Date: Wed, 25 Oct 1995 15:18:27 -0600 (MDT)
Mark Kumler
University of Colorado at Boulder

Geography 3053
Cartography I
Syllabus for Fall '94

Professor Mark Kumler
Office hours: Wednesdays 3-5
201C Guggenheim
Phone: 492-5887
TAs: Keith Rokoske, Sophia Emmanouildes Office hours: W & F 11-12 (Keith), Tu 11:30-12:30 (Sophia) both in 201E Guggenheim, phone: 492-3190

Course overview. This course will introduce the fundamental geographic discipline of cartography: the science and art of designing and producing maps. In the lectures and readings we will examine established cartographic design principles, including page layout, scale and projection, generalization and simplification, symbolization and classification, tones and colors, techniques for portraying surfaces, and cartograms. In the labs you will produce a series of maps that illustrate the design issues presented in the lectures, using modern digital techniques.

Prerequisites. There are no formal prerequisites for this class, but you should have a bit of creativity and a willingness to work with computers. You will receive much guidance on good map design, as well as detailed instructions on how to implement these ideas with powerful computer illustration package, Aldus Freehand.

Lectures. Lectures will meet from 12:30-1:45 on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Economics 205. Attendance, preparation, and participation are all strongly recommended. In particular, you should read the assigned material in the text before the lecture.

Labs. You must be enrolled in one of the three lab sessions. The labs meet from 2-4:30 on Tuesday, 8:30-11 on Wednesday, and 9:30-12 on Thursday. The first few lab meetings will be held in public Macintosh labs in either Norlin or Engineering; the remaining labs will meet in Guggenheim Room 6, which houses the Geography Department's High Peaks Spatial Data Analysis Lab (HPSDAL). You must attend the session for which you are enrolled unless special arrangements are made in advance with the Teaching Assistants.

In the labs for this course you will produce a series of maps with Aldus Freehand illustration software. In a typical week the TA will present a brief overview of how you might approach the lab, and then you will spend the bulk of the lab time beginning lab production. The lab periods are intended for you to get a start on the assignment; most assignments will require an additional three to six hours on the computer, which you can put in whenever is convenient for you.

Between the hours of 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday, the HPSDAL is open and Jim Robb, Staff Cartographer for the Geography Department, is available for limited help. You will be given a passcode to the room for access during evening hours and weekends, and you may return to the lab whenever it is convenient for you. The Guggenheim building is open from 7am until at least 10pm everyday, and if you are in the lab before the building is locked you will not be asked to leave. Be warned that the lab is in heavy use this semester (by five other courses and numerous grad students), and until supplementary course fees are approved for this course, access will be competitive. A schedule is posted on the lab door indicating when it is reserved for other courses.

The lab assignments will be due at the beginning of the following week's lab. Late labs will be penalized one point per day, without exception.

Required text.

Introduction to Thematic Cartography (1992), by Judith Tyner. This text will supplement the lectures and provide numerous examples of good map design. You should read the assigned chapters before the corresponding lectures.

Supplemental readings.

Five other books will be placed on reserve in Norlin for the class. These five are intended as starting points for those of you who wish to learn more about certain aspects of map design. While you will not be tested on anything you found only in these supplemental books, you might find their alternative presentation of similar materials quite valuable.

Elements of Cartography, 5th ed. (1984), by Robinson, Sale, Morrison and Muehrcke. The classic text for traditional cartography, but sorely dated.

An Album of Map Projections (1989), by John Snyder. Illustrations of over 100 different projections, with discussions of their properties. On reserve at Government Publications.

Thematic Map Design, 3rd ed. (1993), by Border Dent. An outstanding alternate text for a course like this, but very expensive.

How to Lie with Maps (1991), by Mark Monmonier. A popular witty brief on map distortions, inaccuracies, and errors.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (1983), by Edward Tufte. A widely- respected compendium of guidelines the successful design of charts, graphs, and maps.


