Home About Forms Registration Graduation Course Descriptions Student Resources Faculty Resources

Geospatial Science 270

GEOS 270
Fundamentals of Cartography.

Catalog Entry

GEOS 270.  Fundamentals of Cartography. (T) (4)

Four hours lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites:  GEOS 125 and GEOS 250.

Cartographic theory with a focus on map design will be discussed in lecture and in practice with a lab.  Topics will include but not be limited to studying map layout, balance, typography, color use, use of map projections for presenting spatial information, use of map symbols, as well as learning to design different categories of maps including dot maps, proportional symbol maps, and choropleth maps.  Students who have received credit for GEOG 214 may not also receive credit for GEOS 270.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

1.    History of Cartography

        a. Many examples of types of maps through history

        b. How ideas affected maps and exploration over time

        c. Similarities and differences of maps over time

2.    Different types of maps

        a. Virtual maps

        b. Thematic maps

3.    Map Design

        a. Design process

        b. Creativity in design

        c. Experimentation

        d. Map Aesthetics

        e. Map Design is both subjective and objective

4. Design elements

        a. Map elements

                i. Frame line

                ii. Neat line

                iii. Mapped area

                iv. Inset title and subtitle

                v. Scale

                vi. Orientation (north arrow or graticule)

        b. Design levels on a map

                i. Map composition

                ii. Planar organization

                iii. Visual hierarchy

5. Use of symbols, text, color

        a. Balance

        b. Focus of attention

        c. Contrast

        d. Figure ground phenomenon

        e. Interposition phenomenon

        f. Type

                i. How cartographic lettering differs from book and text lettering

                ii. Type size

                iii. Letter spacing

                iv. Typeface classification

                v. Serif and sans-serif

                vi. Type personality

                vii. Legibility and discernibly

                viii. Harmony

                ix. Capital and lowercase

                x. Titles and legends

        g. Type placement guidelines

                i. Points

                ii. Linear features

                iii. Areal features

6. Color

        a. Color in design

        b. Color dimensions

                i. Hue

                ii. Value

                iii. Saturation

        c.    Color interaction

                i. Simultaneous contrast

                ii. Successive contrast

                iii. Color vision impairment and accessible design

                iv. Color preferences

                v. Color connotation (association)

                vi. Color conventions

        d. Color models

                i. RGB

                ii. CMYK

                iii. HSV

7. Techniques of map production

        a. Printing

                i. EPS files

                ii. Offset printing

        b.    Plotting

        c.    Electronic display

8. Use of Map Projections

        a. Understanding what map projections should be used for display of different types of spatial information

9. Qualitative data use in maps

       a. Use of color and text

10. Quantitative data use in maps

        a. Use of color and text

        b. Bivariate and multivariate mapping

11. Different categories of thematic maps

        a. Dot maps

        b. Proportional symbol maps

        c. Choropleth maps

        d. Isarithmic maps

12. Student's final cartography project


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will utilize the knowledge gained in the lecture portion of the class to apply towards weekly lab assignments.  Each lecutre and lab will build on one another toward a final goal of being able to produce an accurate and visually appealing map suited for a specific map reader.

Along with the weekly lab assignments, there will be a mid-term and final exam.  Also, a final project will be required of each student, which is to produce a thematic map of their choice and of which has been designed in an accurate and visually appealing way using the knowledge they have gained from the class.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The students goals and objectives are to learn about different types of maps, as well as how they are created and designed in a way that allows the maps reader to quickly and thoroughly understand the information presented on the map.  These objectives will be achieved through lecture and weekly lab assignments.  The ultimate goal of the class is for each individual student to produce a thematic map of their choice, which has been designed in an accurate, informative, and visually appealing way.


Assessment Measures

Two examinations, weekly lab assignments, and a final project involving the use of comprehensive knowledge of cartography gained from the class.

Other Course Information

A standard textbook entitled "Thematic Cartography and Geographic Visualization" (Slocum et al. 2005; Prentice Hall) will be utilized.


Review and Approval

October, 2007

February, 2010