The Makings of Cartography: Canada’s Provinces and Territories

A map of Canada's provinces and territories. Canada is in green and neighbouring countries are in grey.

In this assignment, I was tasked to create a reference map of Canada that would be used in a high school social studies textbook. Using Adobe Illustrator, I explore different symbols to represent geographic features of Canada and create map elements such as a legend, scale bar, and north arrow.

(Click to enlarge image)

In the second week of my cartography class, I was tasked to create a reference map of Canada that would be used in a high school social studies textbook. Using Adobe Illustrator, I used point, line, and area symbols to represent geographic features of Canada and created map elements such as a legend, scale bar, and north arrow.

Visual Hierarchy

Cartographers strive for an effective visual hierarchy, meaning a system of symbols organized through colour, size, and form, in order to highlight important elements and draw viewer's attention to certain parts of the map.

For example, by using type size, I can show someone the order of political geographic units:

Vancouver

British Columbia

Canada

and show you that

The United States

Is of the same political geographic unit (federal) as Canada, but not the featured element, as it is in a colour that does not stand out in comparison to the red of Canadian geographic units.

Here are some skills I picked up through this week’s project:
  • Designed a reference map of Canadian on Adobe Illustrator to highlight provinces, territories, and cities through visual hierarchy