Making good maps can be challenging, time consuming, and expensive, but recently, a new set of cheap and free mapping tools has enabled almost anyone with a computer to easily make a map—but good maps are not usually the result.  They have the computer and software, but the new mapmakers lack the mapping concepts, principles, and methodologies.  Their maps are often improperly designed and do not communicate easily nor effectively.

This e-text wants to change that by helping you create, analyze, and produce maps that communicate more effectively.  By the use of symbols, colors, shades, and words, maps help us communicate with more impact; they make what we want to say attractive, compelling, convincing, and clear.  This e-text focuses primarily on a technology called Geographic Information Systems (GIS), but most of the chapter’s concepts are applicable to other geotechnologies including remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS), Internet mapping, and virtual globes.