Maps with Barton²

This article is a boring yet simultaneously interesting read on the rhetoric behind map design and reading. Boring in the sense it seems to go unnecessarily deep on a rather dull subject in maps, and interesting for the same reason. The core of the article seems to focus on two rules or conventions within map design in what the article calls the “Rules of Inclusion” and the “Rules of Exclusion and Repression.” The rules of inclusion were initially summed up in the article as “whether something is mapped, what aspects of a thing are mapped, and what representational strategies and devices are used to map those objects.” With a map there’s a whole list of things you can map like landmarks, lakes, rivers, demographics, state capitals, and many more. This takes into consideration what the map is used for, by whom, and in the article who was even allowed to look at the map. The rules of exclusion and repression were largely the same idea, but opposite. The big rhetorical narrative I got from the article is the rhetorical conventions of “what do I map and why” as well as “what do I not map and why.”

Admittedly I saw another blog post for my image, but I wanted to expand this idea.



I wanted to compare two different maps of the same region to attempt to exemplify the rules discussed in the article. These two maps serve different purposes and that idea is obvious by the different styles as well as what it includes and excludes. The top map I used a countless number of times my first year here at Purdue because it does it’s job well which I’ll assume to be as giving a clear layout of campus. You could technically zoom in further on the lower Google map, which would then show you building names but it doesn’t follow the rule of inclusion presented in the top. A lot of the times on my class schedule it would merely say XXX417 where XXX was the building code, like EE for Electrical Engineering Building. If your class was in RAIL for example, I’m unable to find this on Google Maps without typing the exact name “American Railway Building” information that is not readily available, but the location is easily found on the top map.  Whereas the bottom map seems to be more tailored for roadway navigation, only including major landmarks around Purdue, as well as including landmarks such as ponds. You could perhaps use the top map as a sort of translator for the bottom map, should you have to use GPS to find the building for your class. A lot of the times it was hard to Google the name of a building just based off the short code given in my class schedule.

While this article was over maps, I feel the general idea of rules of inclusion and exclusion can also apply to our infographics, I feel that was probably why this was included as a reading. How could we apply these rules or re-engineer these ideas to our infographics with that in mind?

Barton and Barton on Maps

The Bartons provide a lengthy detailed analysis of taking a new look at maps and ways and reasons they are produced and interpreted. Early on in the reading Barton provides an interesting quote from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I found this reference especially helpful in understanding the quintessential ideology of maps that Barton and Barton are conveying in this reading. Huck is convinced that because he say Illinois as green and Indiana as pink on the map, then they must be those colors in real life as well. Barton and Barton go on to explain how Huck was reading the map as purely factual rather than as a semiological system. On a similar note, the reading continues to a section called “Denaturalizing the Natural.” This is when the creators of the map change the actual reality of the map, sometimes only slightly, to more ideally fit how Humans need to perceive it. This can also be seen also in the Mercator projection of the global map. It is not always easy to clearly and fully display the surface of a sphere on a flat two denominational plane. This and many other interesting similar ideas are looked at with this video “What Does the Earth Look Like?” from Vsauce.

In what other ways do we denaturalize the natural form of our world with the maps we create?

Barton and Barton

Barton and Barton talk about the ideology and rhetoric behind map. This analysis is pretty new to me since I have never thought about the reasoning behind a map. The first idea argued in the article is the map as quintessentially ideological. The color used in map is for perception and recognition. For instance, Indiana is colored pink, but we all know that Indiana is not pink. The second idea of Barton and Barton is denaturalization of natural. When Barton and Barton are talking about denaturalization, they include the rule of inclusion and exclusion in their analysis, to make their argument more reasoning. Rule of inclusion determines when a thing is mapped, what aspects of the thing is mapped, and what representational strategies and devices are used to map those aspects. The first thing to be included in a map is phenomenon and aspects of phenomenon. Then, the second is to determine what kind of strategy or device to use to symbolize the particular phenomenon. And the last is to determine ordering. The practice of rule of inclusion needs accompany of rule of exclusion. In rule of exclusion, Barton and Barton talk about synchronic perspective and diachronic perspective.

The picture I used here is a statistical map to show the mean travel time to work among different states. From the map, we can easily understand what the map is talking about and easily see the statistical results. In the map, marker shows us that red means longest travel time to work, and dark green means shortest travel time to work. With those markers, we can easily derive that New York is one of the states that has longest travel time to work, and North Dakota is one the states has shortest mean travel time to work.


My question: What situation will cause the theory of Barton and Barton does not work for making map? Or, it is possible for the theory of Barton and Barton working negatively towards making map?

