Designed Maps: A Sourcebook for GIS Users

Robin Wilson, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2002, hardcover, ISBN 0-691-11533-8, list $24.95, Amazon $20.48

I don’t know about you, but I love to dig around in used book stores. I found this book in Placerville, of all places, for 15 bucks, but you can get it for not much more on Amazon. (Yes, I paid sales tax.)

Our Vallejo speaker, Larry Orman, spoke about making maps to sell ideas. Make the map to show what you think is important. That’s what his company does. Designed Maps, written by a professor of Geography at Penn State, illustrates how this is easily done without being too technical. As an example, she shows a standard full color road map of a portion of Spokane. She then makes three variations: an emphasis on road hierarchy, an emphasis on parks and a black and white design. It requires subtle skill to make a readable black and white map: the roads are white! The variants show how the same information can be manipulated by the mapmaker to fulfill his customer’s desires.

Included are many more full color maps, grouped by topographic, navigation, recreation, infrastructure and thematic map interests. One of the thematic maps is a net migration map for California to and from the rest of the
US. A dramatic red arrow shows inmigration from 1955 to 1960. Equally dramatic blue arrows show outmigration
from 1995 to 2000. Last person out please turn off the lights.

A fascinating growth map for Gettysburg shows buildings built before 1863 and still standing along with buildings built since 1924 in a lighter shade of red and 1998 buildings in blue. Maps for climbers show important differences from standard topos. Like all ESRI books this is well done and offers a colorful look at practical maps and how they can be manipulated to meet varying needs.

Reviewed by Bill Warren
From the Society’s September 2011 Newsletter