43 & 44. Two Complementary World Maps with Constant-Scale Natural Boundaries composed to show Watersheds and Currents with Uninterrupted Oceans

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?
  • Aly DeGraff Ollivierre

    So fun! It took me a minute to orient myself, I think it would help the viewer if you made sure that the color schemes for the water and for the land didn’t intersect at all (e.g. remove the color gradient from the land, maybe stick with grey scale, or just remove the yellows/greens from the land or water). Same with the arrows, it would help if they were in a more saturated (or less saturated) palette to help the viewer focus on all of the data being displayed a little easier. The pink shallow water along the coasts could also be better represented as a lighter blue, unless there is a specific reason that the pink was chosen. This is such a fun idea, I can’t even imagine how long it took you to get the projection correct, great job!

    • Chuck Clark

      Well, Aly, you’re on the button with your “focus on all the data” comment. The “Elevation” data came that way (sourced from the Satellite Geodesy page at Scripps), so I don’t easily have control over the spectrum gradients beyond, as you suggest, overall saturation. It’s the current layer that adds visual complexity. I’ve tried it with the elevation layer desaturated—came out kind of blah.

      The “pink shallow water” is actually continental shelf, and what you see here—the pink—is a goof. I mistakenly left its desaturation turned on. It’s supposed to be much richer (note the key). When richer, it helps the mostly green continents stand out from the seafloor greens. We can’t post rtevisions on this site, but if you contact me (rightbasicbuilding@gmail.com) I’ll send you how this is supposed to look.

      Your suggestion to desaturate the currents had not occurred to me. Thanks!

      Took nearly twelve months to get the projection right (longer to get to the stage where I could even think about this map). Weeks to get the currents in. (Working by hand.)

      • Aly DeGraff Ollivierre

        I’m honestly not sure that the terrestrial elevation data adds anything to the map and even takes away a bit from the ocean-focused map, but only because there’s already so much going on this map! I would love to see other maps that you make with the projection, for example focusing on sea-level rise, or industrial coastal cities, or any other coastal themes. I can definitely tell how much work went into this, great job 🙂

        • Chuck Clark

          I thought I already responded to this comment. Am I the only one that wonders that Disqus has a short circuit in it?

          The UN says half the world’s population lives within 60 km of the coast, and, given this map, it ought to be obvious to everyone that half of us live on the shore of what is basically a closed lake not an endless ocean, at least from the planetary point of view.

          Thus this map (pick one) is our “floor plan,” if you’ll grant me an architectural metaphor.

          I’m happy to put anyone’s data on the line-drawing base map.

  • sarah dorrance

    This is such a beautiful and smart map.
    I found it quite intimidating and was relieved when I found the clear explanation of the maps and how to use them. I would have liked to have seen it sooner, but am not sure of the actual layout and I really like the way it looks, so it may be moot feedback.
    I so enjoyed the use of color and I like the colors chosen.

    • Chuck Clark

      Sarah, the first (upper) map will be on the left and the second (lower) map will be in the right. Don’t forget the half-inch white margin that does not appear in this peer review setup. That said, the verbal explanations that help make sense of what is admittedly a wild figure and a view, so to speak, that is novel, will appear on the righthand image at the bottom.

      I’ve tried to upload an image showing how it looks in the Atlas layout, but Disqus is not letting it load. You’ll have to use your imagination.

      I could switch the righthand text with the lefthand lower legends and keys (the areas are the same), but that would separate the Currents Key from the other legends.

      Not sure why Disqus will not let the image load. I get a warning popup to make sure my image is under 5 megs, which it is (2.6 megs). Perhaps the administrators has disallowed image upload? If so, too bad, there are several submittals that it would be nice to see respond to comments (see especially #36 Water Well Demolitions).

      I’m toying with reducing the saturation for the current arrows. Good idea?

      • Annaleigh Yahata

        Really amazing map! Like everyone else, it took me a bit to figure out what was happening, but it is a very beautiful map.

