Periodically a question is posted of the form "How do I get effect X in software Y" for which the desired effect would generally be considered bad cartographic design. On rare occasions someone actually replies "don't to that", but generally the answers attempt to show how to achieve the desired effect. If the goal is helping people produce good maps, the first approach seems preferable. If the goal is helping people use a specific software package, then the latter is the way to go. Does the site have a preferred approach? Or is the notion of bad design too opinion oriented?


2 Answers 2


There is no harm in doing both - giving a "don't do that..." with an explanation, as well as an answer on how to do it.

Also consider that we're not all cartographers, and not every map is for cartographic purposes. I would even go as far as saying that a majority of maps are not cartographic. Lines and polygons on a paper map can be more useful than a professionally published, cartographically correct, map in many situations. One of my main tasks (in the good old days) used to be data analysis, and there were many things I did that a cartographer would be appalled at, but I needed to see, and provide, the data in that way.

In my opinion, the goal of this site is to help users achieve their goals. Their goals and requirements may be different to yours, but that doesn't make them any less valid or correct in that context.


You can cite the drawbacks as part of the answer. Recently I chanced upon Converting shapefiles from S3 to GeoJSON in JavaScript for web map and pointed out that relying on client-side (browser) for data format conversion is risky, the safer way is to do it server-side to avoid surprises on the client.

As an aside, most of the maps I work with are electronic/dynamic maps or rather web applications with maps, so I do wonder what is considered "cartographic" in this context.

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