Yellowfields provides a professional and ethical cartographic service, paying clear attention to the way our services are provided, yet always looking to improve our offer. These FAQs attempt to lay the ground and explain how we work. Feel free to get in touch to discuss anything in more detail, or gain a quotation for work.

Who is Yellowfields?

Yellowfields is the trading name of the independent cartographic design practice of Jason Clark MA FBCartS FRGS. It works independently, as a sub-consultant and/or collaboratively with clients and other organisations charged with the delivery of mapping products. Jason has a network of other professionals who he collaborates with on projects as required. The studio is based in south Devon, but works throughout the UK and further afield.

What type of maps do you create?

Simply, any kind of ‘map’. You decide. Maps can take any form, but share one common feature—representing spatially referenced data, whether topographic or abstract. The medium may be digital (screen-based), printed or part of a physical (on-street) product.

Yellowfields—mapping environments, experiences and information.”

How do I create a brief for a map product?

Create as detailed a brief as you can, stating your specific objective(s) for the map/mapping. By all means, use Yellowfields to help establish that brief and help clarify your thinking if you need to. You can read this simple checklist to help you create a brief for a mapping project.

What is the process for creating a map?

Cartography is a creative as well as technical (scientific) process. It’s quite similar to the processes used in many design disciplines, such as graphic design and architecture. At it’s simplest the process can be described as:

Define › Design › Refine › Deliver …

To develop this further, consider this methodology to fulfilling a ‘typical’ mapping brief. The intention is to provoke thinking of relevant topics to the project in hand, though not all will be relevant.

  1. Project Definition

    – Confirm business and strategic requirements
    – Define the team, stakeholders and audience
    – Constraints and opportunities
    – Schedule of work(s).

  2. Conceptualisation

    – Client and user needs
    – Strategic orientation
    – Vision, values, spirit, personality and tone of voice
    – Themes, narratives and nomenclature.

  3. Research and analysis

    – Historical, functional, operational and environmental uses
    – Map typologies
    – Best practice and benchmarking
    – Movement patterns and temporalities
    – Human factors, accessibility and experience
    – Cognitive and perceptual.

  4. Design synthesis / product development

    – Information planning and themes
    – Scales and resolution
    – Concept designs
    – Graphic and typographic language
    – Developed design (first full draft)
    – Testing, feedback and review
    – Design refinement.

  5. Deliverables

    – Final artwork (print/digital)
    – Project documentation (process record/guidelines for implementation).

  6. Opportunities and future development

    – Evaluating ‘in use’ performance
    – Re-purposing for additional (experiential) applications
    – Consider context-based immersive experiences.

The basic tenets of cartographic communication are:

“Exploration › Analysis › Synthesis › Presentation”

This above serves as a useful framework for many approaches, though only covering the process(es) of map design and production. Please also consider aspects of copyright and licensing that may also be relevant to the project. Are you going to be reproducing the map in significant numbers over a given time period? Does it have a single one-off application? Basically, how are you going to use the map?

Cartography is a rich and ancient practice, with numerous communication and functional models. You can explore the subject of cartography a little more and there are also articles on Map Communication and Elements of a Map that may also be of interest.

How much does it cost to create a map?

Every project is different. If you are able to create a brief, using the information above, a detailed no-obligation quotation can be provided. This will also include the sourcing of data and any other third party cost. All projects require a payment of 50% (pro-forma invoice) of the quoted price prior to commencement, with the remainder invoiced upon completion on agreed terms. On long projects, invoices are raised monthly. Costs are not subject to VAT. More detail around invoicing and payments is to be found in our T&Cs, available upon request.

How does copyright work?

This is where many projects can fall foul of the law. In creating a map, awareness of copyright on source material is fundamental; ignorance is no defence under law. Unfortunately, some ‘practitioners’ will ‘trace’ Google Maps or other online source; this is infringement of their copyright, period. All content, whether online or in print, is automatically under copyright and cannot be copied. The internet is not a free resource. Due diligence requires the clarification and the obtaining of appropriate permissions to use any source material, as well to provide an appropriate acknowledgement if necessary.

There are good open-sources for data which can be used under acknowledgement and/or agreeing to make your derived product available under the same licence. You may well have access (as an organisation) to your own sources as part of an agreement with the Ordnance Survey or other organisation(s). With mapping it is quite simple, unless you have carried out your own detailed ground survey you can only have created (derived) a base map from an existing source, and that must be acknowledged and/or permission obtained. Making 10%, 20% or other ‘mathematical’ change is irrelevant in copyright law; it’s a myth. Moreover, large mapping organisations employ trapdoors and other graphic tools to catch out those who shamelessly copy their work.

In respect to the creation of the map, copyright, by default under all international laws, falls with the author (cartographer/designer), not with the client or commissioner of the work. As a ‘commissioner’, unless you discuss and agree the copyright position with the cartographer/designer beforehand and is agreed in writing (as part of the contract), you do not gain copyright ownership, only the rights to use the work. You need to agree the substance of those rights beforehand, and a number of options can exist. There are very good reasons why a cartographer/designer may want to keep the copyright and assign limited rights to a piece of works, or sign them over completely.

If you were reproducing and selling the map, then a cartographer/designer may reasonably expect a royalty, as is consistent with related fields of practice. However, if the work is purely for a client’s marketing or other corporate activity, there is probably no sense the cartographer/designer hanging on to the copyright at all. Another reason for maintaining copyright is to ensure a demonstrably unique style or design can be reused by the cartographer/designer at a later date and on other projects otherwise he/she may find they infringe copyright themselves on a style they designed and developed.

Regardless of the final agreed arrangement, copyright ownership sits with the cartographer/designer by default. It is common practice throughout the art and design industries, that the cartographer/designer, under ‘fair use’ rights (notwithstanding the full extent of this definition), may use the work for their own marketing and publicity—a very reasonable and understandable requirement. Copyright, design rights, and collectively, intellectual property (IP) is not a significant burden, but must be discussed early on to establish and agree the position.

What are your Terms and Conditions (T&Cs)?

Yellowfields has it’s own ‘Terms & Conditions’ (T&Cs) under which it operates. These reflect the norms within the industry and are available upon request. However, via negotiation, these can be subservient to your own T&Cs should they prove appropriate for the contract ahead. This must be discussed ahead of appointment. Yellowfields also has a ‘Professional Practice’ note that outlines how we work, what level of service you can expect as well as our ethical approach. This is available upon request. Jason is a Fellow of the British Cartographic Society (FBCartS) and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society (FRGS).

What’s your privacy policy?

Since the adoption of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018, Yellowfields has taken steps to outline our response to this and make clear your position in regard to your dealings with Yellowfields. The response can be found as a link in the footer of this website or here.

Rail/Bus Connectivity Map

Map showing rail/bus connectivity in the West of England (extracted as spread from distributed document)

Greengauge 21 champion high-speed rail on a day-to-day basis, but they also look to reveal other opportunities to improve public transport provision. [ … ]

Beyond HS2 Graphics

Chord diagram to demonstrate rail connectivity between UK cities

Commissioned by Greengauge 21, high-speed rail ‘champions’, Yellowfields created a mix of maps and infographics for a 200-page technical report which offers a comprehensive view of what Britain’s railway should look like by the middle of the century. [ … ]

Game Reserve Map

Extract from a map created for a South African game reserve

A land owner in South Africa commissioned Yellowfields to design and produce a map that depicted their 27,000 ha game reserve. [ … ]

Campus Plan

Example ‘heads-up’ map panel used on one of the wayfinding totems on the Goldsmiths University campus

Goldsmiths, University of London, commissioned Yellowfields to create a new campus map and sign artwork [ … ]

Square Up Wall Map

Extract from the wall map created for Square Up to use in their London HQ reception area

Square Up, a global financial services company, contacted Yellowfields to create a map-based artwork to cover a wall in their London HQ reception area. [ … ]

Bay Area Bike Share Maps

First concept extract of on-street mapping created for the Bay Area Bike Share Scheme, San Francisco, directed by City ID

Leading wayfinding practitioners, City ID, asked Jason to help create the base cartography for the Bay Area Bike Share project in San Francisco, USA. [ … ]

Ham & Petersham Map

Map developed for a book, adhering to typographic and graphic styles

Nick Avery Design commissioned Yellowfields to produce a supporting map for a book designed for self-publishing author, Vanessa Fison. [ … ]

Town Planning Graphics

Example document spread from a planning site promotion document

Starting with the first ever project, Yellowfields has provided supporting services to chartered town and country planning organisations. This has included planning application plans, Supporting Planning Statements (SPS) and Design and Access Statement documents (DAS). [ … ]

Riverside Wayfinding Map

Extract of mapping, including 3D landmarks, developed for Derby City Council for on-street wayfinding

Engaged by Derby City Council (DCC), Yellowfields has designed and produced the mapping for four new wayfinding signs. [ … ]

Walks of Churchill Map

Map developed for a book, adhering to typographic and graphic styles

Yellowfields was commissioned by Nick Avery Design to design and produce two maps to be used in a walking tour guide on Winston Churchill. [ … ]

Zombies, Run! Map

Imaginary geography created for a board game, ’Zombies, Run!’

A rather unusual request arrived from Six to Start, an independent games developer and entertainment company based in London. [ … ]

Mapping Samlesbury Hall

Extract of the visitor map created for Samlesbury Hall Trust

Yellowfields was engaged by Samlesbury Hall Trust, who maintain and run the historic house and grounds in Lancashire of the same name, to re-design and produce a new visitor map and accompanying floorplans. [ … ]

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