Wind resources of the Western United States

Map Reviews

Platts, a provider of energy and metals, has created this map to inform consumers that it is progressive in its use of wind resources. However, for a number of reasons, consumers will have trouble understanding what Platts is actually trying to convey. The largest problem is the legend which includes wind power density, wind power plants, transmission lines, and geography. Because the text of the legend is so small and because it includes so much information, it’s impossible to tell what the symbols actually stand for. For instance, there are three types of wind power plants represented by green, light blue, and blue circles, but the reader will be unlikely to know what these colors represent. On the map itself, it’s impossible to locate wind power density perphaps because the colors to use it are so similar to the color of the map’s background. Lighter colored transmission lines are also very difficult to identify because their color is close to the map’s background color. The symbols use for geography, whatever they may represent, are difficult to locate because they are so small on the map.

With all these flaws, there is significant room for improvement. The following is a list of recommendations for improving the map’s display:

Keep it simple. Platts might consider eliminating the mapping of one of its variables such as wind power density or geography. I doubt if the average consumer would even understand wind power density. However, they would understand wind power plants if it not been offiscated by too much data.

Include a title on the map that describes the data and its timeframe

Use a larger text size for the legend.

Use colors in the legend which are distinct from the color of the map’s background to increase readability.

Increase the size of symbols so that they are more apparent.

These changes should give the user a better understanding of what the data actually represents.


Wind resources of the Western United States, 2007-2008 edition.

This map is intended to help staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 to analyze regional pollution so they can better understand the ozone problem in key areas. The symbols used in the legend and on the map are varied, colorful and eye catching. Overall, this is a very good visual representation of the data. Unfortunately, the text used to dsecribe what data the symbols stand for is too small to read. Further, the font color for names of the geographies on the map blend in with the map’s background color, making them difficult to read. Also, the text associated with the dashed red lines that flow from the map is too small. Finally, a large amount of data is found in one area of the map, making it a bit too crowded to understand.

With only a few minor changes, this would be an excellent map. The following is a list of recommendations for improving the map’s display:

The legend must absolutely be readable. Therefore, more space should be allocated for it and a large text size should be used. The use already has to use the scroll feature to see the legend, so a larger legend would not impact usability.

Use a darker color for the names of geographical areas on the map.

Use a larger text size for the text associated with the dashed red lines. This can easily be done since this text is well outside of the map’s edges.

Implement zoom features or additional drill down for easier viewing of data that occurs in mostly one area of the map.

Include a title on the map that describes the data and its timeframe

These changes should give the user a better understanding of what the data actually represents and for what areas.


Houston ozone and ozone precursor monitoring network.

This map is designed for visitors of British Columbia. it’s intended to show them show the locations of provincial protected areas, highlight individual parks by the use of inset maps, and list the facilities available in the parks. Appropriately, there is a separate map for each province with parks highligted in green. As such, the maps do an excellent job of showing the geographic details such as highways, cities and airports in the provinces, but the information that one would expect for the parks is very sparse. This is an issue since the visitor is supposed to be able to obtain a list the facilities available in the parks. Due to this issue, the maps are much more useful as a provincial map rather than a park map. Further, the use of pink for areas surrounding the park is a bit confusing and a little hard on the eyes. Also, the legend’s text for describing the symbols used on the map is too small, making it very difficult to read.

The following is a list of recommendations for improving the map’s ability to display intended park details and to improve readability:

Park details should be displayed using additional drill down features that would facilitate the display of information about the parks such as available facilities.

The legend must absolutely be readable. Therefore, more space should be allocated for it and a large text size should be used.

Use a shade of brown for the areas surrounding the park. This color is associated with ground and would be easier on the eyes that the brighter pink that is currently used.

Include a title on the map that identifies the province.

These changes should give the user a better understanding of the parks themselves and improve the ability to understand the legend.


Park maps of British Columbia.

These four maps are intended to show that Louisiana’s Gulf of Mexico shoreline is losing land. They definitely meet this objective. The map of New Orleans is excellent except that it lacks a title that the others maps have. The legend is readable, so it’s easy to understand what the map is actually displaying, erosion and acretion. Actual numbers are used on the map to supplement the colors that represent ranges on the map. However, these are difficult to read because the numbers are so small. Also, the colors used to represent Fresh Marsh and Saline Marsh are very similar shades. The remaining three maps for Chandeleur Island, Timbalier Islands, and Isle Derniers appear to be perfect. They provide a very visual representation of land change in acres using red for today vs. white for an earlier time period more than a century ago. The colors selected are a good choice since red is such a common symbol of something that is undesirable and since white represents good. This contrast between white and red is very effective at showing just how much erosion has taken place. Further, the legend offers the exact number of acres in a format that is very easy to read and to understand.

No changes for the maps of Chandeleur Island, Timbalier Islands, and Isle Derniers are required. The following is a list of minor recommendations for improving the New Orleans map:

Identify New Orleans by adding a map title.

Either make the numbers on the map slightly larger or consider removing them since the ranges used in the legend are so small.

Select shades with more contrast to represent Fresh Marsh and Saline Marsh.

Given these very minor changes, the New Orleans map could be even better than it already is.


Shoreline change history of Louisiana’s Gulf shorelines: 1800s to 2005. Retrieved from

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