Week 2: Alt Text for Maps

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Week 2: Alt Text for Maps

Post by
jennlortie
»
Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:23 am
Thank you for your feedback!

Questions about alt text for maps:

Question 1. What advice do you have for creating alt text for maps?
Question 2. Is it best to describe every possible detail or aim for less detail and more clarity?
Question 3. Map A uses different types of lines (dotted, solid, etc.) to depict the four different voyages. Is it best to describe these types of lines or to leave them out as done below?
Question 4. If a map depicts a more “well-known” area of land such as the United States as depicted in Map B, is okay to assume prior knowledge, or would you suggest against this?
Question 5. What do you think of the map descriptions provided below?
Question 6. Both these maps appear at the beginning of books to provide a reference document for the reader. Do you suggest flagging them/creating individual Headings for them, with this in mind?
Question 7. Do you have any other feedback or suggestions?

Map A alt text: A map depicting the area between Siberia and Big Land (Alaska): The Bering Strait and the Bering Sea. The map shows major voyages through these ocean waters. The Bering and Chrikov voyage (1728) began in Cape Kronotski, off the east coast of the Kamchatka peninsula, voyaging north alongside the east coast of mainland Siberia, past the Chukchi peninsula up through the Bering Strait. After reaching the Icy Sea (Arctic Ocean), voyagers then circled back south through the Bering Strait, traveling between Cape Chukchi and St. Laurwence Island, eventually ending their voyage where it began in Cape Kronotski. The St. Peter-Bering's route (1741) began in Petropavlovsk, eastern Kamchatka, and traveled east and south of the Aleutians. Voyagers then travelled north to Kayak Island in Big Land (Alaska) before circling back south west along the Alaska Peninsula, visiting Kodiak Island, Chrikov Island, Semidi Island, Shumagin Island and the Aleutians respectively before traveling north through waters near Semichi Island, ending the voyage on Bering Island. The Return of Bering's companions (1742) route depicts a relatively short trip from Bering Island back to Petropavlovsk. The final route that is shown on the map, the St.Paul - Chirikov's route (1741) travels south east under the Aleutian Islands from Petropavlovsk and visits the Alexander Archipelago at the eastern side of the Gulf of Alaska. Voyagers then circled back northeast up the Gulf of Alaska, following a similar return voyage as the St. Peter-Bering's route, except more direct (not visiting as many islands). Finally, the voyagers pass by the Atka, Adak, and Agattu Aleutian Islands before ending their voyage back in Petropavlovsk. Other points of note on the map include Bolsheretsk on the west side of the Kamchatka peninsula and Cape Lopatka at the southern point.

Map B alt text (fictional map): Two maps. The top map depicts The United States, circa 2075. The map shows the South Carolina Quarantine Zone (in modern day Florida) directly to the east of the larger Free Southern State (where Atlanta is). West of this is the Battles of East Texas area. The Mexican Protectorate lines the south western area of the map (including modern day California). The border between Canada and the U.S. remains pretty much the same as modern day. The bottom map depicts a closer view of the Free Southern State, circa 2075, taking up the south east corner of modern day U.S. The map depicts the Chestnut Family Home directly to the east coast of the state. Within the state, the capital is Atlanta in the central northeast, Camp Patience lines the border in the north west of the state. The Halfway Branch Forward Operating Base lines the northeast border. Slightly southwest of Atlanta is the Albert Gaines' Cabin; directly southwest is Lake Sinclair. East of this is August Docks, and north of this is Charity House 027. In the northeast, the South Carolina Quarantine Zone lies, and on an island to the south of the state is the Sugarloaf Detention Facility.
jennlortie
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Re: Week 2: Alt Text for Maps

Post by
rmarion
»
Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:49 pm
I think with maps there are some assumptions that could be made for everyone who has some experience dealing with them. For example, I think it would be safe to assume that most people know that maps are oriented with North usually at the top and South usually at the bottom. However, if the reader of the description is not from the geographical area where the map is representing, it may be necessary to tell people more specifics on the actual location of a particular state or city based on the more general geographical directional information they should already know. For example, in your example you indicate a location is at the same location as the current day Florida. Instead, you may say the location is at the South East corner of the map where Florida is currently located. This would cover individuals who may not have seen the map of an area before. Maps are never easy to describe, but this is one of those situations that if a location of something is important to the text of the book, it would require longer descriptions.


If the map is at the beginning of the book and to make it easier to go back if a person needs to be refreshed on what is contained in the map, I would make a heading for it as well. Some people may bookmark the map but I think this might only happen if they are reading the text for educational or research purposes.
rmarion
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Re: Week 2: Alt Text for Maps

Post by
Daniella.LP
»
Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:47 pm
Question 1. What advice do you have for creating alt text for maps?

Alt text for maps should reflect what is shown in the map, if it is relevant information for that text. Too much detail may be confusing. If some information is included in the text, it would be better to not repeat it.

Question 2. Is it best to describe every possible detail or aim for less detail and more clarity?

Aim for more clarity, even if it means less detail. Unless it is a book about maps that may be used for research. The alt text for map A is very clear, and it does include a lot of details, and I assume they are relevant for the book.

Question 3. Map A uses different types of lines (dotted, solid, etc.) to depict the four different voyages. Is it best to describe these types of lines or to leave them out as done below?

Leave the types of lines used in the map out. The description provided is great; this type of additional details would not enhance the description.

Question 4. If a map depicts a more “well-known” area of land such as the United States as depicted in Map B, is okay to assume prior knowledge, or would you suggest against this?

I like the description as is. I'd be cautious about assuming previous knowledge; in the end, it will depend on the audience for the particular book, as well as the topic. If this is a book about U.S. history/geography, there is no need to specify where the U.S. is.

Question 5. What do you think of the map descriptions provided below?

I find them very informative; they strike the right balance between providing the necessary information, and avoiding unnecessary details (like the type of lines, or colours, or anything else) showing different areas/regions/paths. The descriptions are full of details, but they are not overwelming.

Question 6. Both these maps appear at the beginning of books to provide a reference document for the reader. Do you suggest flagging them/creating individual Headings for them, with this in mind?

It is a great idea to create sections separated by sections for these maps, so that the reader can find them easily and refer to them as needed.

Question 7. Do you have any other feedback or suggestions?

Keep the content of the book and the reader in mind when describing the maps. You could assume previous knowledge of something if it has been described before in the book.
Daniella.LP
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Re: Week 2: Alt Text for Maps

Post by
ka.li
»
Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:56 pm
1. What advice do you have for creating alt text for maps?
Normally, I would recommend not doing too much interpreting and focusing on describing exactly what's shown but maps have a lot of info and if you were to describe everything that's shown, then the description would be unnecessarily lengthy. So in this case, more interpretation is good because it cuts down on visual details that might not add anything to the reader's understanding of the map.

2. Is it best to describe every possible detail or aim for less detail and more clarity?
Aim for precise descriptions that tell the reader what the illustrator/author wants the reader to take away from the map so less detail more clarity.

3. Map A uses different types of lines (dotted, solid, etc.) to depict the four different voyages. Is it best to describe these types of lines or to leave them out as done below?
It depends on the type of book. It's fine to leave these out for fictional novels but it would be helpful to know this type of information in a textbook because professors might point out details like this and if the student has a tactile diagram where the different types of lines are shown, descriptions that include this would make interpreting the tactile diagram easier.

4. If a map depicts a more “well-known” area of land such as the United States as depicted in Map B, is okay to assume prior knowledge, or would you suggest against this?
As others have said if the book talks about the location in the text, then it may not be necessary to repeat this. Generally, I would suggest against this.

5. What do you think of the map descriptions provided below?
I think both map descriptions are generally good because they don't overwhelm the reader with details. My suggestion is to improve wording of how locations are depicted, specifically how each place spacially relates to each other. Experiment with explaining routes by using the shape of print letters/numbers. For example, you could say the overall shape of a route is L-shaped or Z-shaped and then go into explaining each place while referring to each leg of the shape.

6. Both these maps appear at the beginning of books to provide a reference document for the reader. Do you suggest flagging them/creating individual Headings for them, with this in mind?
Yes. Adding a heading would allow the reader to easily go back to the map.
ka.li
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