Monthly Archives: November 2012

That’s swale!

I am cataloging a map of Mars with the following topographic features: ridge crests, berms, swales, scarp crests, and crater forms. I looked up the definitions and found swell-and-swale topography in the AGI Glossary.

swell-and-swale topography  A low-relief, undulating landscape characteristic of the ground moraine of a continental glacier, exhibiting gentle slopes and well-rounded hills interspersed with shallow depressions.


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Hyp, hyp, hypsometric! Hyp, hyp, hypsographic!

The Greek root hypso refers to height or elevation, information that is useful to convey in a map. According to Maps for America, topographic maps are both hypsographic and hypsometric.

Map, hypsographic– Map showing relief with elevations referred to the national geodetic vertical datum of 1929.

Map, hypsometric– Map showing relief by any convention, such as contours, hachures, shading, or tinting.

Thompson, Morris M. Maps for America: Cartographic Products of the U.S.
Geological Survey and Others
. Reston, Va: U.S. Geological Survey, 1987.

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Art of a map

“It is in accordance with practical experience, however, which the author has personally observed over many decades, that in cartographical affairs, as in all graphic work, the greatest clarity, the greatest power of expression, balance and simplicity are concurrent with beauty. To create beauty, a purely technical, practical arrangement of things is not sufficient. Beauty is, to a large extent, irrational. Artistic talent, aesthetic sensitivity, sense of proportion, harmony, form and color, and graphical interplay are indispensable to the creation of a beautiful map and thus to a clear, expressive map.”

Imhof, Eduard. Cartographic Relief Presentation. Redlands, Calif: ESRI
Press, 2007. p. 359

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