Monday, October 29, 2007


Cartography deals with the design of maps themselves. There are many good resources for improving your map design - among the best are:

Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users
by Cynthia A. Brewer  ESRI Press, 2005, 220 pp - published by ESRI Press, this comprehensive book is a complete guide to a wide range of design techniques.

Making Maps : A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS   
by John Krygier and Denis Wood   2005    This book is equally useful, but focuses more on the concepts of design. It is less a technical cartography guide than a tour of effective map communication strategies. Purchase from

Other good web resources include:

GIS Lounge Cartography site

North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS)

Cartographic Communication Notes - Univ. Colorado faculty site, with an eclectic and useful array of guidelines

The Map Room - a great blog about mapping

Color Brewer and ColorBlender – useful tools for choosing colors that work well together in map design and cartography

Relief Shading website - for those who want to explore how to create beautiful elevation shading in their maps

Making Maps Easy to Read  – A somewhat technical site in the UK that has a variety of good tutorials

ESRI Map Gallery – see this online gallery of users' maps

Communication Arts Magazine – go to Interactive Design Annual

Perry-Castenada Map Library at Univ. Texas - excellent online resource of a wide range of maps.  

David Rumsey Map Collection, a remarkable online collection of over 10,000 maps from the 1700s to 1900s. – 

ESRI Map Books Online

Published annually since 1984, the ESRI Map Book is the only publication dedicated to acknowledging the important and innovative accomplishments of GIS users around the world.

ESRI Map Books Online

Each volume of the ESRI Map Book showcases a small portion of the work presented at the Map Gallery Exhibition at the annual ESRI International User Conference.

Relief Shading website

The Relief Shading website is intended to give cartographers, map
enthusiasts, and students in-depth information about shaded relief.

Click on the images below to see selected examples.
Matterhorn by R. Leuzinger Map of Grisons by E. Imhof and H.
Leuzinger Antarctica by H.C. Berann Pik Lenin by R. Spiess

Shaded relief is a method for representing topography on maps in a
natural, aesthetic, and intuitive manner. On this website you will
find rules and guidelines for the design and production of shaded
relief, an overview of its history, examples produced by professional
relief artists, technical tips, and much more.

For additional information about shaded relief and 3D panoramas, visit
this excellent website: