Creating Your Own Decorative Cartographic Map

18 August 2016
 Categories: , Blog

One of the most unique ways to celebrate your love of your home is to create a cartographic or topographic map. This overhead map will pin-point the layout of your home and yard in a way that is easy to understand and fun to examine. These maps make a perfect over-the-fireplace decoration or look good just hanging on the wall in your study.

Understanding The Basics Of Map Layouts

Cartographic maps for decorative purposes don't have to be as complex as those used for mapping purposes. As a result, you can probably skip out on a lot of unnecessary symbols, such as elevation markers, and focus on creating a map that illustrates the area around your home in a symbolic way.

For example, you should focus on your home, any buildings on the property, the road, and geographic features that are interesting. So if a river runs through your property or if you own a small pond, you should make sure that these are included on the map. This will not only create a more accurate map, but one that is more interesting to examine.

Creating Your Own Unique Symbols

The symbols of a cartographic map are its backbone. They use a complex, but easy to understand, symbolic language that an advanced cartographer can read without a problem. As you're not an advanced cartographic map reader, its necessary to take a look at some common topographic symbols and tweak them to suit your own design needs.

For example, buildings in topographic maps are often just small black or white rectangles. You could add a little more detail, such as a porch, to make it more interesting. Most topographic maps are designed to cover a wide range of land, which is why their symbols are so small. As you're focusing on a relatively small area, you don't have to make your symbols as small.

Drawing Your Map

If you have strong artistic skills, you could always use markers and other decorative pencils to draw your topographic map using an overhead image of your property. Use satellite-based photography software to get a good image or use a personal drone with a camera to get a more detailed shot. Use this photo to get a feel for the location of the items in your yard and their size and distance from each other.

However, if you don't have strong artistic skills or want a design to work off of first, there are a variety of map-making tools that you can use for free. Most of them will let you design your own unique icons and integrate them into your design. Print off your map and use it as a guide when drawing.

Following these simple steps will help you create a cool map that is decorative and fun. If you really want to challenge yourself, try creating a scale for your map and drawing it as accurately as possible. If you need help with your design, call a GIS consulting firm, such as Allan R. Standen, LLC, as they can help you sort out the difficulties of map making.