Unit:  Introduction to Thematic Cartography

Much of the fun of modern cartography is in mapping thematic information  -  that is, data that do not directly relate to the physical landscape or navigation.  These themes could be anything:  population dynamics, weather phenomena, traffic patterns, etc.
For this unit, please focus on the following:
  • Distinguish the differences between choropleth, chart-symbol, and dot maps.
  • Identify the common errors associate with choropleth maps: (1) the modified areal unit problem, and (2) normalization.
  • Identify the effects of classification schemes on representation:  quantile, equal interval, geometric, and natural breaks.
Thematic Maps  |  Choropleth Mapping  |  Classification Methods
Color Basics  |  Intro to Symbology  |  Coordinate Systems

Workshop [b]:  Make a Choropleth Map

In this workshop we'll learn how to manage vector polygon data and symbolize it properly when displaying quantities.  Although we'll cover many, many concepts, please focus on learning the following technical tasks first and foremost:
  • Join .csv (attribute) data to your shapefile.
  • Create new fields from calculations in your attribute table.
  • Symbolize your data with meaningful colors and classification schemes.
To complete the tutorial, please download this data:
Good luck on the videos!
(1) Source Data Download  |  (2) Join Attributes  |  (3)  Calculate Density
(4) Classification  |  (5) Color Schemes  |  (6) Beyond Choropleth