        It would be great to make the currents legend in a similar style to all the other legends. I think a left align would clean it up and maybe separate the color from the description by adding a bold line next to the descriptor.

        I think reducing the saturation would be nice, as long as they are still distinct from the craze of color underneath. Could you also explain a little bit about the size of the arrows? What does “middle” and “edge” mean?

        • Chuck Clark

          Arrow size (assuming you mean the current arrows) does not mean really much of anything. It is proportional, mostly, to the width of the current line. Current lines near map edge are thicker because the scale is greater in that area of the the map than in the middle of the map, where the scale is smaller.

          The terms “middle” and “edge” that you wonder about (from their use in the SCALE icon, right?) refer to the map’s *edge*, its perimeter, and the map’s *middle*, the central or midmap regions. As far as the details of scale are concerned, the region that is smallest in scale is the region most distant from the edge.

          It does take a while to get your bearings with these maps, but mostly that’s because of how accustomed we are to the extreme distortions we are so used to seeing in conventional world maps. Also, there is something reassuring about north always being “up” (farther away from the viewer) on a traditional world map, and that expectation is not met with these maps.

          But after a bit of adjustment (it helps to have a globe nearby), it is easy to stay oriented, and the benefits are many: the Arctic Ocean is small, the Pacific is big, the southern is circular, the Indian is smaller than the Atlantic, etc.

          I’m not sure I understand you suggestion for the Currents key. Are you advocating for, say, black font for the words (“Surface,” “mid-depth”, etc.), and then adding a thick, appropriately colored line next to the current names? If, so, I had something similar and it seemed to me to be too busy. But perhaps I should reconsider. The way it is now, the viewer has to internalize the color as symbol for what the (also symbolic) word means.So perhaps too much thought required to gain the knowledge needed to interpret the map. (But see the legend for Submittals # 12 & 13, “A River Runs Toward It”. It does something similar (although far more elegantly) with its colored compass legend, the colored directional arms of the compass indicating the flow direction of similarly colored rivers on the map. No words necessary!

          • Chuck Clark

            Well, wait. I think I only now see the problem you highlight:

            There are other uses of Blue and Green and Orange and Red and Yellow on the map besides the very obviously linear uses of these colors for the currents. And legend that does not emphasize the linearity encourages confusion.


          • Annaleigh Yahata

            Glad I could help out with the key 🙂

            Sorry, I was confusing the scale with a second key for the line weight of the currents. So the scale is just fine. But just to clarify, the line weight is a matter of scale, and not of particularly strong currents?

          • Chuck Clark

            Correct. The line weight is a function of scale, distance from the edge of the map. Follow the currents that traverse from near the edge to near the middle — they get thinner the closer they get to the middle of the map.

            Now, that being said, there is a “thinner” order of currents — the yellow “surface local” currents. They are narrower to respect their limited extent. I have no idea, for the most part, how strong they are. It wouldn’t surprise me if some local currents are very strong, at least at some times, perhaps related to, say, tidal changes.

  • sarah dorrance

    I really like your map! no matter what you decide.

    • Chuck Clark

      Well, guess what, thanks to your nudge, an unexpected alternative emerged:

      I switched only the “About the Projections” text box with the “”Interbasin Transgressions” keys. This centers the legends and keys on the fold (of the pages) and frames them with the text boxes on the outsides.

      Sure took me awhile to see it. Because each image is processed as its own file, it was hard to step back and imagine the two-page setup as a unit!

  • sarah dorrance

    I like the move, congratulations.
    I like the color of the current flows. I think they are beautiful and give the feeling of movement within a very colorful map, And it makes them easy to follow in both maps.

  • wow.

  • Chuck Clark

    The Western Sahara watershed is incorrect. A substantial portion of it is an endorheiric basin on the Niger catchbasin. I’ll see if I can fix it.