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Designing Schematic Maps

Fb35b29dfdf70000bb09777b531db5dc?s=47 Rasagy Sharma
February 04, 2022

Designing Schematic Maps

What would maps of cities look like if individuals designed maps, based on their lived experiences?
What if maps weren’t focused on being accurate & consistent, but abstract & personal?

While digital mapping platforms like Google Maps or OSM have made it easy for anyone to get detailed maps of any city, I’ve often struggled to express my experience of the cities I’ve lived in. We can use the principles behind schematic maps to enable anyone to express their mental model of a city, and visualize experiences that they can curate.

This talk showcases Schematic maps of Indian cities designed by students from my Digital Cartography & Geo-Visualization modules in the past few years. It also explains common steps to create your own schematic map.

This assignment is inspired by a schematic mapping workshop I attended by Arun Ganesh, and has evolved over the years under the guidance of Prof. Venkatesh Rajamanickam (IDC, IIT Bombay) & Prof. Chakradhar Saswade (NID, Bangalore).

Process of curation & abstraction for creating schematic maps:
1. Define Scale, Audience & Purpose
2. Sketch your mental model
3. Trace relevant aspects
4. Abstraction: Grids, metaphors & geometric shapes
5. Simplification vs Minimal details
6. Elements of the city
7. Balance visual hierarchy
8. Focus on design details
9. Share for feedback & iteration!


Rasagy Sharma

February 04, 2022

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  1. Scheming against accurate maps Illustration from Daniel Crouch Rare Books

    Rasagy Sharma Information Designer, Data Artist & a compulsive Sketchnoter. @rasagy @data.n.coded
  2. “Where are you from?” (Where is home?)

  3. © Mapbox © OpenStreetMap 🙏 from 🇮🇳

  4. © Mapbox © OpenStreetMap Delhi (17 yrs) Goa (4 yrs)

    Mysuru (3 mon) Bengaluru (3 yrs) Hyderabad (6 mon) Pune (1.5 yrs) Mumbai (3 mon)
  5. Delhi (17 yrs) Goa (4 yrs) Mysuru (3 mon) Hyderabad

    (6 mon) Mumbai (3 mon) Pune (1.5 yrs) © Mapbox © OpenStreetMap Bengaluru ❤ (3 yrs 8+yrs)
  6. © Mapbox © OpenStreetMap

  7. “This was once home” (Rasagy, 2017) © Mapbox© OpenStreetMap

  8. What does the term map mean? Mapping data/information vs making

    a map: Verb vs noun As a noun: conceptual, geographic, schematic, contextual, fantasy…
  9. Mapping maps Detailed (Lot of Geographical data) Abstract (Less/No Geographical

    data) Accurate & real Imaginary or conceptual Geographic maps Schematic maps Mind mapping Charts Fiction or Fantasy maps
  10. London Underground Tube Map (1908 → 1933) Images from Wikimedia

  11. First London Tube Map (1908) Images from Wikimedia

  12. Fred Stingemore’s map (1926): Spacing & labels Images from Wikimedia

  13. Harry Beck’s Tube map (1931 & 1933): Straighter lines, even

    distance, diagonals Images from Wikimedia
  14. ✨ Schematic hometown map ✨ Abhilash Kumar, NID Bangalore |

    Namaha S, NID Ahmedabad | Dhiraj Dethe, IDC IIT Bombay | Paridhi Yadav, NID Ahmedabad Sarthok Mazumder, NID Ahmedabad | Gyan Lakhwani, IDC IIT Bombay | Arun Kumar, NID Bangalore
  15. #1 Where, Who, Why Start by deciding where is the

    map of, who is it for, & why would they view it? Portrait of Abraham Ortelius in his study by Constant Aimé Marie Cap
  16. Where: Choosing the scale of the map, from city to

    a street Aishwary K, IDC IIT Bombay Sasha Cherian, NID Bangalore
  17. Who & Why: Finding your map’s audience & purpose Paridhi

    Yadav, NID Ahmedabad Arun Kumar, NID Bangalore ShravaniAgarkar, NID Bangalore
  18. #2 Mental model Without seeing the actual map, draw what’s

    most important to you. Thinking It Over by Thomas Waterman Wood
  19. Mental model vs actual locations: Discovering what matters Bhanvee Gupta,

    NID Bangalore Aarushi Shash, NID Ahmedabad ShravaniAgarkar, NID Bangalore
  20. #3 Trace the key structure Using a map (like OSM)

    for reference, trace the major roads, natural features, regions, places of interest… The Cartographer in His Study by Ludwig Gloss
  21. Tracing the key structure: Curate! Ameer Hamza, IDC IIT Bombay

    Niharika K, IDC IIT Bombay
  22. #4 Abstract the traced structure Explore if there is a

    geometric shape, or a relevant metaphor that can be abstracted from the structure. Else, abstract along a grid. Simplify. The cartographer by Wilhelm Löwith
  23. Abstraction: Shape Prachi Tank, IDC IIT Bombay RoopamSonpethkar, NID Bangalore

    Parthob, IDC IIT Bombay
  24. Abstraction: Metaphor Akshay Rajpurohit, NID Bangalore Tanaya, NID Bangalore ShravaniAgarkar,

    NID Bangalore
  25. Abstraction: Grid Noopur Kumari Kashyap, IDC IIT Bombay Jonathan Sawian,

    IDC IIT Bombay NamahaS, NID Ahmedabad
  26. #5 Add more elements Add Kevin Lynch's 5 elements of

    the city: Nodes, edges, districts, paths & landmarks Portrait of Kevin Lynch
  27. Mapping 5 elements of city: Nodes, edges, districts, paths &

    landmarks SarthokMazumder, NID Ahmedabad Srishti Mitra, NID Ahmedabad
  28. Mapping 5 elements of city: Nodes, edges, districts, paths &

    landmarks Sai Anjan, IDC IIT Bombay Aishwary K, IDC IIT Bombay
  29. Mapping 5 elements of city: Nodes, edges, districts, paths &

    landmarks Vivek Rajoria, NID Ahmedabad Abhilash, NID Bangalore
  30. Mapping 5 elements of city: Nodes, edges, districts, paths &

    landmarks Arun Kumar, NID Bangalore Rajshree, NID Bangalore
  31. #6 Ask for feedback! Share it with folks who fit

    the audience, examine if this helps them see your home through your eyes! The cartographer by Jacques Bouillon
  32. “On Exactitude in Science" by Jorge Luis Borges. Illustrated by

    Tim Brumley
  33. 🙏 Rasagy Sharma @rasagy rasagy.in @data.n.coded Thanks to Prof. Venkatesh

    Rajamanickam (IDC, IIT Bombay), Prof. Chakradhar Saswade (NID Bangalore) & Arun Ganesh (Mapbox).