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|Design patterns for cartography and data graphics|
|Summary||Technological advances empower individuals without cartographic training or experience to create maps and other data graphics easily and cheaply. As a result, the "state of the practice" for published maps falls well below the standards of professional cartographers. Providing traditional cartographic training for legions of desktop mapmakers is impractical. The situation requires a fresh approach for imparting cartographic skill to the work of nonexpert designers.|
A prominent trend in academic geography has been toward the establishment of a science of geographic information. This dissertation develops a critique of the new geographic information science. From the premise that design knowledge does not derive entirely from scientific principles, I argue that a complete research agenda for GIS and cartography should include methods for constructing both rationalized knowledge and "know-how." My proposed response to the critique advances design patterns as a knowledge exchangeprotocol. Framing design patterns as an innovation, I suggest a research agenda for improving the state of the practice by diffusing cartographic knowledge to non-expert designers. Lastly, I discuss an example element in the proposed solution: an article that elaborates a common problem in data graphics design for an audience apart from the cartographic profession, and then addresses that problem by using design patterns to place the solution in context.
Design knowledge can be made rigorous in its own right; improving communication about designs and the design process can help advance the state of the practice for map design. Adherents in a range of technical disciplines find design patterns useful, suggesting that they can effectively complement the methods of geographic information science. Design patterns can improve the state of the art by enabling communication between researchers and practitioners and between scientists and designers. They can improve the state of the practice by situating cartographic design knowledge in a useful context, thereby making it more widely accessible. Cartography lays claim to a cohesive and well-developed body of knowledge that can be widened to data graphics in general. Design patterns can facilitate the transfer of cartographic experience beyond the field of geography, making existing knowledge more valuable by extending its reach.
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