Last updated January 2016

This resources list includes items referenced in GIS Cartography: A Guide to Effective Map Design, 2nd Edition as well as a variety of additional resources that may be of interest to readers.


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  • Anderson, J. R., Hardy, E. E., Roach, J. T. and Witmer, R. E. "Land Use and Land Cover Classification System for Use with Remote Sensor Data" (114 KB PDF). Geological Survey Professional Paper 964 (1976). A revision of the land use classification system as presented in U.S. Geological Survey Circular 671.
  • Kennelly, P. J. "NOT Mapping Our World." ArcUser, July–September 2007.
  • Meihoefer, H. "The Utility of the Circle as an Effective Cartographic Symbol." Cartographica: The International Journal for Geographic Information and Geovisualization 6, no. 2 (1969): 105–117. Article ($)e.
  • Nighbert, Jeffery S., Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. "Characterizing Landscape for Visualization Through 'Bump Mapping' and Spatial Analysis" (2 MB PDF)
  • Ovenden, Mike and Ashworth, Mike. Transit Maps of the World. Penguin, 2007. Transit Maps of the World is just one of many books of maps that could provide palette inspiration.
  • Patterson, T. and Kelso, N. V. "Hal Shelton Revisited: Designing and Producing Natural-Color Maps with Satellite Land Cover Data." Cartographic Perspectives, Journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society 47, Winter 2004.
  • The American Standard Geologic Age Color Scheme (5.2 MB PDF), developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Association of American State Geologists, is shown in a reference diagram on this site.
  • A Tapestry of Time and Terrain shows the American Standard geologic rock age color scheme with hillshading underneath.
  • Color Brewer is a web tool used for selecting map color schemes.
  • Color Oracle is a colorblindness simulator that applies a full screen color filter to your design independently of the software in use.
  • Color Scheme Designer is an online tool that allows you to interactively choose a color palette using a clickable color wheel.
  • COLOURlovers is a site for community contributed palettes. Also see their article titled "Common Color Names for Easy Reference" found here.
  • GenoPal is a software package with some online toolsets that use a technology to create palettes based on how your mind perceives color. They focus on using photographs to inspire and create color palettes.
  • kuler, by Adobe, is another community color site that allows you to browse user's color palettes and view critical feedback.
  • MollyMaps' Art Maps is just one of many painted map artists.
  • Strange Maps is a widely read blog with a variety of maps and corresponding critiques. These maps are useful to glean ideas on novel approaches and color schemes.
  • Vischeck is a website where you can upload a map and have it transform into a graphic that shows you what your map would look like to a color-deficient person.
  • Web Colors Explained presents articles explaining the RGB, CMYK, HSB and hex color models.
  • Pattern Chart (5 MB PDF). In FGDC DigitalCartographic Standard for Geologic Map Symbolization Federal Geographic Data Committee Document Number FGDC_STD_013_2006 (Federal Geographic Data Committee, 2006), p. 290.
  • Munsell Software Conversion Program (Version 10).

Web Mapping

  • Muehlenhaus, Ian. Web Cartography: Map Design for Interactive and Mobile Devices. CRC Press, 2013.
  • Youngblood, Brian. GeoServer Beginner's Guide. Packt Publishing, 2013.
  • CartoDB provides a solution for analyzing GIS data and creating beautiful webmaps with it.
  • D3.js is a JavaScript library that you can use to make nice interactive maps. See Scott Murray's tutorials to get started.
  • Mapbiquity allows you to make a digital map to easily embed in your website using your locations on top of a Google map.
  • Mapbox Studio allows you to design and build interactive maps for your websites. Their gallery is full of beautiful maps.
  • OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a free service that allows you to contribute to a worldwide basemap by digitizing things into their database. You can also use the OSM data in your own digital and static maps, with a bit of work.
  • The Los Angeles Times web map detailing homicides in LA County is a good interactive map example.
  • The New York Times Web site is continuously creating interesting, well designed interactive Web maps. A few examples are here and here.