrown from a height, tearing apart by horses, and venomous stings.
There don’t seem to be map symbols for many of these methods, but there are a few historical examples hanging around out there, mostly for gibbets and gallows.
Francois de Dainville, in his Le Language des Geographes (1964, pp. 301-302) compiled map symbols from historical European maps (1550-1771) showing different ways to symbolize gibbets and gallows and other curious structures for execution by hanging. The text below the symbols (in the graphic at the top of this post) indicates the historical maps the symbols were taken from.
The 1795 edition of a New Map of Hampshire by John Lodge includes a small gallows symbol:
John Rocque’s map of London, Westminster and Southwark (1746) includes a symbol for the Tyburn gallows and the location “Where Soldiers are Shot”:
Valerie Kivelson illustrated an execution map symbol in her book The Cartographies of Tsardom (2006).
In this case the map is Russian, from the 17th century, by the Russian cartographer Semen Remezov. The historical context is Russian Imperial expansion into Siberia in earlier centuries.
In his History Remezov approvingly describes how one of Ermak’s lieutenants pacified the natives of the Nazym District by attacking settlements, capturing their strongest men, hanging them from gallows by one leg, and then shooting them. The scene is illustrated in the History and captured Remezov’s imagination so much that he inscribed the tiny image of a man hanging by one leg in several of his maps, literally mapping the violence of imperial conquest onto the landscape.
Remezov illustrated the scene in his Kratkaia Sibirskaia Letopis:
Posted in 03 Mappable Data, 09 Map Symbolization, Map History, tagged Cartographic Design, Cartography, landform maps, Map Design, map symbols, maps, scenery on maps, terrain maps on April 3, 2008 | 8 Comments »
Erwin Raisz is among the most creative cartographers of the 20th century, known in particular for his maps of landforms.
In 1931 Raisz outlined and illustrated the methods behind his landform maps, in an article in the Geographical Review (Vol. 21, No. 2, April 1931). Excerpts from the text and graphics in the article are included below.
Raisz’s approach is to create complex pictorial map symbols for specific landform types. Each specific application, of course, would have to modify the symbols to fit the configuration of particular landforms.
One of the limitations of Raisz’s work is that it is so personal and idiosyncratic that it virtually defies automation or application in the realm of computer mapping. Thus digital cartography has, in some cases, limited the kind of maps we can produce.
There is one problem in cartography which has not yet been solved: the depiction of the scenery of large areas on small-scale maps.
Most of our school maps show contour lines with or without color tints. Excellent as this method is on detailed topographic sheets … it fails when it has to be generalized for a small-scale map of a large area. Nor does the other common method, hachuring, serve better.
For the study of settlement, land utilization, or any other aspect of man’s occupation of the earth it is more important to have information about the ruggedness, trend, and character of mountains, ridges, plains, plateaus, canyons, and so on-in a word, the physiography of the region.
Our purpose here is to describe and define more closely a method already, in use, what we may call the physiographic method of showing scenery. This method is an outgrowth of the block diagram. [T]he method was fully developed by William Morris Davis. Professor Davis has used block diagrams more to illustrate physiographic principles than to represent actual scenery.
Professor A. K. Lobeck’s Physiographic Diagram of the United States and the one of Europe do away entirely with the block form, and the physiographic symbols are systematically applied to the vertical map. His book Block Diagrams is the most extended treatise on the subject.
It is probable that the mathematically-minded cartographer will abhor this method. It goes back to the primitive conceptions of the early maps, showing mountains obliquely on a map where everything should be seen vertically. We cannot measure off elevation or the angle of slope. Nevertheless, this method is based on as firm a scientific principle as a contour or hachure map: the underlying science is not mathematics but physiography.
If we regard the physiographic map as a systematic application of a set of symbols instead of a bird’s-eye view of a region, we do not violate cartographic principles even though the symbols are derived from oblique views instead of vertical views. It may be observed that our present swamp symbols are derived from a side view of water plants.
Landform map symbols include: plains (sand & gravel, semiarid, grassland, savannah, forest, needle forest, forest swamp, swamp, tidal marsh, cultivated land), coastal plain, flood plain, alluvial fans, conoplain, cuesta land, plateau (subdued, young, dissected), folded mountains, dome mountains, block mountains, complex mountains (high, glaciated, medium, low, rejuvenated), peneplane, lava plateau (young, dissected), volcanoes, limestone region (with sinkholes, dissected, karst, tropical, mogotes), coral reefs, sand dunes, desert of gravel (serir), deflated stone surfaces (hamada), clay (takyr), loess region, glacial moraine, kames, drumlin region, fjords, glaciers, shoreline (sand, gravel, cliffed), and elevated shorelines & terraces.
Posted in 03 Mappable Data, 09 Map Symbolization, 13 Multimedia Mapping, tagged Map Design, Map Symbolization, Mapping with Sound, Multimedia Mapping, Sonification, Sound Maps on March 25, 2008 | 6 Comments »
Quite a few years ago I wrote an overview article on the use of sound for representing geographic data, including a series of sound variables for mapping I developed. The article was titled “Sound and Geographic Visualization” and was published as a chapter in the now out-of-print book Visualization in Modern Cartography (MacEachren & Taylor eds., 1994).
Sound is used to convey information all the time, but less so in the realm of mapping where the visual dominates. The article explores the possibilities of making maps with sound, or using sound in tandem with a visual display to add additional layers of information.
