Map Use in Small-Town Planning Documents in Northeast Ohio

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Maps are of fundamental importance to the planning profession. This paper examines the use of maps in planning documents from small towns in northeast Ohio. It considers the frequency of map use, the types of maps utilized, and their quality. Map quality is evaluated by determining the presence or absence of basic map elements and the utilization of a lettering hierarchy for the various map elements. Maps are found in all the plans (median =10) and these represent about one-quarter of non-textual materials. Maps of community facilities and land use are most common, accounting for over half of all maps. Key map elements are included on almost all maps, but few incorporate a lettering hierarchy to reflect the importance of the various elements. The increasing availability of computer mapping programs and the ease with which inadequate maps can be produced make it imperative that planners become more cognizant of the proper techniques for effective cartographic communication. More comprehensive studies are warranted examining the use of maps in planning documents from a wider range of types and sizes of administrative units—i.e., cities, metropolitan areas, and counties


Author Institution: Department of Geography and Planning, University of Akron



The Ohio Journal of Science. v93, n5 (December, 1993), 122-125