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View Full Version : May/June 2013 Lite Challenge Entry: Dying Sea



WillP
05-23-2013, 10:40 PM
In the 1960s the Soviet Union undertook a very ambitious project to turn the deserts of the Uzbek SSR into a breadbasket. They diverted the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, the two major rivers feeding the Aral Sea, to provide irrigation for these new farmlands.

Inasmuch as watering the desert, the USSR was somewhat successful, and Uzbekistan now is a major cotton producer, but the cost was to destroy the inland sea and destroy a thriving fishing industry.

The map I'm working on for the challenge is the sea itself, but I want to show in one map how it has shrunk. So far, I have drawn the outlines, but I need to decide how to depict them without making the map unreadable. I also want to provide inset thumbnail maps showing each step.

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Korash
05-23-2013, 11:29 PM
Neat idea. Have you thought of using lighter shades of blue to indicate progressively older levels of the water?

WillP
05-24-2013, 12:59 AM
Neat idea. Have you thought of using lighter shades of blue to indicate progressively older levels of the water?

Great Idea. I'm through for the night, but how does this look?

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Bogie
05-24-2013, 02:03 AM
Nice work. Looks like you are on the right track.
Trying to make a good thing, they destroyed a better thing. Typical government, they are all the same in their lack of intelligence.

WillP
05-24-2013, 01:29 PM
I have the bulk of the map finished, the rest should just be ornamentation and proofreading.

I decided to reduce the number of sea level changes to five: 1960, 1970, 1990, 2000, and 2008 and as can be seen, I put thumbnails for each. There are no mountains of consequence in the area, and it's completely desert, so no forest to apply either.

Let me know if anybody sees anything else I need to address.

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WillP
05-24-2013, 01:39 PM
I've learned quite a bit about this region by working on this map.

Check out this picture (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b/Aralship2.jpg) to get an idea of the devastation.

- Max -
05-24-2013, 01:45 PM
Nice idea. Coastiles are a bit pixellated though and the way you fill all the cartouche with text isn't really aesthetic. Leaving some empty space all around the text would make it more pleasant to read ;) Also the way you just put eh years labels on the smalls cartouches looks a bit rushed in my opinion.

WillP
05-24-2013, 04:44 PM
Nice idea. Coastiles are a bit pixellated though and the way you fill all the cartouche with text isn't really aesthetic. Leaving some empty space all around the text would make it more pleasant to read ;) Also the way you just put eh years labels on the smalls cartouches looks a bit rushed in my opinion.


Thank you much Max. I made some alterations to it, including enlarging the base canvas so I could spread the cartouches out some as well as enlarging the lower cartouche. This gave me the added benefit of being able to increase the font.

I'm not sure how to fix the pixellation on the main map, I made it at 150/inch, which I was hoping would be fine enough for most monitors without making the file overlarge. I did add some noise to the sand texture which is underlaying the map, do you think that could be the problem?

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- Max -
05-24-2013, 04:50 PM
NOt sure, your rivers don't look as much pixellated as coastlines. About the map and cartouches I'd try to have same space between them. The bottom cartoucge looks sticked to the map which is odd. Also be careful when using overlay on labels, that makes some colors variations that doesn't look very good. You may want to use solid color instead to make more legible. And I keep thinking that the text on the bottom cartouche need more space around it inside the cartouche to let it breath a bit. Well that's just my two cents :)

WillP
05-25-2013, 10:47 PM
Max,

Thank you very much for the pointers. I think I got the pixellation problem fixed. I enlarged the file to double size, redrew the coastlines by hand, then shrank it back down. I also tweaked the coloration of the lake to hopefully make it easier to see.

As for the lower cartouche, I reduced its size and then decided to condense my narrative to make it neater.

I would recommend anyone wanting to become more familiar with what has happened to the Aral Sea to go here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aral_sea) for a good start. It really was an environmental atrocity.

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anomiecoalition
05-25-2013, 11:08 PM
This is a really cool idea for a map and you've done a great job with it. My only criticism would be the font - I think it looks nice, but kind of detracts from the seriousness of the subject matter. (i.e. it looks look a little kid wrote it)

WillP
05-26-2013, 09:48 AM
You know, AC, I have always loved that font, and never have I thought it looked like a kid's handwriting...until now, and now that's all I can think about when I look at it. So, I took your criticism to heart and changed it.

