Cartographic Design

  1. Define cartography

  2. List what cartography involves

  3. Describe the stages of map design

  4. List the basic graphic elements

  5. Describe the primary visual variables

  6. Utilize primary visual variables to make marks on a map appear more or less distinctive

  7. Describe the secondary visual variables

  8. Describe how cartography is different than other types of communication like written and spoken language

  9. List and describe the design principles discussed in class

  10. Define Figure Ground Organization

  11. List several factors that help to distinguish between figure and ground

  12. Describe why hiearchical organization is important and how it is achieved

  13. Describe the controls on map design


  • Cartography

  • Graphic Ideation

  • Graphic Plan

  • Point

  • Line

  • Polygon

  • Primary Visual Variables

  • Shape

  • Size

  • Orientation

  • Color (hue, value, chroma)

  • Secondary Visual variables

  • arrangement

  • texture

  • orientation

  • communication

  • graphic communication

  • legibility

  • visual contrast

  • figure ground organization

  • hierarchical organization


Cartographic Design - PowerPoint
This lecture was taken from Chapter 18 of the book Elements of Cartography. It encompasses some or all of the Chapters 6 and 7 (and others) of the course book MakingMaps.


  1. Print your maps from our Bent Creek Exercise

  2. Critique the map below (this map was not designed to be viewed on a computer screen). We will be reviewing it in class printed as large format.

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