I make maps using the principles of clarity expressed by Swiss cartographer Eduard Imhof (1895-1986), who, in his book, Cartographic Relief Presentation, offered insights like, "…the greatest clarity, the greatest power of expression, balance and simplicity are concurrent with beauty" and "A map should contain nothing that an average user cannot easily see." I believe it is the cartographer's responsibility to work hard to make maps legible, so the map user doesn't have to work hard to read them.
In addition to Cartographic Relief Presentation, Imhof wrote an article titled, Positioning Names on Maps, that I find invaluable.
I learned from Stuart Allan of Medford, Oregon, that maps can be beautiful works of art. Stuart, along with a staff of talented cartographers, produced a series of beautiful landform maps under the name Raven Maps & Images. Below is a thumbnail image of Raven's 41" x 49" treatment of Minnesota:
The work of the Swiss Federal Office of Topography inspires my designs and my attention to every map detail. The enlargement below is from a map produced by the Swiss Federal Office of Topography:
I consider myself to be a geographic illustrator rather than a technical cartographer. Since 2003, I have done my work in Adobe Illustrator 10. Before that time, I made maps by hand using tools like jewel-tipped scribers, X-acto knives, airbrushes and magnifiers.
The detail at the top if this page is from Wallowa Mountains, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon, a map I made completely by hand. Published in 1995, this was my first Swiss-inspired map. Available at the Bookloft in Enterprise, Oregon.
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