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Semiotic evaluation of the systems of signs in the Lithuanian scholastic geographical atlases.

Introduction

Maps as a means of conveying information have been used for a few thousand years. Though the first maps hardly resembled the modern cartographic production their purpose was the same--to convey different kinds of knowledge. Thus we can state that maps have especially old communicative traditions; they are even older than script. Maps are especially important in modern life. Symbols of cartographic material encode huge amounts of different information which are indispensible for modern people. Different cartographic production is designed for fulfilment of different tasks and is used by people of different age and education. Thus decoding, perception and assimilation of cartographic images require knowledge of cartographic language which should be in due course taught at school. The knowledge of cartographic language depends on the quality of cartographic production used by schools. It is of crucial importance that the information is conveyed in easily perceptible and memorisable language of cartographic signs.

It should be noted that the Lithuanian scholastic geographical cartographic production is a sore point which actually is neglected. In this country, there are very few scientific research works devoted to analysis of the quality of released cartographic production: Dumbliauskiene 2000, (the work contains the evaluation of school cartography production according to publishing groups, thematic sub-groups and character of usage and includes a summary account of results of qualimetric analysis), Rociute (2009), Dumbliauskiene, Rociute (2009), Rociute, Dumbliauskiene (2009, 2011) (these articles report the results of semiotic evaluation of the systems of cartographic symbols used in higher forms (8-12) of Lithuanian secondary school and analysis (survey using questionnaires) of their perception), Bevainis (2009, 2011a, 2011b) (these articles contains the analysis and evaluation of cartographical images of educational maps and report the problems of graphic information loads). Therefore, the main objective of the present study is to find out the specific features of the systems of cartographic signs developed for Lithuanian scholastic geographical atlases. Systems of cartographic signs used by the Lithuanian publishing houses in scholastic geographical atlases (designed for higher forms) were chosen as the study object.

1. Methods

In order to make cartographic images readable, easily perceptible and easily assimilated, the compilation of maps should be based on certain rules and principles. The requirements for school maps depend on the age of target users. It is important that cartographic symbols are simple and easily memorisable. The maps designed for junior forms should use cartographic signs in their form and colour resembling the objects they represent (signs images and typical colours). In some cases it is desirable that cartographic signs are of identical colour and shape (stylized symbols of identical colour imitating the represented object). Without reference to the age of students, cartographic signs in map legends should be correctly semantically differentiated. It is especially recommended to name the groups of cartographic signs in maps targeted at younger students (e.g. mineral resources, settlements, power plants, etc.). The taxonomic differentiation and transitive expression also should be correct. The well-chosen cartographic background also is important as it helps to orientate in the map. In order to attract pupils' attention, the cartographic material (especially the one designed for younger pupils) should be graphically original. Taking into consideration the age of users, the graphic and information loads must be reasonable. Both overload (encumbering the readability of cartographic production, decoding of the information, perception and memorising) and underload (in this case mps are less informative) should be avoided.

The used method is not new. I was applied in 2009 only for investigation of perception of cartographic signs in economic maps from the Lithuanian scholastic geographical atlases (Rociute 2009; Dumbliauskiene, Rociute 2009; Rociute, Dumbliauskiene 2009). For this reason, the main principles of the present research are briefly overviewed emphasising only the attributes of the evaluated indices (Tables 1 and 2).

As was mentioned, the method for semiotic evaluation of cartographic signs was developed by partly transforming the already existing method for evaluation of communicative quality of thematic maps (Dumbliauskiene 2000) and taking into consideration the psychological principles of perception (Kaffemanas 1997, 2001, 2002; Vaitkevicius 2002; MacEachren 2004; Stanikunas et al. 2004; Gurciniene, Soliunas 2005; Wiegand 2006; Gurciniene 2007; Martisius 2008).

The systems of cartographic signs used in the Lithuanian scholastic geographical atlases were analysed in three semiotic aspects. For each of them the evaluation indices were distinguished which are most important for correctness of signs and for their comprehension, assimilation and memorising.

1. The semantic analysis focuses on the relations between signifiers (signs) and denotations (objects they stand for). The associative capacity of the shape and colour of signs were evaluated. It is important that the signs used in maps preserve the typical attributes of denoted objects, phenomena and processes in terms of shape and colour (Dumbliauskiene 2002; Bertin 1981). The associative capacity of shape was analysed based on the following features: imitating or stylised characters (they also are called icons; they are small pictures (drawings or photographs), e.g. [cotton]--cotton, [cattle]--cattle), symbolic characters (they denominate the objects, phenomena or processes according to their typical attribute, e.g. [chemical industry]--chemical industry, [theatre]--theatre), and abstract conventional signs (signs which signify objects, phenomena or processes by agreement within a certain system of symbols, e.g. [nickle ore]--nickel ore, [ironstone]--ironstone). Analysing the associative capacity of colour, identical (e.g. [citruses]--citruses, [grapes]--grapes), symbolic (e.g. [automotive industry] --automotive industry) and indifferent (e.g. [grapes]--grapes) colours were distinguished.

2. The syntactic analysis is focused on the interrelations between signs. This aspect helps to seek correctness of signs taking into consideration their intrinsic links (which reflect the bonds between the real denoted objects). The information conveyed by maps compiled with respect to this aspect is more easily perceived by readers. The study also includes the evaluation of semantic (related with cartographic signs and their grouping according to certain attributes) and taxonomic differentiations (showing hierarchical bonds of cartographic signs existing in reality) and transitive expression (it shows the correctness of quantitative, qualitative and proportional scales used in a map; transitive expression manifests through variations of the size, colour and colour intensity of cartographic signs as well as intensity of shading) (Table 1).

The relation (communication and perception) of the users with the system of cartographic signs is analysed in pragmatic aspect. Attention is focused on the whole of cartographic signs, general cartographic image and its comprehension. The following evaluation indices are distinguished: graphic (characterized by the density of cartographic signs and letterings) and informative (it depends not only on the graphic load but also on characteristics of cartographic signs, gradations, links between signs and textual information, links of the elements of thematic contents with the cartographic basis, etc.) loads (Berliant 1986, 2003). It must be born in mind that the perception ability of individual readers differs depending on the age, education, knowledge of the field and even gender. The mentioned loads are evaluated visually, optimality of cartographic basis (it facilitates spatial orientation, perception and assimilation of the conveyed information; it should be pointed out that all types of maps should depict hydrographic and settlement networks; also they should represent cartographic grid and administrative distribution. The nature maps often depict relief and forests; the maps of social themes depict motor road and railway networks. The composition and number of the elements of cartographic basis are predetermined by the theme of the map, its scale and destination), graphic originality (unusual map elements, expressive forms, bright well matched colours, nonstandard design, original supplementary material (photographs, caricatures, etc.). All these features attract users' attention, raise interest, strengthen the impression, increase readability of the map and contribute to easy perception and memorising of the conveyed information), standardisation level (standardisation of cartographic signs implies regulation of the shapes and size of signs, colours and their intensity, orientation of signs, and texture. These regulations should be obeyed when compiling maps (Dumbliauskiene 2004); standardisation increases the readability of cartographic production, perception and assimilation of information), and readability (it depends on the above discussed indices) (Table 2).

2. Results of semiotic analysis

The number of the analysed cartographic signs is unequally distributed in atlases. The greatest numbers of signs (some of them repeat themselves) in are used in the "World atlas" published by "Alma Littera" scholastic atlas "The Earth" published by "Briedis" (Table 3).

Grouping of all cartographic signs into point, line (signs lines, signs vectors) and areal patterns (Fig. 1) showed that the Lithuanian scholastic geographical atlases are predominated by areal signs (area patterns) which account for almost 49% of the total of used cartographic signs. This is predetermined by a rather large number of small-scale maps in which the information is conveyed using qualitative or quantitative background and isoline (using colours for the interlayers) methods. These methods are used e.g. in maps depicting the quality of life index, birth rate, number of sunny days per year, amount of precipitation, etc. Also there are rather many medium-scale maps predominated by territorial distribution of objects, phenomena and processes where area patterns are used: e.g. agricultural maps depicting the distribution areas of vegetables, fruits, domestic animals. The cartogram method also is rather popular for spatial representation of agro cultures (for example the area of wheat, in ha, per 100 ha of cultivated soil) or population per unit territory (e.g. 1 sq km), etc.

Point signs are not less important in the analysed atlases (Fig. 1) where they account for about 39% of the total. This group of signs is especially often used in economic maps. This is so because the signified objects mainly are concentrated in points. The most widespread point objects are: mineral deposits, their treatment plants and other industrial centres, power plants, sea ports, air fields, etc.

The linear objects are least frequently signified in scholastic atlases. The line signs only account for 14% of the total (signs lines, signs vectors) (Fig. 1). These cartographic signs are used for representing the boundaries of different areas and spread directions of some phenomena and objects. For example, lines of different colour, thickness and texture are used to signify rivers, climate belts, boundaries of the tectonic plates, tectonic fault zones, navigation channels, railways, networks of motor roads, boundaries of oceans, etc. Signs vectors are used even more rarely. They are used for representation of expedition itineraries and directions of navigation (at the time of the great geographic discoveries), sea currents, tectonic plate movement, drifting of icebergs, and various natural disasters.

