Powerful Map Design


Associated Reading: MM Chapter 7 Intellectual and Visual Hierarchies

How to Design a Map: Five Map Design Principles

1. Figure-ground: key principle. Flat maps have depth!
2. Data richness
3. Visual hierarchy
4. Hypothesis generation
5. Map balance

Strategies for effectively presenting graphic information:

  • Quantitative thinking comes down to one question: Compared to what?
  • show cause and effect
  • Don't break up evidence by accidents of means of production. Integrate text and graphics.
  • The world is multivariate, so the display should be high-dimensional:  
  • The presentation stands and falls on the quality, relevance, and integrity of the content
  1. Illustration of design excellence: Joseph Minard's map of Napoleon's march: famous event, famous map
    — a very good, clear reproduction. With extra-big version!
    — a kind of semi-interactive version
    — a photo of the original
  2. Useful Websites: summary of a Tufte talk (Word format), here's another a bit shorter, or one a bit longer