For 3D Contour, Topographic, and Terrain model downloads:
Design Principles for Cartography - ESRI ArcGIS Blog - Mapping
Cartographer's Preferred Typefaces - Somethingaboutmaps
Labeling and Test Hierarchy in Cartography - axismaps: Cartography Guide - A short, friendly guide to basic principles of map design
Symbology: Lesson 2.4 - QGIS
Maps communicate using various visual devices. Along with balance, composition, and the effective use of white space, the following elements are often used to enhance map communication.
Borders or neat lines: A fine line often encloses a map, unless the map content itself provides a strong contrast with the page. Other lines may be necessary in the figure to emphasize hierarchy and focus.
Title: Include either on the map or in a figure caption. A subtitle is sometimes useful. **The word “Map” in the map title is unnecessary (it is obvious that it is a map).
North arrow: A north arrow is useful on maps that are oriented in some direction other than north or for very large scale maps.
Graticule: The graticule is a representation of meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude on a map. The graticule is useful for orientation and for visualizing the projection used on the map.
Scale: A scale bar or verbal/numeric scale may be included on maps. Map scale varies throughout a map depending on the projection used, particularly on small-scale maps. A variable scale bar may be used on maps that have large scale variations, but omitting a graphic scale bar altogether may also be appropriate.
Inset maps: Inset maps are useful for providing a broader context to the information on the main map. They can be at a smaller or larger scale than the main map.
Type: Type refers to the labels put on a map. Typography is the process of selecting and stylizing labels. Changes in type family, typestyle, type size, lettering and word spacing, color, and orientation are used to create visual contrast between more important and less important typographical map content.
Legend: A legend explaining the map symbols should be included. The legend should be easy to understand, and self-explanatory. The following practices generally are applicable to legends for thematic data:
**The word “Legend” as a legend heading is unnecessary (the legend is obvious).
**Do not neglect to remove ArcGIS default legend headings (e.g., “mort_rate_cvh_09”). Use something that is intuitive to all map readers.
**Using “Percent” in the map title and “Percentage” as a legend heading is not recommended. Instead, titles should use “Percentage” and legend headings should use “Percent.”
Other items: Data sources, dates, information about data processing, and, if required, map status (draft, final, etc.), should be indicated either in the legend or elsewhere. To achieve a unified look and instant recognition, CDC has developed a brand identity that requires the use of specific logos and other graphic elements. For more information, see Brand Identity Standards.