[RAPPORT] ESPON mapping guide


Maps are a great way of displaying statistical data. It allows summarizing a complex and important information into clear and compact presentation. They can bring a great help in spotting patterns within data. Maps are accessible for many reasons. People understand maps (at least, think they do). People like maps because they attract attention and brighten up presentation. Nevertheless, and in a scientific versus, the interest of the representation of geographical information on maps can be summarized in three main points

The localisation is the most elementary subject related to geographic information. It allows answering to question “Where can we find this phenomenon?” The precision of the localisation depends on the quality of this kind of information such as statistical databases, statistical yearbook and so on. Locate a geographical object has generally a sense only if it is possible to compare it to other one “Why this object is located here and not there?”. Answers can be read off directly from the map without any other help.

The comparison: Geographical objects analysis makes a concrete sense when it is possible to compare them. “What is the situation of this region as compare to the other one?”; “Can we observe geographical pattern, such as discontinuities, concentration?” Maps are useful tools for interpreting and pointing out specific geographical patterns, which are impossible to catch with an only statistical analysis.

Planning: Since the relations between European territories are very intensive, territorial planning on a special location must interfere with other territories and have to.

Despite many interests to use maps within ESPON, these kinds of documents have also their limits. Maps always generalise and simplify information. Mapping is more than just rendering; it also getting to know the phenomenon which is to be mapped. That‟s why mapping is not an easy action. Deliver the right message must remain the first objective of map design and mapping allows you to orchestrate the elements of the map to best convey its message to its audience. Thus, the design of maps is mainly concerned with making choices: the choice of mapping method (proportional symbol or choropleth map, isoline or grid map or even a cartogram), the choice of the aggregation level on which information as to be depicted, the choice on the level of statistic areas and the type of data (absolute or relative representation), the choice of graphic variables (such as differences in size, value, grain, colour, direction and shape) to be used. These choices are fundamental‟s one, they influence people‟s conception and visualisation of space.

This technical report is not a formal cartography book but allows everyone to understand easily how to produce an effective and operational map in the ESPON 2013 program. The report is organized in two parts: (i) Enhancing information (mapping methods and graphic semiology); (ii) Maps and communication (map is to deliver a simple and clear message).
[Télécharger le rapport au format pdf]

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