You will need to purchase several high-density 3.5"floppy disks. Any high-density 3.5" floppy disks will work- you will format them for Macintoshes in the first lab period. You should also purchase, and use, a protective carrying case that can hold a few of your disks for safe(r) transportation and storage; rain, sweat, magnetic fields (possible around any metal object), and stray electrons can wreak havoc with your hard work. You may be asked to turn in certain assignments on disk, so be prepared to part with your disks for several days (i.e. don't keep your history papers, personal letters, etc. on the same disks as your maps). You might also budget a few additional dollars now for high-resolution color printouts or photocopies toward the end of the semester.

Final Project.

You will design, compile, and execute a map or series of maps as a final project. You will produce the map(s) for a local agency that has a need for such projects. We will provide a list of several organizations for you to chose from. You will be responsible for meeting with the agency and producing a map or maps to meet its needs. If you produce a single map, it should be considerably more elaborate/complex than any of the assigned lab exercises. You might produce a series of maps, each one comparable to the lab assignments, or you might attempt a new mapping technique not introduced in a lab. By producing a map for a client, while at the same time generating a useful product for a deserving organization.

To minimize end-of-term crunches and crises, we will have several intermediate progress reports due in the last few weeks: a project description on Nov. 22nd, a detailed pencil sketch on Nov. 29th, and a full-size draft on December 6th. The completed final project will be due at the beginning of the final exam time period for this class: Wednesday, December 15th at 11:30a.m. In lieu of a final exam, you will make a very brief (3-4 minute) presentation of your final project. You will be graded on the design, execution, and presentation of the final project map(s).

Grading:     Exam I             15%
             Exam II            15%
             Labs               50%
             Final Project      20%

Tentative Lecture Schedule:

Date               Topic                           Chapter in Tyner
                                           to be read before class*

Thurs. 8/25        Introduction and Overview                     -
Tues. 8/30         Nature of Cartography & Map Elements          1
Thurs. 9/1         Production Methods                            2
Tues. 9/6          General Map Design Issues                     3
Thurs. 9/8         Text & Typography                            
Tues. 9/13         Graticule and Scale                           4
Thurs. 9/15        Projections I                                 5
Tues. 9/20         Projections II                                5
Thurs. 9/22        Projections III                               5
Tues. 9/27         More Design, Compilation, Generalization      6
Thurs. 9/29        Symbolization of Geographical Data            7
Tues. 10/4         Dot Maps                                      8a
Thurs. 10/6        Proportional Symbols                          8b
Tues. 10/11        EXAM I                          incl. ch 1-8, 13
Thurs. 10/13       Linear & Areal Data                           9
Tues. 10/18        Choropleths and Classification               10a
Thurs. 10/20       Color Theory                                 14*
Tues. 10/25        Color Maps                                   14*
Thurs. 10/27       Isarithms (Contours)                         10b
Tues. 11/1         Other Terrain Representations                 11
Thurs. 11/3        Computer Terrain Mapping                      -
Tues. 11/8         Cartograms                                    12
Thurs. 11/10       USGS Map Series                               -
Tues. 11/15        USGS Digital Data                             -
Thurs. 11/17       Freelance Cartography                         -
Tues. 11/22        Mapping Our World                             -
Thurs. 11/24       NO CLASS- Thanksgiving                        -
Tues. 11/29        Map Reproduction                              15
Thurs. 12/1        EXAM II                            incl. ch 9-15
Tues. 12/6         The Future of Cartography (& Cartographers)   -
Wed. 12/15         Final project presentations, 11:30-2:30       -

*For the most part, we will follow the chapters in the text in order. Chapters 13 (Text & Typography) and 14 (Color), however, will be covered earlier so that we can make use of this valuable information in the lab assignments.

Tentative Lab Schedule:

Lab# Dates Topic

1     8/30-9/1     Introduction to Macintosh, ftp, unix, and pine
2     9/6-8        Basic drawing tools in Aldus Freehand
3     9/13-15      Advanced drawing tools
4     9/20-22      Map projections (Geocart & Freehand)
5     9/27-29      Map of campus-vicinity organizations
6     10/4-6       Dot maps
7     10/11-13     Proportional symbol maps
8     10/18-20     Choropleth maps
9     10/25-27     Unclassified and color choropleth maps
10    11/1-3       Terrain maps
11    11/8-10      Cartograms
12    11/15-17     USGS field trips