Lab 14

Map Critiques

For the first part: some of the most important things you can learn in cartography are 1) be critical of all maps (including yours), 2) all maps are lies, 3) all maps must be interpreted relative to their purpose, and 4) map-making is an iterative process - you will typically make a number of drafts.

Thus, this lab: your task is to critically examine a number of maps located hither and yon. Slow down, take your time, and think. This is a lab that is really easy to complete poorly - take those extra minutes. And read the instructions carefully.


Part 1:

  1. This task is to critically examine two maps/posters that can be found on the walls of Dean Hall (or even elsewhere on campus, including the library, geology dept, or biology dept). Note, any posters selected must have maps! Note, you are analyzing the maps, not the overall poster.Wander around, check them out. Any and all are fair game. Pick two. Alternatively, you could choose:

     Thematic maps - At the atlas shelves in the library, choose a thematic atlas that interests you and look through it to find a map that tells a story about a historical event or a geographic process (either natural or cultural). Some examples of thematic atlases are:

    - The Old North State at War, by Mark Moore
    - Atlas of Oregon, by William G. Loy et al.
    - Mapping Time, by Menno-Jan Kraak
    - Washington: A Centennial Atlas, by James W. Scott
    - A Sto:lo-Coast Salish Historical Atlas, ed. by Keith T. Carlson

  2. Make a quick sketch map of each map/poster so you can refer to certain parts (and so I have a reference, too) (or take a pic and include that)
  3. Write out what you think is the purpose of each map/poster.
  4. Relative to #2 and #3, critically examine the poster/map (remembering the 4 points in the intro paragraph of this lab):
    1. What did you like
    2. What sucked
    3. What would you change and why? (note, the 'why' is very important)

Part 2:

The poster 'It was a dark and stormy night' was designed to be something that would catch a viewer's eye, suck them in, and then be absolutely horrible in the details. ). It's posted by the whiteboard in the lab.

Your task is to find as many errors as you can. There are MANY. List them. All of them. List away. Be detailed.

In addition to the list of errors you find, evaluate the poster regarding how well it fulfills the intent (to suck people in from a distance with an interesting design, then fail at all attempts to communicate useful information).

Part 3:

  1. There are three maps on on the data drive (lab14 subdir). Check them out and give a brief summary (same as 3 and 4.1 - 4.3 above).
  2. Same thing, only choose one map each from and Include a copy of each map in your writeup so I can see what you did. Do a little surfing, there's some cool (and awful) stuff there.


Hand in: the printouts of the maps/posters and the required writeups. Part one, 2 writeups, part two, one writeup, and part 3, 5 writeups. 3 points.