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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

LO Navigation IconBasics of Font and Typography

LO Navigation IconLegality of Map Fonts

LO Navigation IconTheory of Lettering Maps

LO Navigation IconTypography and Readability on the Screen

LO Navigation IconComputer-Aided Lettering of Maps

LO Navigation IconPlacing Type on a Map

Unit Navigation IconColour Design

Unit Navigation IconReadability Rules

Unit Navigation IconMap Critics

Unit Navigation IconSummary

Unit Navigation IconRecommended Reading

Unit Navigation IconGlossary

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Computer-Aided Lettering of Maps

After explaining all the theoretic aspects of type, we will now introduce you to the process of computer-based lettering of map names. When you start lettering your map, you will have already imported your data into a termDTP drawing program. More information on how to handle your data in order to reach this step can be found in "Handling GIS data" as part of the Intermediate module.

DTP drawing programs usually offer a range of different type options. In most of the programs, you will find a palette of basic type settings as font-family, font-size, letter- and term line-spacing , termkerning, termtracking and baseline adjustment.

In case you are using termpostscript font you will find options for special effects like hollowed fonts, shaded fonts, 3D-fonts etc. It is important to know that effects made on TrueType fonts are not able to be printed on a laser illuminator. On the other hand, postscript fonts may be transformed into pieces of signs. After this, its form can be changed to your own needs. But there is more to think about if its use is to make sense in cartography.

For label positioning, many DTP drawing programs provide different standard transformation tools like rotation, translation, distorting and mirroring. In some programs, you will find a special lettering tool which is very useful for cartographers: aligning text along a path. It is used e.g. to easily label rivers or high mountain ranges.

Another important lettering effect for cartographers is the possibility to clear the details around the label to ensure an appropriate legibility. There are two ways to realize this:

  • Give the text a contour with white colour.
  • Draw a white textbox without stroke around the label.

The following interactive svg animation shows you the different possibilities in computer-aided lettering.

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