The semantic analysis of the Lithuanian scholastic geographical atlases showed that in most cases the resemblance of the shape of signifiers with the represented objects is conveyed using the symbolic signs, e.g.: [cruid oil]--crude oil, [chemical industry]--chemical industry, [castles]--castles, etc. (Fig. 2). Signs of this type account for more than 83% of the total of cartographic signs used in these maps. Abstract signs (e.g. [metal processing]--metal processing, [tee trees]--tee trees, [earth quakes]--earth quakes) account for 12.9%. The rarest in the scholastic atlases are imitating! stylised cartographic signs which are easily understandable and memorisable, e.g.: [grapes]--grapes, [cotton]--cotton, [pigs]--pigs, [cattle]--cattle). They only account for 3,6% of the total of cartographic signs used in the studied atlases.

Association capacity of colours (resemblance of the cartographic colours to the colours of real objects, phenomena or processes), facilitating recognition of represented objects, is another index of key importance in cartography. Yet it is rather difficult to choose colours identical to the represented object, phenomenon or process.

It was determined that cartographic signs of symbolic colours (e.g. ) (Fig. 3) were most frequently used in the studied atlases. They account for slightly more than a half of the total. Cartographic signs of indifferent colour (e.g. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]) also occurred rather frequently and accounted for 47% of the total. The cartographic signs with identical colours (e.g. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]) are fewest in the mps of geographical atlases. They account for 2.5%.

Syntactic analysis of Lithuanian scholastic geographical atlases showed that in the legends of maps the cartographic signs usually are correctly semantically differentiated (Fig. 4). In more than a half of the analysed maps (54.1%), cartographic signs are correctly semantically grouped though in many cases these groups are not titled. In simple maps--one or a few isolated objects, phenomena or processes are depicted --the semantic differentiation is not expressed (and it is not necessary). Such maps account for more than one third of the analysed maps. Only in the legends of 7.3% of analysed maps cartographic signs are partly correctly semantically grouped.

Taxonomic (hierarchic) signs (Fig. 5) representing the real relationships between objects, phenomena and processes are very rare in the analysed scholastic maps. In almost 83% of analysed maps, taxonomic differentiation is not expressed. The correct taxonomic differentiation was determined only in 16.6% of analysed maps. Only in 0.5% of maps the hierarchic relations are represented partly correctly.

It was observed (Fig. 6) that in more than a half of analysed maps (59%) the transitive expression is correct. In almost V of maps the transitive expression is partly correct and in slightly more than 16% of maps it is absent.

Pragmatic analysis showed that the graphic load of atlases published by different publishing-houses varies; the distribution of cartographic signs is uneven (Fig. 7). In some maps signs are concentrated in certain areas whereas other areas are almost empty. The general load of such maps can be evaluated (visually) as acceptable when it does not encumber readability. The load is not acceptable when maps abound in concentrations of signs and the number of signs within them is very high what makes it difficult to link them with the letterings.

Analysis revealed that the load (by visual evaluation) of more than a half of all analysed scholastic geographical atlases is acceptable (Fig. 7). Yet even about 40% of analysed maps are graphically underloaded. Maps overloaded with graphic elements are especially rare (1.5% of the total).

The research also showed that the Lithuanian scholastic geographical atlases are not overloaded with information (Fig. 8). In most of the analysed maps (82.1%), the information load is optimal. Maps with high information load were not found. Maps with low information load account for about 18%.

Cartographic basis, i.e. mathematic basis and geographical elements, is of key importance for perception.

Evaluation of cartographic basis showed (Fig. 9) that even in 46% of analysed maps cartographic basis was not optimal, in 1/3 of maps it was optimal and in almost 23% it was medium optimal.

Graphic originality is another very important index in scholastic cartographic production yet neglected by map compilers (Fig. 10). More than a half of the analysed maps (57.8%) showed no graphic originality. Moderate graphic originality was characteristic of more than 1/4 of analysed maps. Original graphic representation techniques (pronounced graphic originality) was observed in 15.3% of analysed scholastic geographical maps.

Analysis of the systems of cartographic signs revealed that systems of signs used in some thematic maps were at least partly developed sticking to certain standards, e.g. soil, geological, and physical (relief) maps. These maps together with synoptic, nature zones and geomorphological maps (where systems of signs are not officially standardised but based on certain traditions) can be attributed to the group of partly standardised maps.

The systems of cartographic signs in the majority of the maps of scholastic geographical atlases are not standardised. Such maps account for 64.2% of the total. Partly standardised systems of signs are used in more than 1/3 of all maps (Fig. 11).

The above discussed indices of pragmatic aspects play the key role in the process of communication, i.e. they are responsible for readability of cartographic production. Readability should be the main objective pursued by map compilers. Yet the task is difficult.

The readability of more than a half (58%) of analysed maps (Fig. 12) is good. Maps of encumbered readability account for slightly less than 40% of maps. The readability of 2.5% of analysed maps is bad.

Conclusions

Semiotic evaluation of the systems of cartographic signs used in the Lithuanian scholastic geographical maps leads to the conclusions given below.

The present semiotic analysis confirmed the results of semiotic evaluation of economic maps designed for higher forms carried out in 2009. The majority of published maps are schematic, representing one or a few simple objects, phenomena or processes. For this reason, the hierarchic relations between cartographic signs are rarely represented in the legends. The transitive expression is rarely depicted, the maps are not overloaded with information, and cartographic production with optimal information load is dominant. It should be pointed out that often the information load does not increase even in the maps designed for higher forms. The cartographic basis in almost a half of the analysed maps is not optimal what encumbers the readability of cartographic image.

The relatively small Lithuanian market abounds in scholastic geographical atlases using a huge number of not standardised cartographic signs. Sometimes even the atlases issued by one publishing house use different cartografphic signs for representation of the same objects, phenomena or processes bringing confusion into the process of perception and assimilation of cartographic information. It is necessary to standardise on a national level the systems of cartographic signs for groups of maps included in scholastic geographical atlases.

Pupils are an especially specific group of users of cartographic production. To attract their attention it is necessary to convey the cartographic information using interesting cartographic methods, original shapes of cartographic signs, well matched harmonious colours, and original styles and shades. These things are lacking in the available scholastic cartographic production. Compilers of cartographic production should devote more time not only to collection of information but also to its interesting and original representation.

Map compilers put great efforts to assimilation and use of modern technologies but forget to take count of the specific features of perception by pupils. They also sometimes ignore rules of semiotics without which creation of production of high communicative quality is impossible.

doi: 10.3846/20296991.2013.859794

Received 06 June 2013; accepted 09 December 2013

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Inga Zalaliene

Department of Geography and Land Management, Faculty of Natural Sciences,

Vilnius University, M. K. Ciurlionio g. 21, 03101 Vilnius, Lithuania

E-mail: inga_zalaliene@yahoo.com

Inga ZALALIENE. PhD student at the Department of Geography and Land Management, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Vilnius University, M. K. Ciurlionio g. 21, 03101 Vilnius, Lithuania. Ph +370 603 17522, e-mail: inga_rociute@gf.stud.vu.lt.

MSc from Vilnius University, 2003.

Research interests: cartographical semiotic.

Table 1. Features of semantic and taxonomic differentiation and
transitive expression and their characteristics

                  Correct

Semantic          In the legend, the cartographic signs are clearly
differentiation   grouped according to certain features. The
                  distinguished groups are titled.
                  2-3 semantic groups of signs are used.

                  Partly correct

                  Most of the cartographic signs in the legend are
                  grouped according to certain features but the
                  semantic groups not always are titled.
                  Semantic groups are distinguished yet untitled.
                  Moreover, different groups of signs are not
                  separated (for example by adding space between
                  lines). This makes the semantic differentiation
                  difficult to comprehend.

                  Not expressed

                  The map depicts one object, phenomenon or process
                  with few features. Therefore, the legend is simple.
                  Only a few signs are explained.

                  Correct

Taxonomic         The relation with a real object, phenomenon or
differentiation   process is clearly visualised through respective
                  features: shape and size of signs and colour and
                  shading intensity.
                  A simple hierarchic structure of signs is use: 3-4
                  hierarchic ranks of signs are dominant.

                  Partly correct

                  Most of the used cartographic signs are correctly
                  taxonomically differentiated yet not all of them.
                  The hierarchy of cartographic signs is poorly
                  visualised, e.g. graphic signs hardly differ in
                  size and the differences of line thickness or
                  colour and shading intensity are hardly
                  discernible.

                  Not expressed

                  The theme of the map is narrow and does not require
                  visualisation of the links between the cartographic
                  signs and real objects, phenomena or processes (few
                  cartographic signs are used; the hierarchic links
                  between signs are absent).

                  Correct

Transitive        The colour and shading scales and size of signs are
expression        not random. They are selected following principles
                  of logic and semantic rules. The scales clearly
                  visually differ in size: colour transitiveness and
                  intensity are correct, shading intensity is clear
                  as is the difference between the sizes of the used
                  signs.
                  The number of intervals is optimal: maximum
                  5-6 intervals.

                  Partly correct

                  The colour and shading scales and size of signs are
                  not random. They are selected following principles
                  of logic and semantic rules. The small and large
                  scales are not clearly discernible: distinguishing
                  between colours and shades and size of signs
                  requires effort.
                  The scale interval is at variance with the
                  principle of transition: a colour, a shade or one
                  of the signs falls out of the context. 6-8 or even
                  more intervals are used.

                  Not expressed

                  The theme of the map does not require transitive
                  expression index.

Table 2. Evaluation indices of graphic and informative loads,
cartographic basis, graphic originality, standardisation level
and readability and their characteristics

                     Overload

Graphic load         Very many signs and letterings:

                     --cartographic signs and letterings drown in
                     each other;

                     --signs are indiscernible and hardly
                     recognizable;

                     --letterings are almost illegible;

                     --there are difficulties in associating
                     letterings with objects.

                     Acceptable

                     Letterings and signs are not many:

                     --signs and letterings do not drown in each
                     other;

                     --signs are easily discernible and recognizable;

                     --letterings are easily readable;

                     --letterings are easily associated with objects.

                     Underload

                     Mapping is performed by cartogram method;
                     Low density of signs and letterings;
                     Many "free" areas: signs and letterings are
                     concentrated in one or a few small areas.

                     Overload

Informative load     A great variety of signs: signs of different
                     shapes and colours are used;
                     A great variety of letterings: different font
                     types and sizes; different font colours;
                     Especially detailed quantitative and qualitative
                     scales are used (more than five intervals);
                     A complicated hierarchic sign structure is used.

                     Optimal

                     Information is represented using 2-3 semantic
                     groups of signs;
                     The hierarchic structure of signs is simple:
                     3 hierarchic levels are dominant;
                     The qualitative and quantitative scales have 5
                     intervals or categories at most.

                     Underload

                     Only one object, phenomenon or process is
                     depicted;
                     A few objects, phenomena or processes are
                     depicted yet their territorial distribution is
                     limited; they have few informative attributes.

                     Optimal

Cartographic basis   When most of the following elements are plotted:
                     Hydrographic network, i.e. rivers, lakes, seas
                     and other big bodies of water with names
                     indicated (irrespective of the theme or scale
                     of the map);
                     Capitals and main cities of countries with names
                     given (irrespective of the theme and scale of
                     the map);
                     Administrative territorial distribution
                     (irrespective of the theme or scale of the map);
                     Cartographic grid (irrespective of the theme
                     or scale of the map);
                     Relief (with respect to the theme of the map);
                     Forests (flora) (with respect to the theme of
                     the map);
                     Network of motor roads and railways (with
                     respect to the theme of the map).

                     Medium optimal

                     When only some of the elements of cartographic
                     basis listed in the section "Optimal" are
                     plotted. Some of the elements due to be plotted
                     with respect to the scale and theme of the map
                     are missing, e.g.:

                     --cartographic grid is missing;

                     --names of some administrative territories are
                     not given (in small scale maps);

                     --not all capital cities of the countries are
                     The elements of cartographic basis are rather
                     generalised, i.e. lack detail, e.g.: the river
                     network is too generalised, names of rivers are
                     not given (in the maps of all scales).

                     Not optimal

                     When are plotted:

                     --Only administrative territorial distribution
                     without indication of the names of the plotted
                     territories.

                     --Administrative territorial distribution and a
                     few largest rivers without names (in large
                     scale maps).

                     Pronounced

                     Original depiction techniques attracting user's
                     attention are used:

                     --technique of symbols--especially original
                     imitating/stylised (photographs) or unusual
                     symbols are used;

                     --technique of qualitative-quantitative
                     background--especially well matched (between
                     themselves and with other signs) colours and
                     original shades are used to attract user's
                     attention.
                     An original cartographic basis is used, e.g.
                     shadowed relief strengthening perception.
                     Original shades are used.
                     Nonstandard original letterings are used.

                     Moderate

Graphic              Only a small part of the graphic image is marked
originality          by original expression: e.g. only a few
                     attractive cartographic signs (imitating/
                     stylised) are used which hardly facilitate the
                     general perception of the cartographic image;
                     Well matched colours and/or shades are used yet
                     they are not strongly attracting attention;
                     Traditional easily readable letterings are used.

                     Absent

                     Undistinguished depiction techniques are used,
                     which do not attract user's attention and do not
                     facilitate (in many cases even encumber) the
                     readability of the cartographic "text":

                     --the cartographic signs used are simple and
                     undistinguished; in the majority of cases they
                     are difficultly perceivable abstract
                     conventional signs;

                     --the colours used lack expressivity; they are
                     not contrasting and not harmonised;

                     --the shades are undistinguished and not
                     attractive;

                     --the letterings are simple and undistinguished.

                     Standardised

Standardisation      Nationally and internationally standardised
level                mandatory systems of cartographic signs are
                     used. Such are geological, soil and synoptic
                     maps. Usually maps of these types are easily
                     readable and perceptible. Those who have
                     practice in reading these thematic maps usually
                     do not need to refer to the legend.

                     Partly standardised

                     Institutionally standardised systems of signs
                     are used. In the course of time, standards of
                     representing certain objects become established
                     (e.g. colours for different zones in maps of
                     vegetation zones or colours representing
                     different stands in maps of forests) though not
                     approved by appropriate organisations. Usually,
                     cartographic signs of this kind are standardised
                     based on one attribute: colour or shape. These
                     maps are sufficiently easily readable because at
                     least some of the used signs can be recognised
                     without referring to the legend; especially if
                     the user has practice of reading maps of these
                     kinds.

                     Not standardised

                     The used systems of cartographic signs are not
                     internationally, nationally or institutionally
                     standardised. In order to understand them,
                     reference to the legend is necessary what
                     encumbers fast reading and perception.

