Student map and poster competition

Humboldt Bay, California

Aaron Taveras

I decided to create a map of Humboldt Bay after I moved to Kansas from northern California, making the initial of several motivations being my missing the place where I had completed my undergraduate work and loved living. I had also been trying to formulate an idea for a map that I would be able to complete by conference time, and so mapping a place familiar to me seemed like a good idea. Initially I had planned on creating something more elaborate, or more of a mini atlas of Humboldt Bay, but I realized that keeping it simple would be more practical given the time frame, a recent move, and starting a graduate program. The final map that I took to the conference was intended to show the basic geography of Humboldt Bay and ocean floor features off shore. Being an area with such interesting topography I figured a wall map of Humboldt Bay was a good project choice.

Initially, I wanted to show bathymetric relief, but due to the time frame I decided to use tints and isobaths. I eventually did add the underwater relief, but then later lost the image file after a computer crash. The map now again shows just tints and isobaths. As for land features I wanted to show the relief, but wasn’t sure if land cover or hypsometric tints would be better. In retrospect I probably should have experimented with land cover, but ended up liking the simple seven color green to light yellow hypsometric scheme. I am very fond of Eduard Imhof’s style and relief ideas, so that was my main motivation for the relief. I also thought deeper shadows would allow the landscape to stand off the page more, so I modulated the shadows in Photoshop using the original DEM and a gray scale relief layer. Besides the relief, I also wanted the vector line and area features to be more generalized for the size and scale of the map. I generalized a number of features manually in Illustrator.
Overall, I am happy that I made the map because of the learning experience. There are now a number of obvious things that I need to fix, but I think that those mistakes are a good reminder for me of how I used to think about mapmaking techniques and production. I really do believe that the only way to really learn cartography is by doing it, even if the projects are small, of your own creation, and full of mistakes.