Some work on tactile mapping had had occurred at the time the article was published, as well as a few dozen articles on sound for representing data in general (not geographic data). Subsequently, research on multi-sensory mapping has expanded but not as much as I expected. We still can’t hear data with Google Earth.
For an updated bibliography of related work, see the articles and books that cite “Sound and Geographic Visualization” at Google Scholar.
The article is below as originally published. It holds up ok, although technology has changed quite a bit.
Denis Elder emailed me (Feb 6, 2012) and asked about the “manuscript videotape” cited in the paper below. The video was made to accompany my 1993 Association of American Geographers (AAG) conference presentation on using sound with maps. Back then, showing the examples (which were created with the software Director on a Mac) live at the conference would not have been easy, so I made a video of the maps being used (and making sounds). This presentation was an early form of the work that would be published as “Sound and Geographic Visualization.”
I managed to find the video and had our media center create a digital version (in Quicktime / .mov format).
The video and the notes for the presentation (“Mapping with Sound”) are below. This is old stuff, so don’t laugh!
“Mapping with Sound.” (PDF) Presented at the 1993 Association of American Geographers Conference, Atlanta, Georgia.
“Mapping with Sound.” (Quicktime Movie, 9 minutes, 84mb) to accompany paper. Explanation of this video is in the above PDF of the paper presented at the conference.
Sound and Geographic Visualization
“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”
Harry Warner on being confronted with the prospect of the sound movie.
The issue of sound in the context of visualization may at first seem incongruous. There is, however, evidence to support the claim that sound is a viable means of representing and communicating information and can serve as a valuable addition to visual displays. Abstracted two-dimensional space and the visual variables – the traditional purview of cartography – may not always be adequate for meeting the visualization needs of geographers and other researchers interested in complex dynamic and multivariate phenomena. The current generation of computer hardware and software gives cartographers access to a broadened range of design options: three-dimensionality, time (animation), interactivity, and sound. Sound – used alone or in tandem with two-or three-dimensional abstract space, the visual variables, time, and interactivity – provides a means of expanding the representational repertoire of cartography and visualization.
This chapter discusses the use of realistic and abstract sound for geographic visualization applications. Examples of how and why sound may be useful are developed and discussed. Uses of sound in geographic visualization include sound as vocal narration, as a mimetic symbol, as a redundant variable, as a means of detecting anomalies, as a means of reducing visual distraction, as a cue to reordered data, as an alternative to visual patterns, as an alarm or monitor, as a means of adding non-visual data dimensions to interactive visual displays, and for representing locations in a sound space. The chapter concludes with research issues concerning sound and its use in geographic visualization.
Experiencing and Using Sound to Represent Data
Our sense of vision often seems much more dominant than our sense of hearing. Yet one only has to think about the everyday environment of sound surrounding us to realize that the sonic aspects of space have been undervalued in comparison to the visual (Ackerman 1990, Tuan 1993). Consider the experience of the visually impaired to appreciate the importance of sound and how it aids in understanding our environment. Also consider that human communication is primarily carried out via speech and that we commonly use audio cues in our day to day lives – from the honk of a car horn to the beep of a computer to the snarl of a angry dog as we approach it in the dark (Baecker and Buxton 1987).
There are several perspectives which can contribute to understanding the use of sound for representing data. Acoustic and psychological perspectives provide insights into the physiological and perceptual possibilities of hearing (Truax 1984, Handel 1989). An environmental or geographical perspective on sound can be used to examine our day to day experience with sound and to explore how such experiential sound can be applied to geographic visualization (Ohlson 1976, Schafer 1977, Schafer 1985, Porteous and Mastin 1985, Gaver 1988, Pocock 1989). Understanding how sound and music is used in non-western cultures may inform our understanding of communication with sound (Herzog 1945, Cowan 1948). Knowledge about music composition and perception provides a valuable perspective on the design and implementation of complicated, multivariate sound displays (Deutsch 1982). Many of these different perspectives have coalesced in the cross-disciplinary study of sound as a means of data representation, referred to as sonification, acoustic visualization, auditory display, and auditory data representation (Frysinger 1990). Within this context both realistic and abstract uses of sound are considered.
Nonmineral, Mineral, Artesian, Gravity, Artesian, Gravity
Rise, No Rise, Rise, No rise, Cold, Warm, Cold, Cold, Warm, Cold
Flowing, Nonflowing, Flowing, Nonflowing
Those are all the wells and springs…
In general there has been no attempt at uniformity of practice in the delineation on maps of underground water features or of wells or springs… …it now appears desirable that a concerted movement be made to develop a uniform system of symbols for use on maps.
The number of symbols devised should be sufficient for the representation of all features which it is desirable to show. If wholly arbitrary devices are used, confusion will result whenever a considerable number are used simultaneously, but this difficulty will be largely avoided if the system adopted is based on a few suggestive forms grouped according to easily remembered principles.
The principles to be considered in devising a system of well and spring symbols for underground water maps are (1) simplicity, (2) clearness, (3) ease of making, and (4) suggestiveness. Failure to answer these various requirements ruled out many of the arbitrary systems used in the past…
It is believed that a system of symbols can be most logically developed if a single arbitrary device is taken as a base. In common practice a circle is most often used for a well, while more or less closely allied devices are used for springs. Inasmuch as both wells and springs are ordinarily approximately circular, this device, which seems to have both the required simplicity and suggestiveness, is proposed.
Words of map symbolization wisdom from “Representation of Wells and Springs on Maps” by Myron Fuller in Water-Supply and Irrigation Paper No. 160, U.S. Geological Survey (1906).