Between the Lines with Map Legends

In her continuing blog series, “The Hidden Meanings of Maps”,  Anne-Laure Freant’s new posting focuses on map legends. As noted in her blog:

Most cartographers neglect map legends. They put a lot of effort in the projection and scale choice, data and pretty colors selection, but then they just want to add a powerful title and press the “share” button. That is a mistake, as the cartographical legend is the key to understand the map. It is like building a beautiful door and forgetting to put a keyhole on it. It sounds obvious to say, but it is a major communication issue found in very prestigious media maps, still today. When maps were made by hand, making the legend was part of a very artistic process. This article puts side by side recent maps made with computers and ancient ones, drawn by hand, on purpose, to illustrate better the importance of skills and knowledge over technology when it comes to mapping.

Once again, for anyone who works with maps, Ms. Freant’s new posting is well worth reading.

Lifelines and earthquake hazards in the greater Seattle area (From:

A map legend example: “Lifelines and Earthquake Hazards in the Greater Seattle Area” (From: