Understanding Analytic Content in Landscape Architectural Maps
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Landscape architects are often required to produce graphics that serve both as a presentation of data and as an exploration of design and process. These images are used to not only show what a landscape will look like when constructed, but also to understand how the composite parts of the landscape, both tangible and intangible, interact with each other. There is a lack of understanding about how to best compose these images so that they perform both aspects equally well. This project examines one aspect of this challenge: the presentation of analytic information in landscape architectural images, specifically, in landscape architectural maps. This project proposes a framework for analyzing, categorizing, and contextualizing the basic visual methods that landscape architects use to communicate analytic information in maps. Edward Tufte’s Principles of Analytic Design are used as a basis for this analytic framework, in order to 1) better understand the visual characteristics and techniques that maps use to present analytical information, 2) break down analytic representation techniques into their component parts so that they can potentially be applied to other landscape architectural image typologies, and 3) create a visual language to better discuss the component parts that make up landscape architectural images. This analysis is structured around two map sets consisting of maps made by landscape architects Ian McHarg and James Corner. The results of this analysis are a set of identified analytic representational techniques used to communicate analytic content in landscape architectural maps, discussed and explored through both narrative and visual description.