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Lesson Navigation IconLayout Design Settings / Graphical Semiology

Unit Navigation IconMap Size and Scale

Unit Navigation IconDefinition and Organisation of Map Elements

Unit Navigation IconTypography

Unit Navigation IconColour Design

Unit Navigation IconReadability Rules

LO Navigation IconBalance of Map Elements

LO Navigation IconContrast Design of Visual Tone

LO Navigation IconGraphic Density

LO Navigation IconShape Readability

LO Navigation IconAngular Readability

LO Navigation IconReadability of Colour Patterns

LO Navigation IconLand-Water Contrast

LO Navigation Iconwhiteboard discussion

LO Navigation IconTest your knowledge about readability here

Unit Navigation IconMap Critics

Unit Navigation IconSummary

Unit Navigation IconRecommended Reading

Unit Navigation IconGlossary

Unit Navigation IconBibliography

Unit Navigation IconMetadata

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Balance of Map Elements

Let’s start with one of the general rules:
Balance involves the visual impact of the arrangement of image units in the map frame. A bad arrangement of map elements, which appear all on one side, can cause the map to "look heavy" on the right or left, top or bottom.

An image space has two centres: a geometric centre and an optical centre. You should always arrange the elements of the map to be balanced visually around the optical centre.
Beneath are rules concerning the cartographic balance, other rules exist. Two of these further rules are called "Rule of The Golden Section" and "Rule of R. Arnheim". They are better for the distribution of the whole map frame. Please find these rules in unit Definition and organisation of map elements.

Optical versus Geometric Centers, Source: IKA ETH according to (Dent 1999)

This SVG animation shows the localisation of the two centres in an image. The geometric centre, that is equal to the image's balance point, and the optical centre. You should arrange the map elements around the optical centre rather than around the geometric centre. The reason for this has a cognitive-psychological foundation.

Positioning Map Elements

The position of map elements in the image affects the balance of the map. The draft, exemple shown beneath, is a map where details do not extend over the whole map-face. Move the base map element by clicking on the arrows to get an impression of balance and imbalance. France will appear in green when the optical centre is reached.

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