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Posts Tagged ‘map symbols’

Francois de Dainville, in his Le Language des Geographes (1964, p. 162), compiled map symbols for various water crossings from historical European maps (1543-1777).

The symbols include boats (Bac, above), fords (Gué, below)…

…and bridges (Pont, below).

The entire set of symbols in one image:

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The construction of symbols on maps requires the interaction of many elements.  How these elements come together – literally the intersection of bits of points, lines, and areas – is the subject of a series of illustrations entitled “The Drawing of Combined Symbols.”  The majority of these guidelines focus on peculiar details that when done well, the typical map user won’t even notice. They are among the fascinating hyper-minutiae of cartography.

Faces indicate the quality of the choices illustrated – good, ok, and poor.

Examples are illustrated by Prof. Kei Kanazawa (heading the Working Group of the Japan Cartographers Association) in a chapter entitled “Techniques of Map Drawing and Lettering” in the out-of-print book Basic Cartography, Vol. 1 (International Cartographic Association, 1984, p. 45). These guidelines were developed for the pen and ink era of cartography, yet most are applicable to contemporary digital mapping.

Illustrations are for educational purposes only. Click on an illustration for a larger version.

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Railway Symbols: Note arrangement of tics and black and white parts.

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Manner of connecting line symbols corresponding to broken lines.

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Several examples of crossing line symbols.

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Drawing of double broken line symbols.

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Drawing of double line road symbols in connection with other symbols.

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Position of individual point symbols: (1) Place of explanation symbol, (2) Point symbols corresponding to the exact place on the ground.

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Drawing of contours.

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Relation of contours and road symbols.

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Boundary along linear objects. Parts of a boundary along linear objects such as a river, road, and so on which are clearly recognized are usually omitted.

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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.

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The map symbol specifications include detailed symbol dimensions:

Specifications for glaciers:

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Specifications for ice cliffs:

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Specifications for the limits of icefields or snowfields:

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

Kivelson writes

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:

Have a nice day!

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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.

Raisz writes:

There is one problem in cartography which has not yet been solved: the depiction of the scenery of large areas on small-scale maps.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wells

Springs

Successful, Unsuccessful

Nonmineral, Mineral

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…

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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).

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A cartogram varies the size of geographic areas based on the data values associated with each area. Typical cartograms scale geographic areas to population, GNP, electoral votes, etc.

This “apportionment map,” as creator William B. Bailey (Professor of Political Economy, Yale University) calls it, scales the size of U.S. states to the size of their population (in 1910). Note that New York has colonized much of the upper Midwest.

The map, published April 6, 1911 in The Independent is one of the earliest cartograms I have seen.

Apportionment means “allotment in proper shares.” Thus, each state size is allotted based on population, not actual geographical area. Is a curious term to use, possibly more meaningful than the somewhat vague term “cartogram” (a “map diagram”).

Bailey writes:

The map shown on this page is drawn on the principle that the population is evenly distributed thruout the whole United States, and that the area of the States varies directly with their population. With the map constructed on this principle some curious changes become apparent. On the ordinary map the four States, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, together with the seven States which lie to the west of them, comprise more than one-third of the territory of the United States, and the area of each one of them is considerably larger than that of New York State; yet the population of New York State alone is nearly one-fourth larger than the combined population of these eleven Western States. In fact, the entire territory to the west of the Mississippi River contains only about 5 per cent. more people than are to be found in the New England States, together with New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Yet the territory at present covered by these nine Eastern States is only about two-thirds as large as the State of Texas. If we should add to these nine Eastern States the population of Ohio, the total would be greater by about three millions than the entire population west of the Mississippi. The State of Rhode Island, hardly visible to the naked eye on the ordinary map, now becomes almost as large as the territory of Utah and Arizona combined.

Were Texas as densely populated as is the State of Rhode Island, it would contain a population of nearly eighty-five millions, leaving only six millions of our people to be scattered thruout the rest of the country. Were the population of the United Stats as a whole as dense of that of Rhode Island this country would have more than a billion inhabitants.

(more…)

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Map of New York City, Showing the Distribution of the Principal Nationalities by Sanitary Districts published in Harper’s Weekly (June 1, 1894) using 1890 U.S. Census data.

This map looks great, revealing a substantial amount of information with its intense, juxtaposed patterns.

The textures on the map show the relative amounts of different nationalities (qualitative data) in each of the areas (sanitary districts) on the map:

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The map shows if a district has more or less diversity (more or fewer lines of different textures), the relative proportions of different nationalities, the nationalities themselves, and, at a broader scale, the districts that are similar or differ in their nationality constitution. Because of the careful rotation of the lines of textures, the different sanitary districts can also be distinguished from each other.

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Ah, the shingly shore…

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William McTaggart, A Shingly Shore, oil on canvas, 1904.

The nature of the coast: steep, flat, cliffy, rocky, sandhills, stony, shingly, sandy, mangrove, mud, gravel, coral, breakers, rubble, unsurveyed.

The nautical chart map symbol for a shingly shore is taken from section A of Chart #1, Nautical chart symbols and abbreviations used by U.S. Lake Survey, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, Dept. of Defense; U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, Dept. of Commerce; U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office, Dept. of Defense (Washington DC, 1957). The entire page A with the rest of the symbols is here (1.2 mb jpg). A contemporary version of these symbols, still Chart #1, is here.

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