Words Matter: Copywriting for Spatial Visualization

Authors: Ian Muehlenhaus*, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Topics: Cartography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: map design, spatial visualization, map interpretation, map copy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Napoleon C3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Innumerable research articles are devoted to the study of effective techniques for spatial data visualization. The focus of these discussions typically center on the design of the data-based visuals themselves. Rarely discussed is map copy -- i.e., text drafted as part of a spatial visualization with the purpose of guiding users to a particular interpretation. Here I argue map copy can massively impact both a person’s interpretation of a spatial visualization and the impact an interpretation has. Effective copywriting axioms are reviewed and examples of using such axioms in map copy are highlighted. I propose that map copy is an element of map design that deserves increased study.

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