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Evaluating Cross-blended Hypsometric Tints: A User Study in the United States, Switzerland, and Germany

The results of a survey with 200 participants comparing cross-blended hypsometric tints (elevation colors) with conventional hypsometric tints. The survey revealed significant differences between map readers in the US and those in Europe

The Design of Gray Earth: A Monochrome Terrain Dataset of the World

A Web preview of an article that will apepar in Cartographic Perspectives No. 74. The article discusses Gray Earth, the newest raster basemap in the Natural Earth collection, featuring shaded relief merged with locally-enhanced hypsometric tints.

Creating Natural Earth Map Data

This retrospective paper examines the creation of Natural Earth raster data, now available in three versions, and discusses possible future additions to the dataset. Presented at the New Zealand Cartographic Association, Geocart2012 conference.

Shaded Relief Archive—A Digital Repository for Cartographic Relief Art

An article about the Shaded Relief Archive project published in World of Museums magazine, summer 2012, Moscow. By T. Patterson and B. Jenny. Available in English and in Russian with additional introductory text and illustrations by A.Kovalev.

The Development and Rationale of Cross-blended Hypsometric Tints (PDF, 1.7 MB)

Cross-blended hypsometric tints employ variable lowland colors customized to match the differing natural environments of world regions. Green is absent from arid lowlands, as is typical of traditional hypsometric tints. Published in Cartographic Perspectives (No. 69, 2011), the journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS).

Outside the Bubble: Real-world Mapmaking Advice for Students (78 KB)

Maps made in a university class differ from those made by careerists in terms of purpose and design. I discuss what these differences are, why they exist, and the changes students can expect when transitioning to the professional ranks. Published in Cartographic Perspectives (No. 65, Winter 2010), the journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS).

NACIS Map Design Survey (2.4 MB)

Results from an online survey that gives a snapshot of the opinions held by the mapping community on map design. Published in Cartographic Perspectives (No. 57, Spring 2008), the journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS). To download raw survey data click here.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of 2D vs. 3D Trailhead Maps

A study conducted at Zion National Park by David Schobesberger, University of Vienna, Austria, to determine which type of map best communicates trail information to hikers at trailhead signboards. The study involved 185 on trail interviews and over 300 passive observations of people reading trailhead maps.

Flex Projector—Interactive Software for Designing World Map Projections (2.0 MB)

A disussion of Flex Projector software and the development of the Natural Earth projection, a pseudocylindrical projection designed specifically for presenting world physical data. Published in Cartographic Perspectives (No. 59, Winter 2008), the journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS).

Introducing Plan Oblique Relief (2.5 MB)

Read about plan oblique relief, a new digital technique for rendering three-dimensional terrain on planimetric maps. Published in Cartographic Perspectives (No. 57, Spring 2007), the journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS).

Developing a New Visitor Map of Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Producing a National Park Service visitor map is a collaborative effort involving many people. The article discusses this and the challenge of mapping a remote mountain and marine wilderness for a most unique audience of park visitors—cruise ship passengers.

Looking Closer: A Guide to Making Bird's-eye Views of National Park Service Cultural and Historical Sites

In-depth discussion of NPS bird's-eye views and practical design and production tips about large-scale 3D mapping. The accompanying image gallery showcases some 30 years of work by NPS contract illustrators, in both traditional and digital forms. Published in Cartographic Perspectives (No. 52) Fall 2005.

Hal Shelton Revisited: Designing and Producing Natural-Color Maps with Satellite Land Cover Data

Based on Hal Shelton's pioneering work a half century ago, this paper discusses how to produce natural-color maps with digital data. An image gallery takes you on a tour of North America from the arctic archipelago of Canada to the volcanoes of southern Mexico. First published in Cartographic Perspectives (No. 47, Winter 2004).

Using Cross-blended Hypsometric Tints for Generalized Environmental Mapping

A technique in Photoshop for systematically creating continuous-tone hypsometric tints that mimic natural vegetation colors. Small-scale maps are the intended use.

Getting Real: Reflecting on the New Look of National Park Service Maps

An examination of the techniques developed by the NPS for designing 2D plan maps with a faux realistic look. A gallery of images rewards readers who make it all the way to the end. Published in Cartographic Perspectives (No. 43) Fall 2002.

DEM Manipulation and 3D Terrain Visualization: Techniques used by the U.S. National Park Service

This illustrated piece discusses the manipulation of raw DEM data in Photoshop for creating 3D cartographic special effects. Published in the special ICA Commission on Mountain Cartography issue (Vol. 38) of Cartographica, the journal of the Canadian Cartographic Association.

A View from on High: Heinrich Berann's Panoramas and Landscape Visualization Techniques for the U.S. National Park Service

This paper analyzes the work of the late Heinrich Berann, the master traditional panoramist from Lans, Austria. The article includes illustrations comparing Berann's panoramas to digital landscapes and four hi-res panoramas for downloading (great for making screen savers). The paper was first presented at the 2000 ICA Mountain Cartography Workshop, Rudolfshutte, Austria and was later published in the Spring 2000 issue (Vol. 36) of Cartographic Perspectives.

A Desktop Approach to Shaded Relief Production

An examination of shaded relief production and presentation techniques using Photoshop 4.0 and higher. The article appeared in the Winter 1997 (No. 36) issue of Cartographic Perspectives, the journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS).

3D Landscape Presentation: Experiments at the U.S. National Park Service

An illustrated paper that reports on techniques developed by the National Park Service for the production, presentation, and manipulation of 3D landscapes. Presented at the 1998 Mountain Cartography Workshop, Bielerhöhe, Austria.

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