                     Good

Readability          Imitating/stylised and/or symbolic (especially
                     ostensive) signs are used of identical or
                     symbolic colour;

                     The used signs and letterings do not drown in
                     each other;

                     The colour (and its intensity) and size of signs
                     make possible their easy discernment on the
                     background;

                     Signs are easily distinguished from each other;
                     Letterings can be easily attributed to relevant
                     objects;

                     Cartographic signs in legends are correctly
                     semantically and taxonomically differentiated;
                     Optimal cartographic basis is used;

                     Correct colour and/or shading scales are used.
                     They are not random but selected sticking to the
                     principles of logic and semantic rules;

                     Transitive expression index is represented by an
                     optimal number of intervals: maximum 5-6
                     intervals;

                     The information is represented using 2-3
                     semantic groups of signs;

                     The qualitative and quantitative scales are
                     composed of 5 intervals or categories at most;

                     The used cartographic signs are internationally
                     and/or nationally standardised;

                     The cartographic methods employed are original
                     and attracting user's attention.

                     Encumbered

                     Wrongly selected symbolic signs are dominant;
                     only a small number of imitating/stylised signs
                     are used;

                     The used signs are difficultly discernible in
                     the background due to similar colour;

                     Some of the used signs are too small or too
                     inconspicuous to distinguish between their
                     shape and/or colour;

                     There are rather many letterings;

                     Semantic differentiation is only partly correct;

                     The cartographic basis is of medium optimum;

                     Transitive expression index is represented by
                     6-8 intervals;

                     The used cartographic signs are institutionally
                     standardised.

                     Bad

                     Abstract conventional signs are used;

                     Signs in the map legend are not semantically
                     grouped (logical groups are absent);

                     Hierarchic relations between the signs and
                     signified real objects, phenomena and processes
                     are incorrect;

                     Signs and letterings are rather variable in
                     shape and colour and drown in each other
                     (graphic overload);

                     Signs are too small or inconspicuous to
                     distinguish between their shapes;

                     The used qualitative and quantitative scales are
                     especially detailed (more than 5 intervals);

                     The used cartographic basis is not optimal;
                     The colours and shades are too intensive
                     (transitive expression) what encumbers
                     distinguishing the cartographic signs in
                     the background;

                     Systems of cartographic signs are not
                     standardised.

Table 3. Analysed scholastic geography atlases and the number of
cartographic signs in them

Analysed scholastic geography  atlases              The number of
                                                  cartographic signs

"Briedis" publishing house:

I atlas      The Earth. Geographical Atlas for            89
             the 6th form (2004)
II atlas     The Earth. Interactive teaching             151
             geographical Atlas for the 6th
             form (2010)
III atlas    The Earth. Geographical Atlas for           494
             the 7th form (2004)
IV atlas     The Earth. Interactive teaching             574
             geographical Atlas for the 7th
             form (2010)
V atlas      The Earth. Geographical Atlas for           892
             the 8th form (2007)
VI atlas     The Earth. Interactive teaching             786
             geographical Atlas for the 8th
             form (2011)
VII atlas    Geographical Atlas of Lithuania             404
             for the 9th form (1999)
VIII atlas   The Earth. Geographical Atlas for           371
             the 9th form (2005)
IX atlas     The Earth. Geographical Atlas for           424
             the 10th form (2007)
X atlas      The Earth. Scholastic Geographical          1974
             Atlas (2006)

"Sviesa" publishing house:

XI atlas     We are many--the World is one.              252
             Geographical Atlas for the
             6th form (2008)
XII atlas    Geographical Atlas for the 7-8th            1033
             forms (2011)
XIII atlas   Lithuania Europe the World.                 750
             Geographical Atlas for the
             9th-10th forms (2007)
XIV atlas    Atlas of Integrated Geography for           1198
             Schools (2005)

"Alma littera" publishing house:

XV atlas     World Atlas (2008)                          1983

"Pradai" publishing house:

XVI atlas    Universal World Atlas (1996)                1180

"Didakta" publishing house:

XVII atlas   New World Atlas (2009)                      1380

Fig. 1. Distribution of point, line and area patterns
in the analysed scholastic geographical atlases (%)

                 areal   line    point
                 signs   signs   signs

I atlas          31.5    47.2    21.3
II atlas         56.9    20.5    19.9
III atlas        48.2    22.9    28.9
IV atlas         66.7    12.2    21.1
V atlas          44.5    14      41.5
VI atlas         41.5    13.6    44.8
VII atlas        44.1    21.5    34.4
VIII atlas       58      19.4    22.6
IX atlas         45      13.9    41
X atlas          48.1    16.2    35.7
XI atlas         55.2    9.9     34.9
XII atlas        35.8    10      64.2
XIII atlas       45.5    9.9     44.7
XIV atlas        54.1    12.1    33.8
XV atlas         52.7    3.7     43.6
XVI atlas        47.5    15.3    37.3
XVII atlas       58.7    8.8     32.5
at all atlases   48.8    12.6    38.6

