27. Mississippi River Changes

Now it’s Your Turn

In the comments, please ask questions or make suggestions that will help the cartographer improve the map. Key things to think about include:

  • Does the map orient the viewer?
  • Does the data tell a story?
  • Does the map support the story being told?
  • Does the map make assumptions?
  • How could the map be more readable?
  • Are there any errors or typos?
  • Eric Nost

    This is an awesome map!

    Does the map orient the viewer?
    -Yes, but the locator map could be even more constrained/zoomed in.
    How could the map be more readable?
    -The yellow box in the locator map is hard to see. The text in the main map is generally ok to read, but I would put it in front of some light/semi-transparent background to make it stand out even more. The sources definitely need a background. It’d be cool if the river labels (e.g. “Mississippi River”) could be curved to the shape of the river…The yellow triangle for the Old River Control should be placed a layer above the river itself.
    Are there any errors or typos?
    -Not that I can tell. I’m not sure if the colors/shades in the legend line up with those on the map itself.

  • Chuck Clark

    Consider putting the human-create channels in a different and contrasting color, say a bright blue?

  • ├ůse Mitchell

    I love this series of Mississippi river maps put out by the USGS! I’ve seen/used them a couple of times before, and I’m glad someone decided to use it for this atlas! I like that you georefrenced the map and clipped out where the current location of the river is at. It adds context to where it has flown, where it is now, and opens up the imagination to where it might flow next.

    Just some cartographic suggestions:
    – Perhaps italicizing the water feature labels with a dark blue font (still keep the halos) and bending the text to flow with the river? Maybe add some spacing between the characters too.
    – Delete Montgomery from the locator map, or move the frame around so you can see the city.
    – I personally am not a big fan of ESRIs long citations. One way I’ve been able to get around them in v10.3 is by going to Insert > Dynamic Text > and then clicking on ‘Service Layer Credits’ to where it allows you the ability to move the citation around. Don’t delete it, because it will just pop back up again, rather just move it off your map layout extent to the side and leave it be. It will export with out the credits on your map and now you can just add a simplified citation somewhere else that says Aerial Imagery from ESRI (2016) or however you please. (You can try this with your locator map too, if you want).
    – Add the label of the city/town i see on the left in the main map for cultural context, and maybe label a few of the major roads here?
    – Call out to the old river control location on the map with a leader line and haloed text? It is a little difficult to find.

  • change the color structure to ‘evolve” over time, so the key makes sense.

  • Aly DeGraff Ollivierre

    Alright, this is the third time I’m writing this comment, hopefully I remember everything (somehow it keeps posting, but then disappearing).

    For starters, I loooove this Mississippi River map series. I actually made a mini map with the same data last year, so glad you’re doing this! My carto comments are as follows:

    – Shrink the size of the legend items and text
    – Take the period out of the title and consider giving it a title with a little more draw-in (I’d also include Mississippi in the title)
    – If possible, I would strongly recommend taking the map out of Arc and into AI, then you can:
    – Remove the automatically generated basemap citations and add them back in your own text all in one place on the map (e.g. bottom right corner)
    – Fix up and simplify the reference map; make sure no labels fall of the map extent; spline the river name; italicize the gulf and river labels; move Baton Rouge off of the extent rectangle
    – Spline the river labels, put them in italics, thin the text mask, and add a little opacity to the text mask
    – Remove the “text bubble” with the “We zoom into the genesis of the …” text and find another way to highlight that text that’s more visible (maybe also change the text from 1st person plural to 3rd person)
    – Remove the north arrow (unnecessary if north is oriented to the top of the page)
    – Consider some more variation in your font (serif for the title, anything more fun than Arial for everything else!)

    You have a great start on this map, I’m really excited to see how your final version turns out!

  • stephanie b

    So cool! Ditto what Aly mentioned about river labels–splined, italics and a nice thin mask (or potentially white text–may stand out fine against the imagery without a mask/halo). For the text box, changing it to a solid white fill with maybe 80% opacity and black text may help it stand out without being too harsh.

  • Mag Surround

    dear christina and jessica, i think for combining a historic map with a satellite picture you could need some work on the colour sceme. simply imposing is in itself a great idea, but could you not try to highlight better the central idea by working on the compined map on the level of colouring? best, magnificent surroundings