Making Maps Easy to Read

OVERVIEW

Taking an overview of the research project, here are two articles which look broadly at the issue of making maps easy to read.

Research Summary
Are Maps Different...?


Research Summary

Reference -
Phillips, R. J. (1979). Making maps easy to read: a summary of research. In Processing of Visible Language 1, Kolers, P. A., Wrolstad, M. E. and Bouma, H. (Eds.) New York: Plenum, 165-174.

Poorly designed maps can seriously reduce the efficiency of the map reader and lead to mistakes which are inconvenient, costly, or even dangerous. Experimental studies of map legibility are beginning to provide the map designer with objective information on topics such as colour coding, relief portrayal, and lettering. Two research groups are active in the United Kingdom and a number elsewhere, particularly in the United States. As testing methods improve, there is a good possibility that designers may be persuaded to use tests themselves to compare alternative map designs.

Full paper as pdf file (870KB).


Are Maps Different...?

Reference -
Phillips, R. J. (1989). Are maps different from other kinds of graphic information? Cartographic Journal 26, 24-25.

This article considers the similarities and differences between maps and other types of graphic information such as graphs and diagrams. It is argued that all types of graphic information are different solutions to a common problem: the brain's limited capacity to store unprocessed information.

Full paper as pdf file (347KB).


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Updated 19 August 2003