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 2. Association capacity of the shape of signs
in the analysed maps of scholastic geographic atlases (%)

                 abstract conventional   symbolic   imitating/
                 signs                   signs      stylized signs

I atlas          15.8                    82.9       1.3
II atlas         6.5                     82.2       11.4
III atlas        11.4                    88         0.6
IV atlas         11.8                    83.8       4.4
V atlas          8                       90.1       1.9
VI atlas         8                       88         4
VII atlas        13.1                    82.2       4.7
VIII atlas       16.7                    79.9       3.4
IX atlas         11.6                    87.6       0.7
X atlas          10.5                    87.6       1.9
XI atlas         13.5                    73.1       13.4
XII atlas        16.9                    81         2.1
XIII atlas       16.8                    82         1.2
XIV atlas        17.7                    78.9       3.3
XV atlas         11.8                    83.9       4.3
XVI atlas        18.5                    79.7       1.9
XVII atlas       11.3                    88         0.8
at all atlases   12.9                    83.5       3.6

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 3. Association capacity of the cartographic colours
in the analysed maps of scholastic geographic atlases (%)

                 indifferent   symbolic   identical

I atlas          46.4          49.6       3.9
II atlas         52.3          37.1       10.6
III atlas        26.8          72.6       0.5
IV atlas         41.7          56.5       1.8
V atlas          22.4          75.7       1.9
VI atlas         43.1          56.5       0.4
VII atlas        51.5          48.5       9
VIII atlas       50.5          46         3.4
IX atlas         45.2          54.8       0
X atlas          35.8          63.3       0.9
XI atlas         43.4          42.8       13.8
XII atlas        59.1          38.9       2
XIII atlas       50.4          48.8       0.7
XIV atlas        58.6          39.7       1.7
XV atlas         85.9          14         0.1
XVI atlas        32.3          67.1       0.7
XVII atlas       54            46
at all atlases   47            50.5       2.5

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 4. Semantic diferentiation in the legends
of the analysed maps of scholastic geographic atlases (%)

                 not expressed   partly correct   correct

I atlas          54.5            9.1              36.4
II atlas         61.9            9.5              28.6
III atlas        52.5            6.6              41
IV atlas         22              6                72
V atlas          36.5            14.1             49.4
VI atlas         15.4            13.5             71.2
VII atlas        40.5            11.9             47.6
VIII atlas       42.9            2.4              54.8
IX atlas         30.4            6.5              63
X atlas          45.5            7.7              46.9
XI atlas         50                               50
XII atlas        47.1                             52.9
XIII atlas       31.5            3.7              64.8
XIV atlas        29.9            1.1              69
XV atlas         37.2            23.8             39
XVI atlas        11.3            2.8              85.9
XVII atlas       47.9            5                47.1
at all atlases   38.6            7.3              54.1

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 5. Taxonomic diferentiation (representation of hierarchic
relations) in the legends of the analysed maps of scholastic
geographic atlases (%)

                 not expressed   partly correct   correct

I atlas          72.7            0                27.3
II atlas         90              0                10
III atlas        87.1            1.6              11.3
IV atlas         92              0                8
V atlas          92.9            0                7.1
VI atlas         92.3            0                7.7
VII atlas        75.6            2.4              22
VIII atlas       81              0                19
IX atlas         76.1            0                23.9
X atlas          91.9            0.5              7.7
XI atlas         90              0                10
XII atlas        58.6            0                41.4
XIII atlas       83.3            0                16.7
XIV atlas        81.8            2.3              15.9
XV atlas         83              0.4              16.6
XVI atlas        80              1.4              18.6
XVII atlas       81              0                19
at all atlases   82.9            0.5              16.6

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 6. Transitive expression in the analysed maps of scholastic
geographic atlases (%)

                 not expressed   partly correct   correct

I atlas          36.4            9.1              54.5
II atlas         25              0                75
III atlas        11.3            45.2             43.5
IV atlas         10              32               58
V atlas          13.3            38.6             48.2
VI atlas         1.9             40.4             57.7
VII atlas        12.2            46.3             41.5
VIII atlas       11.9            38.1             50
IX atlas         10.9            30.4             58.7
X atlas          10.5            32.1             57.4
XI atlas         45              0                55
XII atlas        1.6             15.6             82.8
XIII atlas       16.7            14.8             68.5
XIV atlas        18.2            8                73.9
XV atlas         29.6            41.3             29.1
XVI atlas        15.7            10               74.3
XVII atlas       6.6             18.2             75.2
at all atlases   15.3            24.7             59