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anomiecoalition
05-26-2013, 01:45 PM
Yeah, don't get me wrong - I really liked the old font (aesthetically) - but I think this new font is more appropriate for the subject matter.

WillP
05-26-2013, 03:29 PM
Especially since I purposely minimized the ornamentation of the map because of the subject matter.

vorropohaiah
05-30-2013, 10:48 AM
great subject matter and probably my favourite sea, with the abandoned ships lying on its now-dry shores. great stuff

arsheesh
06-04-2013, 01:01 AM
Looking very nice Wilip.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Vinoex
06-04-2013, 07:03 PM
How do you think the map would look if you labeled your various see levels on the map? I'm thinking something along the lines of how you would label Topo lines on a USGS map.

WillP
06-06-2013, 01:02 AM
How do you think the map would look if you labeled your various see levels on the map? I'm thinking something along the lines of how you would label Topo lines on a USGS map.

I'm worried about making the map too busy, buy I will see if I can find that and put it in and see. Great idea.

WillP
06-06-2013, 04:51 PM
Ok,

I tried out Vinoex's advice and added the sea levels, I also changed the font in the maps to small caps, hoping to make it a little bit less busy.

1, how does this look now?
2, does the sea level descriptors make sense? (The sea is still at a higher elevation than global sea level.)

Also, as a little bit more additional trivia: The small island in the western area of the southern sea that later became a larger island and finally a peninsula was called Vozrozhdeniya Island, meaning Rebirth Island. It was home to a research facility working on bioweapons. It's reported that there are still canisters of weaponized anthrax and buobonic plague in the ruins of the town Kantubek.

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Bogie
06-06-2013, 07:58 PM
Looks very good!

KenG
06-06-2013, 09:00 PM
This is great, I really like the way you have set this up.
Ken

WillP
06-10-2013, 07:19 PM
I have done a little bit more tweaking to the map.

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Vinoex
06-11-2013, 08:57 AM
I just looked at it on Google maps. Switching between the satellite image and the map is very telling.

WillP
06-11-2013, 06:04 PM
If this has inspired anyone to help, the Aral Sea Foundation (http://www.aralsea.org/) is the place to go. They have 3 goals: To help area residents get access to clean drinking water, to help them get access to medical care, and to create a green belt around the cities to cut down on sand and salt blows.

BTW, I am in no way affiliated with the foundation, I just ran across it in my research for this map.

WillP
06-12-2013, 12:20 AM
Am I the only person who finds little things that need to be fixed on their maps?

Just make another little tweak.

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Vinoex
06-12-2013, 10:39 AM
Sometime you have to quit looking.

jbgibson
06-13-2013, 03:05 PM
Are the 39.9m and 40.9m labels reversed?

The vast extent of the loss would be made clearer by a scale bar. I know the Aral is (was) enough of a big lake to be called a "sea" but I had no idea just how big it is (was) till I opened an atlas... the original 68,000 square km was larger than dozens of *nations*! And 2008 wasn't the end of shrinkage - that whole southeastern lobe is now gone.

Well, your map definitely accomplished a purpose - calling attention to the situation. As much of a mapaholic as I am, I don't recall ever delving into the Aral's current events until now.

And it's nicely done, too.

Lingon
06-13-2013, 04:27 PM
Am I the only person who finds little things that need to be fixed on their maps?


I'm like that too, no matter what I'm doing… painting, writing, cleaning… Always something to improve. Sometimes, deadlines are very healthy ;)

That's a great map, interesting and aesthetically pleasing. I agree with Jbgibson, a scale bar would make it even clearer, if you have time!

WillP
06-13-2013, 09:02 PM
Thanks Jbgibson. I did have those lake levels wrong, and I agree with needing a scale...so I put one in. That also gave me the opportunity to add another thumbnail to even up the map. I put in the state of Ohio as a quick size comparison.

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WillP
06-14-2013, 09:53 AM
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Korash
06-14-2013, 01:03 PM
That comparison thumbnail really puts it into context size wise. I like this one a LOT :)