Posts in category Symbols

March 23rd, 2012

superimposed markers

Selecting cartographic symbols can, depending on the target message, dramatically vary in difficulty. In the context of bike-share systems, which I shall define, let us look at some examples. A bike-share system, third generation, usually consists of stations containing a certain number of bike docks with bikes locked in them. Registered users can easily and quickly check-out a bike, typically for half an hour for free, ride to another station and check the bike back in. In the context of mapping there are actually many elements that can be mapped. A big challenge is communicating effectively the fullness of bike-share stations cartographically. A map must clearly show station locations and whether they have:

  • one or more bikes,
  • one or more spaces/docks,
  • no bikes,
  • no spaces, and
  • problems and are unavailable.

Displaying all these attributes concurrently is not nearly as easy as it initially appears. I will explore what symbols are currently used in online bike-share status maps and try and design an improved set.