Barton and Barton Post

Barton and Barton write about the use of maps.  It is kind of interesting because who knew that maps were so philosophically deep, but on the other hand it is kind of boring because who could write so much useless information on maps.  Barton and Barton consider two major rules on how maps are created.  The first is the Rule of Inclusion.  It is basically considering who will be using the map and who won’t, or in the case of the Dutch cartographers, who is not allowed to use the map.  Basically, the rule of inclusion is that maps are made for the dominant.  Of course, the opposite is the Rule of Exclusion and Repression.  This rule is based on how maps are not given to groups of people, what land is not drawn on a map, and what geological things are not drawn on the map, like the example of the nuclear waste dumps being kept from the USA geological survey maps.

Hurricane Frequency Map

This map of the United States actually uses the rule of exclusion to show good information.  It keeps state border lines, but it removes rivers, landmarks, and anything outside of county lines to show which counties are most affected by hurricane landings.  Removing any unnecessary information helps people see better where exactly hurricanes do the most damage.  The rule of exclusion seems to be a negative rule because it seems to be applied to keeping people from using maps, but this example does not seem bad.

Question:  What do you all think of Barton and Barton’s belief that the rule of exclusion is inherently a bad rule?  The conclusion of the piece clearly thinks that considering what they say about the unity of inclusion rather than exclusion, but is the rule of exclusion inherently bad, even when considering the above example?

Double Barton Roadmap

Well Barton and Barton that surely was a read. One thing I want to make note for from this article is they cite themselves as a source, which I have personally never seen before and wonder if this a viable technique. Anyhow, in their article Barton and Barton investigate the rhetoric and ideology behind the use and creation of maps. Maps are supposedly used by a ruling group to obtain dominance among the lesser people in the society. They do this by following the Rules of Inclusion and Exclusion. These are basically what their names suggest. Inclusion refers to what is included in a map and why while exclusion explores the opposite. Inclusion involves what “phenomena” are included on the map and also the strategies used to represent them. It determines placement on the map as well as how the map will be ordered. Exclusion refers to things that are left out or repressed when creating a map. There are two types of exclusion, explicit and implicit. Barton and Barton then completely lose me when they start explaining “Other” and “otherness.” They also go on to later contradict themselves as saying maps are a sort of collage only to later say that this does not do maps justice as to what they are.

I was not particularly sure what to use as an example seeing as Barton and Barton confused me as the article continued on. As a result, pictured here is a map of Purdue’s campus (north of State Street). As we can see this exemplifies the understanding that a map is a collage by combining words, images, and a legend explaining the various elements on the map. One may infer that the rules of inclusion and exclusion are also present as buildings, fields, and roads are included while pinpointing, say, artwork is left off of the map.

Question: What are key elements that might be excluded from a map?

2xBarton and Maps

Barton and Barton use their article to provide a critical analysis of using maps in visual rhetoric. They describe a map as quintessentially ideological when used as a visual aid. For instance, on a picture of a map of the U.S.A., it may be color coded to set apart different state regions, but we are to understand that those sections of states are not literally one color. The Bartons express that maps are always linked with authority and power to de-naturalize the world and set social rules. They talk about the rules of inclusion and exclusion which determine what is and isn’t included when creating a map. Rules of inclusion would include the purpose of creating the map, which is most likely to claim or legitimate territory (like in war). Another inclusion is what exactly is to be identified: terrain, roads, climate. The last inclusion I will mention is what symbolism and tools are used to create the map – something like what icons or how things are spaced.


My example uses a map of the world (albeit, an inclusion based map using man-made territory lines, flat layout, naming tendencies, etc.). This map shows the popularity of photo spots in the world, with yellow being the most popular and the faded grey being the least popular. Now this is not what the earth looks like, but we’ve manipulated the planet in such a way that this visual can easily communicate a message about photography habits in the world.

How could we apply the Barton’s concepts of inclusion and exclusion to something like typography? What do we include and what do we try to minimize and take away from when using typography?

Dombroski: Celebrex Analysis

In 2005 a very questionable ad from Pfizer Pharmaceuticals for their pill, Celebrex. The ad itself is a very diluted and watered down ad. Generally it’s not a bad thing, but the way this ad did it was a very distasteful route. They hid lots of the warnings and “fine print” in a text based outline illustration. It made the ad look fun and creative, but when you read the words and hear what they’re saying it is actually pretty disgusting that they’re masking the risks in the way that they are. Dombroski essentially analyzed this ad and made it abundantly clear how terrible the ad is, on both an ethos and pathos level.

Things I disliked about the ad. The color palette was blue and white. This was done without a doubt to encourage the consumption of the drug. The warnings and side effects hide pleasantly in a sea of relaxing blue. A more appropriate color would be red to denote dangers or issues. The background music only helps the blue and happy animations in the background. The illustrations being made of words camouflages the meaning of not only the words, but because you’re so focused on the moving text you don’t get to process the audible words either.

The following link goes to a video of a fake drug ad, which helps see all the truly terrible ways drug companies hide side effects of their drugs to help push them onto people.

Spoof Drug Ad

Objectively, do you think Pharmaceutical Companies achieve their goal of making an ad that sells their product? Regardless of ethos?