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 7. Graphic load in the analysed maps of scholastic
geographic atlases (%)

                 underload   acceptable   overload

I atlas          27.3        72.7         0
II atlas         55          45           0
III atlas        63.9        36.1         0
IV atlas         52          48           0
V atlas          35.3        64.7         0
VI atlas         25          69.2         5.8
VII atlas        41.5        58.5         0
VIII atlas       59.5        40.5         0
IX atlas         82.6        17.4         0
X atlas          53.6        45           1.4
XI atlas         15          85           0
XII atlas        24.3        74.3         1.4
XIII atlas       24.1        70.4         5.6
XIV atlas        19.3        73.9         6.8
XV atlas         43.9        56.1         0
XVI atlas        28.6        71.4         0
XVII atlas       23.1        72.7         4.1
at all atlases   39.6        58.9         1.5

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 8. Information load in the analysed maps of scholastic
geographic atlases (%)

                 underload   optimal   overload

I atlas          36.4        63.6      0
II atlas         30          70        0
III atlas        14.8        85.2      0
IV atlas         14          86        0
V atlas          10.6        89.4      0
VI atlas         9.6         90.4      0
VII atlas        12.2        87.8      0
VIII atlas       42.9        57.1      0
IX atlas         39.1        60.9      0
X atlas          13.4        86.6      0
XI atlas         0           100       0
XII atlas        1.4         98.6      0
XIII atlas       13          87        0
XIV atlas        3.4         96.6      0
XV atlas         50.2        49.8      0
XVI atlas        5.7         94.3      0
XVII atlas       7.4         92.6      0
at all atlases   17.9        82.1      0

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 9 Optimality of cartographic basis in the analysed maps
of scholastic geographic atlases (%)

             not optimal   medium optimal   optimal

I atlas      36.4          27.3             36.4
II atlas     50            40               10
III atlas    67.2          19.7             13.1
IV atlas     80.4           3.9             15.7
V atlas      44.7          31.8             23.5
VI atlas     28.8          34.6             36.5
VII atlas    34.1          29.3             36.6
VIII atlas   52.4          14.3             33.3
IX atlas     87            10.9              2.2
X atlas      61.2          20.6             18.2
XI atlas     40            25               35
XII atlas    22.9          32.9             44.3
XIII atlas   29.6           9.3             61.1
XIV atlas    25            18.2             56.8
XV atlas     61            18.8             20.2
XVI atlas    34.3          15.7             50
XVII atlas   26.4          35.5             38
at all       46            22.8             31.2
atlases

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 10. Graphic originality in the analysed maps of
scholastic geographic atlases (%)

             absent   moderate   pronounced

I atlas      27.3     54.5       18.2
II atlas     80       15          5
III atlas    72.6     25.8        1.6
IV atlas     56       24         20
V atlas      61.2     18.8       20
VI atlas     38.5     25         36.5
VII atlas    73.2     19.5        7.3
VIII atlas   83.3     11.9        4.8
IX atlas     84.8     15.2        0
X atlas      73.7     13.9       12.4
XI atlas     30       40         30
XII atlas    41.4     41.4       17.1
XIII atlas   57.4     37          5.6
XIV atlas    53.4     34.1       12.5
XV atlas     38.1     40.8       21.1
XVI atlas    50       17.1       32.9
XVII atlas   62       23.1       14.9
at all       57.8     26.9       15.3
atlases

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 11. Standardisation in the analysed maps of scholastic
geographic atlases (%)

             not standardised   partly         standardised
                                standardised

I atlas       54.5              45.5            0
II atlas      45                55              0
III atlas     50.8              49.2            0
IV atlas      54                46              0
V atlas       69.4              30.6            0
VI atlas      52                48              0
VII atlas     63                37              0
VIII atlas    71                29              0
IX atlas     100                                0
X atlas       68.9              31.1            0
XI atlas      85                15              0
XII atlas     31.4              68.6            0
XIII atlas    77.8              22.2            0
XIV atlas     71.6              28.4            0
XV atlas      79.4              20.6            0
XVI atlas     64.3              35.7            0
XVII atlas    52.9              47.1            0
at all        64.2              35.8            0
atlases

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 12. Readability in the analysed maps of scholastic
geographic atlases (%)

             bad    encumbered   good

I atlas       0      27.3        72.7
II atlas      5      35          60
III atlas     1.6    70.5        27.9
IV atlas      0      72          28
V atlas       0      41.2        58.8
VI atlas      0      32.7        67.3
VII atlas     0      19.5        80.5
VIII atlas    0       0         100
IX atlas      0      60.9        39.1
X atlas       1.4    49.3        49.3
XI atlas      0      50          50
XII atlas     1.4    38.6        60
XIII atlas    3.7    35.2        61.1
XIV atlas     4.5    30.7        64.8
XV atlas     14.8    50.2        35
XVI atlas     4.3    32.9        62.9
XVII atlas    5.8    24.8        69.4
at all        2.5    39.4        58
atlases

Note: Table made from bar graph.


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Author:Zalaliene, Inga
Publication:Geodesy and Cartography
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EXLT
Date:Dec 1, 2013
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