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Maps: The Geographer's Favourite Tool (4th lecture)

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McMaster University
Michael Mercier

thGeographyLectureSeptember 26 2011Maps The Geographers Favorite ToolMaps are twodimensional graphical visual representations of the world and they depict spatial relationshipsWe use them to interpret and reveal spatial relationships patterns etcMaps communicate informationInformation that has spatial meaning Ie locations of cities towns boundaries of countries and your property lineMaps analysis of spatial informationA geographers job is to analyze spatial informationMaps socially constructedThey reveal the information that the map maker cartographer has chosen to reveal to youYou can tell any kind of story you want through a map just like statisticsYou must read maps with a critical eyeWhat is the actual message of this mapWhat message is the cartographer trying to make you believeDo you agree or disagree with themViewing the World Through Maps PerspectivesMaps help us to look at the world from different perspectivesExample 1 Atlantic centered mapsone of the most common versions of a world mapThe Atlantic Ocean is centered making North America look very big and importantExample 2 Pacific centered mapsthe Pacific Ocean is centered making North America look more isolated and remotethGeographyLectureSeptember 26 2011Depending on which ocean is in the middle it changes what you think is important and the layout of thingsExample 3 AntipocentricAn upside down mapIt is upside down only in the sense that we typically put North at the top of a map This is arbitrary as there is no real reason why we put North at the top The earth doesnt have a top and a bottom it just floats in spaceWe often put North at the top of a map because it is a social convention Antipocentric maps are often used in AustraliaMaking World Maps The Challenge of ProjectionsHow do you portray a 3 dimensional sphere in only 2 dimensions
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