Thanks to open source tools and free data, anyone can make great maps.

Great cartographers are rare; here are our favorites.

Three tips for better maps today.

❶ Tell one story.


When your map needs to get a message across, keep it simple: you only get a few seconds of your readers’ attention. This map for Bloomberg Businessweek gives a quick read on ice sheet melting in Greenland.

❷ Show the terrain.


We live on bumpy territories, not flat maps. Include the hills and valleys to connect your audience to the map area, as we did for this HollyFrontier project that shows land cover and mountains.

❸ Use fewer colors.


Maps are complex graphics, so keep yours easy to read. For this Bloomberg Philanthropies annual report map, we used one color on muted terrain to make the information pop.

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