[RAPPORT] ECL mapping guide



This guide sets out to present the choices open to designers for effective and attractive cartographic representations. Maps can deceive (Monmonier, 1993) or conversely come very close to reality. The message and its mode of representation need to be chosen. Thus to reproduce a complex reality in a three-dimensional world, the cartographer needs to be able to get the right balance by sorting, selection, hierarchisation, and modelling of the data to be represented or the message to deliver.

By carrying out this task of simplification, whether deliberately or unconsciously, the cartographer therefore always produces a graphic representation that is not a mirror image of reality, but an intellectual construction. In fact, a cartographer is a deceiver, lying at least by omission, and that is how it should be. It is his job to lie. If a map attempted to reproduce a spatial phenomenon in all its complexity on a flat surface, it would be a map with nothing to say. Information does indeed require simplification for it to be intelligible. This guide sets out to teach you how to « lie » in full awareness, and in a way that is graphically operational. It aims to present and explain « good practice » in the area of cartography. The basic rules are presented and analysed, showing how to move from data to the map in the most efficient manner in accordance with the audience and the objective

From data to map. The first part of this guide provides information on the general procedure in cartographic design: from data to map, what are the elements that require attention. What are the rules that always hold, and those allowing a certain leeway? How is the shift from the idea to its graphic transcription managed? Can all data be translated? What is the correct use of graphic semiology? What is the impact on understanding of a message of choosing a map using proportional symbols or a map using colours? Is the choice of colours important? How can the right balance be struck between the base map and the content?

Map “faces” of Europe. The second part of this guide seeks to provide more operational keys for the design and production of maps. It includes practical explanations on the different modes of cartographic representation. Detailed explanations are given on certain chosen topics.

The power of maps. The concluding section puts the issues involved in cartographic communication in perspective and reflects on the « power » of maps. Do we always need a map to back up discourse or demonstration? What message can we produce? What is the real power of maps? What are the possible pitfalls? What is the best way to stage communication using a map? What is the relative importance of standardisation and innovation?

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