I received the following notes and images on the art & science in cartography debate from Daniel Reynolds.
1) I use the word ‘most’ to make it clear that there are exceptions. For example, some intro students haven’t a clue as to how to make a map correctly (using cartographic theory) while others can make very beautiful and scientific maps. Ultimately, I think that cartography as a method of communication has the potential to be ‘art’ whether it is a web map or not.
2) I think that separating art and science (as I have done in the image above) doesn’t entirely capture what I feel. Rather, I believe that there are some ‘scientific’ decisions that are made that are also artistic. For example, the use of color can be scientific (e.g. Cynthia Brewer) or artistic (e.g. selecting colors to invoke a particular feeling).
3) The goal of a professional cartographer, in my opinion, is to balance the influence of art and science. In other words, we should attempt to apply cartographic principals and artistic influence to the construction and display of the map so that the message is conveyed effectively. The map should not be so ‘scientific’ as to make it difficult for the target audience to understand. Too little ‘science’, however, and Likewise, there should be enough ‘art’ to make the map aesthetically pleasing so that the user becomes engaged. Too much art and you end up making it difficult to extract information. See (balance) image below for an alternative to the Venn diagrams.