Geomatics – Cartography

Cartography or Map Design is the practice of creating maps or visual representations of a surface, as you would see it from above it. Traditionally maps have always been created using pen and paper, but since the introduction and wide spread use of geographic information systems (GIS) and computers, cartography practices have evolved more into the digital world. Most maps today are now generated using map software that falls into one of three main types; GIS, CAD, and specialized map graphic design software.

Cartography | Basic Overview

A map utilizes a variety of colors, symbols, and labels to represent actual features and provide information on their existence, location, and the distance between them. It can also indicate variation in terrain, heights of natural features, and the extent of vegetation cover.

Map of Jim Charles Loop of Jeremy's Bay Campground, Kejimkujik National Park

Maps often function as visualization tools for spatial data which is acquired from actual measurements and can be stored into a database, from which it can be later extracted for a variety of purposes. Current trends in this field are moving away from traditional methods of map making and toward the creation of increasingly dynamic, interactive maps that can be manipulated digitally, often known as
Web GIS.

Most maps will contain a scale parameter that will allow the user to convert distance on the map to distance on the ground or vice versa. The ability to determine distance on a map, as well as on the earth’s surface, is an important factor in GIS and the spatial relationships between features. Other important key elements or features that you should find on a good map would be a title, a data frame, a legend, a scale bar, a north arrow, and citation information such as the date, the creator, projection, overview map location etc.

 The Map on the right is a to scale representation of one of the camp grounds located at Kejimkujik National Park

in Nova Scotia. It was created from survey data collected with a Leica RTK system and a Leica Total Station. The legend is hard to see in this screen grab (actual map poster was 2ft by 4ft) but the red line represents the road, dotted lines are trails and the green polygons are the actual camping plots.

Below are some examples of Maps that I have generated for various projects that I have worked on or have had some involvement in, included are the date and the title of the map with a brief description. Clicking on the link will open up an image of the map with some details about the project (Note: most of these maps were plotted out on large paper sheets for display so some details were lost while generating these miniature image versions for the web site – also some of these are still on display at various places).

Examples of Cartography & GIS Map Products




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