Martin Gamache, the Senior Editor of Maps at National Geographic since 2007, was next in line, after Feilding Cage’s presentation. Martin has worked in The American Alpine Journal, Boston Redevelopment Authority and Tele Atlas North America, and taught at Northern British Columbia, Boston and Ottawa Universities. He’s also founder and principal of The Alpine Mapping Guild since 1999.
At Malofiej23, Martin explained the general phases of map making at National Geographic – a magazine that recently celebrated one century of top-quality cartographic production. These stages (research, compilation, projection, typography, relief) are not always fully appreciated by the general audience, since most of this work isn’t actually visible – specially in simple looking projects. To illustrate what kind of effort goes into those projects, Martin pulled together a cartographic feast, with several examples for each one of those stages, some of which are featured below (online versions, click through the images to go to the original articles).
The First Americans
The Lost Land
Red Gold Rush
Chronology of an Epidemic
Deadly snowfall, avalanches
When talking about projections, Martin showed one of the works (the “Beneath the Oceans” supplement map) where the team decided to use an interrupted Mollweide projection centered on the Pacific, to show each ocean as a whole with the least possible distortion. Since this projection is not as common as, for example, Mercator, they also produced a video explainer that helped readers to explore it.
Another interesting aspect that Martin shared with the Malofiej audience is that National Geographic is doing more breaking news work that requires the use of visualization – something that represents a shift in what has been traditionally the long-term projects the magazine is so well-known for. Not that these big projects have been forgotten, but the fact remains that this change brings with it a major challenge for the team, that has also been pressured to re-purpose print maps in different online formats and devices.
Connect with Martin on Twitter (@themappist), and if you are interested in NatGeo’s amazing maps, head out to the online shop, where you can get many of the awarded cartographic gems, among other itens. And continue to follow our posts about Malofiej 23 here on Visualoop.