Web Cartography: Map Design for Interactive and Mobile Devices, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Web Cartography

Map Design for Interactive and Mobile Devices, 1st Edition

By Ian Muehlenhaus

CRC Press

262 pages | 114 Color Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781439876220
pub: 2013-12-10
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429107542
pub: 2013-12-10
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Web mapping technologies continue to evolve at an incredible pace. Technology is but one facet of web map creation, however. Map design, aesthetics, and user-interactivity are equally important for effective map communication. From interactivity to graphical user interface design, from symbolization choices to animation, and from layout to typeface and color selection, Web Cartography offers the first comprehensive overview and guide for designing beautiful and effective web maps for a variety of devices.

Written for those with a basic understanding of mapmaking, but who may not have an in-depth knowledge of web design, this book explains how to create effective interaction, animation, and layouts for maps in online and mobile platforms. Concept-driven, this reference emphasizes cartographic principles for web and mobile map design over specific software techniques. It focuses on key design concepts that will remain true regardless of software technologies used. The book is supplemented with a website providing links to stellar web maps, video tutorials and lectures, do-it-yourself labs, map critique exercises, and links to others’ tutorials.

Approachable, clear, and concise, the book provides a nontechnical, approachable guide to map design for the web. It provides best practices for map communication, based on spatial data visualization and graphic design theory. By carefully avoiding overly technical jargon, it provides a solid launching pad from which students, practitioners, and innovators can begin to design aesthetically pleasing and intuitive web maps.


"If you have interests in web maps but feel lost in a push-pin forest, this book will chart a course for you. If you know about cartography but are unsure how to project your knowledge to web space, this book will help you make the transformation. Ian muehlenhaus provides us with an insightful, accessible, readable, and spirited perspective on web mapping for everyone interested in effectively and clearly communicating their spatial ideas to the World."

—Patrick Kennelly, Long Island University

"This book fills an important need for attention to map design in that new technology. … could serve as the cartography textbook in web cartography class, or as an ancillary text for any course dealing with mobile application development that incorporates map resources. … Its focus on design, its non-technical approach, and conversational tone make this book accessible to everybody that is interested in the subject, regardless of technological skill level."

—Jeffrey S. Torguson, St. Cloud State University, Author of Cartography: Thematic Map Design

Table of Contents


The Purpose of This Book

Contemporary Mapmaking: A Quarter Century of Rapid Evolution

Web Cartography: A Brief History

The Goals of Map Communication Remain the Same

Establishing a Communicative Purpose for Your Map

The Rest of This Book

Key Concepts

Further Reading


Human-Map Interactivity


Of Mice and Touch Screens

New Interactive Map Elements

Key Concepts

Further Reading and Resources

Map Elements


Title/Splash Screen

Mapped Area

Pan User Interfaces

Zoom User Interfaces

Map Rotation Interfaces

Information Window Design

Locator Maps

Menu Design

Supplemental Information

Help Menu

Neat Lines and Frame Lines

Designing Smart Legends

Other Web Map Elements

Key Concepts

Further Reading and Resources

Map Composition and Layout


Map Composition and Visual Hierarchy

Map Layout and Organization

Two Types of Web Map Layouts

How to Design an Effective Web Map Layout


Key Concepts

Further Reading and Resources



Defining and Understanding Color

Color Rules That Remain Unchanged from Print

Color Models for the Web

Coloring Your Base Map

Reference Map Color Schemes

Choosing Thematic Map Colors

Beware of Color Blindness

Key Concepts

Further Reading and Resources



All in the Family: Explaining Typeface and Font

Typographic Rules That Stand Firm

Text as a Core Map Element

Typographic Rules That Have Changed

Fonts That Play Well with Web Maps

Font Myths, Realities, and Web Maps


Key Concepts

Further Reading and Resources

Core Visual Variables


Defining the Visual Variables

When to Use the Different Visual Variables

Key Concepts

Further Reading



Designing Effective Web Map Symbols

Key Concepts

Further Reading

Thematic Visualization


Data and Technology Limitations

Different Thematic Representations

The Role of Interactivity in Thematic Representations


Key Concepts

Further Reading and Resources



To Tween or Not to Tween?

The Visual Variables of Animation

Types of Map Animation

Other Types of Map Animation


Key Concepts

Further Reading and Online Resources

Sound and Touch


Sound Variables

Tactile Variables

Key Concepts

Further Reading and Resource

Web Map Production


The Gist on Coding

Prepping Spatial Data for the Web

A Web Cartographer’s Tool Box

Closing Advice

Key Concepts

Further Reading and Resources


About the Originator


Ian Muehlenhaus

La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States

Learn more about Ian Muehlenhaus >>

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Computer Graphics
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Remote Sensing & Geographic Information Systems