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  • Writer's pictureAyeisha Sheldon

GIS: Cartography & Visualisation

This semester, as part of my Masters studies, I undertook a course on Cartography & Visualisation. During this course, we learnt design principles on how to create visually aesthetic maps, how we can best convey our message to our reader and how to display and position items to really make them stand out.

As I am very interested in visualisation and design, this course really was one of my favourite and one of the most interesting courses for the semester! Part of our assessment was to create a basic static GIS map focusing on the design principals learnt in class.

I found the process of creating this map different from previous maps I had made. I really thought about the positions of the elements (legend, text, graphs etc.), the colour scheme and the fonts, things that I didn't really give a second thought about when previously making maps.

Although I am happy with how my map has turned out, there are still many techniques and things that could be added, removed or changed to improve this map. I think one of my favourite parts of this map design is the font (I LOVE FONTS) and the small, discrete, icons. This map is supposed to look cute and fun and (hopefully) easy for the viewer to interpret!

Static Map


Interactive online map

Our final assessment task was to transform our static map into an online interactive web map, using Mapbox and HTML. I have previously used ArcGIS Online, extensively, to make online web maps and interfaces. However, the major difference is that ArcGIS Online is template based and doesn't require much use of code or HTML to create as Mapbox does.

When undertaking this task and creating this map, pretty much from scratch, it taught me a new technique and skill in how to make open source coded maps! It was very exciting and fun, but also difficult and challenging - as I'm sure you all know coding is uhm frustrating, if you literally have one '.' or quote out of place the whole thing crashes. In this sense, this map is not very technical in it's GIS processes, more it has been created and made entirely by ME through Mapbox and HTML. Something I am so proud of! I am very excited to explore more and make more maps in Mapbox and HTML!

I also, more recently, have uploaded these codes to Github in order to display the map to the world wide web, right here - below. This is another thing I am very proud of, as I am not a coder or engineer, so getting this up on Github (with Youtube tutorial help of course) is another step in the coding direction!

Depending on which browser or device you are on, this map may look very squashed in the view, I guess I didn't know how to optimise it for phone etc. so please open the link and view it on the computer! Check it out here.


Please see some screenshots below of what the interface looks like!

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