05 November 2007

[map_design] Where's The Free Oregon City Maps?

1091. And, for that matter, where's the free county maps and all sorts of things?

Why, they're right here.

One of the great things about ODOT is that it's your tax money at work made real, and if you love city maps like I do, then it's a boon.

Every one of Oregon's 242 cities (and many unincorporated localities) have been compiled and are published as city maps by ODOT, as well as detailed maps of all of Oregon's 36 counties! And, if you download them as PDFs, you can have all of them for free–such a deal!

If you'd like to visit ODOT's map publication office (555 13th St NE, Salem), you can have them for a minimal charge. I suggest it. It's an interesting place to go.

I am a fan of ODOT, naturally.

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Anonymous said...

Well I happened to be looking at a super detailed map and aerial photo of Forest Grove so I tried downloading one of the recommended free city maps ... of FG. Three things immediately struck me about this map after comparing a couple blocks around Pacific University:

1. Cedar Street along the right side of Pacific University is missing. The label is there, but the street is not depicted.

2. When you zoom very tight into the street label (or any other labels), it looks as if someone did a punk/bloat filter on outlines of the text. Really Halloweenish. I think it is well understood by most designers that leaving text as Adobe embedded fonts in a PDF results in the highest quality printing. Outlining text is a workaround when there are font problems, and punking outlined text is ... weird.

3. The train tracks do not end at Cedar street, but a whole block to the east.

I only picked issues that seemed relevant to the transportation focus of the map. In my peripheral vision I noticed many other things that were not shown or shown well, but I assume this is because the focus is streets, rails, and highways.

I sincerely hope that the rest of the maps are less problematical than this one.


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Well, for what it's worth, I've not found any other glaring errors. But though I was born and reared in Oregon, I've not been near as many places as I'd liked to have been so far.

That omission of the line representing Cedar Street certainly is peculiar, I'll grant you. Wonder why that was missed...

I'd still recommend the maps, despite the flaws–overall I think they were of acceptable quality, and better than most maps I see from most commercial publishers (you can count on at least one strange error for free regardless of publisher). I naturally can't speak to the production workflow that wrought those changes in the type.

I can say that what ODOT offers for free over the Intermets is better, far and away, than most states. For instance, I checked out Ohio's site–their "city and county" maps were merely clipped from the official state maps.

You have raised some very good points, however, I can't deny that.