Cartography




Designing and maintaining the Mapbox core cartographic offering; while inspiring the “art of the possible” with excellent visual map designs.



As Staff Designer on the Mapbox Cartography team, I worked on the core cartographic offering of six general-purpose map styles that emphasized accurate, legible styling of roads, transit networks, a stylized set of over 400 map icons for points of interest, highway and transit networks.

Focusing heavily on establishing a central design systems, building testing frameworks, and demonstrating mastery and QA to our core map design tool, Mapbox Studio.

Here are some projects I worked on:



MAPBOX SATELLITE STREETS

During our 2016 redesign, I was responsible for the redesign for Mapbox Satellite Streets. Our team of three worked closely to align the taxonomy of map data with a streamlined design system that was both performant, particularly on mobile, visually cohesive.




The challenge of Mapbox Satellite Streets was the vibrant, high-resolution background that varied across global locations. The road networks and typographic treatment needed a strong contrast across these varying backdrops. I worked tirelessly to push and pull between the foreground and background ensuring balanced legibility across 22 zoom levels altering the value decisively.



I designed a comprehensive set of simplified, modern points of interest icons. This created a pattern of visual recognition to acclimate users to landmarks making the map more navigable at the street level views.

Particularly on mobile, my design decisions for heavier yet muted visual hierarchies on road networks for higher, street level zooms blended well with our established global transit stations, highway shields, and motorway exits icon sets.


Designing for mobile also required an iterative process for visual emphasize on popular ferry routes, and pedestrian and cycleways alongside the lush satellite imagery.

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Blueprint

Inspired by U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D blueprint schematics, I designed the Blueprint map style. Eager to test the latest version of Mapbox Studio, my style took full advantage of the new Mapbox GL renderer which allowed from better font and labeling coverage over zoom levels. Since I love design constraints, I limited my color palette to three shades of blue and a single typeface, FF Kievit. 

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SWISS SKI MAP

Traditional ski maps feature steep slopes, ski and snowboard routes over a contour heavy topographic base. The topography creates a detailed visualization of depth of the natural features in the terrain. Inspired by Swisstopo maps, this style highlights elevation contour lines along with specific ski features such as gondolas, chair lifts, and piste paths.

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THE VINTAGE

Vintage maps typically include detailed depth styling on the oceans and bodies of water surrounding the continents. This is bathymetry; the measurement of the depth of water in oceans, seas, and lakes.

The same way that topographic maps represent three-dimensional features of overland terrain, bathymetric maps illustrate the land that lies underwater. A feature I highlighted in this map style. 

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Whaam!

Drawing inspiration from the likes of Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, and Roy Lichtenstein, Whaam! is a unique base map for telling your story with spunk. The use of primary and secondary RGBs hint at traditional printing variations for a vibrant and playful visual read. My pairing of small, dark cyan dots closely spaced over a solid, light cyan background gives the viewer the slight optical illusion as they zoom into the map, in true pop art fashion.

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LA Terrain

This map style was inspired by my first trip to LA. I’ve flown many times from the East Coast to Pacific Northwest, but this was my first to Southern California. The Grand Canyon, Navajo Nation Reservations, thinly populated deserts and mountains in San Bernardino County; all inspired this vision. I wanted this style to capture desert and mountain-scapes from the window seat. 

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Portfolio of Amy Lee Walton