Monday, November 01, 2021

All Points in California

For my first entry in the #30DayMapChallenge I have created a map of all natural landmarks in California called 'Point'.

My California Points map uses a terrain map style so that you can get a sense of the location of the state's mountain ranges and the Central Valley. I have also color-coded all the place-names on the map by their elevation. The darker blue place-names have the highest elevations and the lightest blue colored place-names have the lowest elevations. 

As you can see from the map there seems to be quite a strong correlation between height and place-names called 'Point'. Most natural features with a place-name including the word 'Point' appear to be located either in the Coast mountain range or in the Sierra Nevada range. There don't appear to be many natural features containing the name 'Point' in California's Central Valley. Just by looking at the color of all the Points on the map you can probably see that the highest Points are in the Sierra Nevada range. The coastal Points seem to have on average a lower elevation than those in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

To create my map I retrieved all natural features called Point in California from OpenStreetMap. I got this data by running this query in Overpass Turbo. I exported the place-name data from Overpass Turbo as a GeoJSON file. I then uploaded this data into Mapbox Studio and styled the place-names by their elevation. 

Using different hues of blue for the place-names isn't ideal. The result is that the place-name labels can be a little hard to read on the map. Another idea I had was to use Mapbox's 3D terrain to give a sense of the elevation of each point. Here is a map with California Points in 3D. I think this looks a little better. If I had more time I would use Jonni Walker's tutorial Outdoor Cartography Textual Labeling in Studio to add a white line to each place-name label. If I uploaded a number of vertical lines of different lengths I could probably show elevation height on the 3D map using longer and shorter white lines beneath each place-name label.


The #30DayMapChallenge is an annual event in which cartographers and data visualization experts attempt to create a map each day for a month. Each day's map is based on a different theme.

Themes for the maps. See more below.

You can learn more about the different themes for each day during this year's #30DayMapChallenge on the project's GitHub page. The key is to have fun. As the introduction to the #30DayMapChallenge says, 

"There are no restrictions on the tools, technologies or the data you use in your maps. Doing less than 30 is also fine (doing all 30 is really hard!)."


Matt H said...

You missed a couple of Bay Area landmarks: Point Pinole and Point Molate. Both of which have a very interesting history!

Matt H said...

And on the Sonoma coast: Salt Point, Stewart's Point, Horseshoe Point.

In Mendocino, Point Cabrillo, Navarro Point...