Lines

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Postzen
Jan 14, 2016 · 4 min read

This post was originally published on mapzen.com by Geraldine Sarmiento on 14 January 2016.

Cartographic design is all about drawing. Before I begin something new, I always start by reflecting on the essentials. I like to dissect and think about the most basic elements. What’s in my toolbox? What are my ingredients? Let’s think about lines. What can lines describe?

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open the map, and take a look at the code that makes it work

In this case it’s a drawing but, now also a symbol, like a signature or calligraphic writing. Fascinating!

map | code

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image from Thematic Mapping — link

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James Eynard gave a detailed talk about this drawing technique in Minneapolis at NACIS this year, Evaluating the Effectiveness of Illuminated and Shadowed Contour Lines — link. This technique was developed by Tanaka Kitiro in 1950 — link.

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Check out these grids!

map | code

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Forbidden City, Beijing

map | code

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Columbus Circle, Manhattan

map | code

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Brasília

map | code

Lower Manhattan

map | code

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Stockholm Coastline Area

map | code

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Southeast Asia

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I use some of these drawing techniques in one of our featured styles called Refill. Refill is a continuation of the Toner style I started at Stamen. Think of Refill as a more detailed Toner, an elaboration with the GL capabilities of Tangram. With Tangram I’m able to explore more detailed line work, patterns and building extrusions. Below are some highlights of line-work from the Refill Style along with some isolated examples of drawing techniques I talked about above.

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map | code

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map | code

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map | code

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map | code

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map | code

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map | code

map | code

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Jorinde Voigt

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Massimo Vignelli

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Daniel Libeskind

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Julie Mehretu

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Read the Tangram Documentation for more details. Let us know if you have any questions!

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