A Lay Mapmaker’s Perspective on the Dilemma of Cartographic Design

Johannes Moenius



Aesthetic, accessible, astounding, and accurate—these four adjectives best describe the value drivers of maps from a lay mapmaker’s perspective. Aesthetics is the marketing of the map, as an unappealing map will not attract readers. It also needs to be accessible: readers need to understand the message correctly and recognize the locations of their interest, otherwise they will turn away quickly. If the content of a map is astounding, readers will get engaged with the map. Accuracy, which refers to the correctness and precise measurement of the data as well as its visual representation, builds reputation—inaccuracy kills it. Frequently there are trade-offs between these four main value drivers to consider, requiring a dilemma approach to cartography.


aesthetics; design; dilemma; audience orientation; choropleth

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