Lectures: Significant Information
Video: Penn State University
How maps can be manipulated as well as used to determine where people are
located, certain types of people and ages as well as who people are.
New Theory: Mapping as a process of visualization –
Increasingly with the aid of computer assisted cartography and geographic
information systems, the mapmaker and the map user are the same person.
Reflecting this trend the cartographic communication model is now commonly
understood as a visualization model, wherein the user has a more active role in the
collection, analysis and representation of spatial data.
3 kinds of objects in the object based map software:
Two different models of representing features and phenomena on the screen:
- object based (vector)
- field based (raster) *most map images raster
Spatial visualization: mental manipulation of visual cues through the rotation,
twisting or inversion of an object. In geography, this ability may be applied to
visualize relationships between dynamic forces not fully visible on earth’s surface.
Spatial orientation: ability to imagine an object’s appearance from another
perspective. In geography, this experience can be equated with map reading, the
process of translating a position on a map to one’s location on the earth or vice
Spatial relation: which involves recognition, association, and correlation of spatial
patterns and distributions over an area.
Landmarks: prominent points of interest.
Pathways: paths, street ways etc.
Districts: downtown, dorms etc.
Nodes: meeting places, centers where pathways cross.
Edges: breaks on the map between districts.
- typically small scale (world maps)
- display theories and views of the earth in the universe
- reflect the interests of philosophers and thinkers
- typically large scale (local maps)
- represent smaller landscapes for the purpose of the navigation and
social regulation through land management and taxation
- reflect the interests of travellers, scientists and civil servants
Major periods in cartographic history: - prehistoric maps
- ancient maps
- medieval European maps (AD 400-1425)
- Islamic traditions (700-1300)
- Renaissance maps (1425-1600)
- Reformation of cartography (1600-1818)
- 20 century and on
List maps: annotations inside manuscripts. Lists of places and things within the
Zonal maps: a map by what they knew – created zones of cold and warm, a zonal
variation in temperature.
Detailed or complex maps: mostly symbolic maps done by people in the church with
color and little symbols.
Working map: showing something for a specific purpose. Ex. roman road map
showed no attempt to create world’s water bodies just the roadways.
Perspectives on Cartography
Cartography: the discipline dealing with the conception, production, dissemination
and study of maps in all forms.
Technology: very prominent as virtually everywhere and at every stage the
computer is employed in map construction and dissemination.
Science: the technology is backed and developed by science, the properties of
geographic information and the mapping of atmospheric, geological and economic
processes all require a deeper understanding of the underlying science.
Art: aesthetics, the art and craft of being able to design and produce a new map.
Culture: maps as cultural artifacts and expressions of dominant world views in
different places, different times and different social contexts; of interest to cultural
and social historians, art historians, cultural anthropologists and cultural
Cartographic communication: research understanding human eye-brain
mechanisms, human memory systems, human information processing, artificial
intelligence, perceptual psychology, and linguistics.
Political economy: cartography as an instrument of nation-state and corporate
control both historically and in contemporary settings.
Map: a symbolized image of geographic reality, representing selected features or
characteristics, resulting from the creative efforts of cartographers and designed for
use when spatial relationships are of special relevance.
Communication: mapping is a fundamental form of representing space and location,
and it occupies a central place in the experience and development of the majority of
people who have lived in large groups.
Transformation 1: the cartographer’s conception of reality; from something physical
to something conceptual; uses codes of cartographic convention and design – in the
cartographers mind. Transformation 2: perception and understanding of the map; decoding the map – in
the map user’s mind.
Intangible maps: representations of spatial relations in our head.
Tangible maps: representations of spatial relations on paper or computer screens.
Cognitive map: the product of cognitive mapping, whereby an individual acquires,
codes, stores, recalls and decodes information about the relative locations and
attributes of phenomena in his everyday spatial environment.
Sketch map: a drawing of an individual’s cognitive map. The quality of the sketch
map will vary with the individual’s ability to draw.
Egocentric: self-centered, things in relation to us.
Geocentric: orienting ourselves to the external environment.
Map elements: landmarks, pathways, nodes, districts, edges.
Georeferencing: placenames, north arrow, directional arrows or distances.
History of Cartography II
Renaissance Maps: 1425-1600
Reformation of Cartography: 1600-1818 – period of rapid scientific and
technological innovation and increasing knowledge of geographic information.
Mercator Projection: projection of globe onto rectangular sheet.
Cassini Family: 1625-1784 – development and application of an observation-based
scientific approach to cartography in France.
Purpose of Maps
Map types: general or reference, thematic, charts. The map maker’s intended scope
Map functions: navigation, measurement, visualization. The function of the
information extracted from the map. A map is an accessible and highly efficient
means of storing spatial data.
Map usage: reading, analysis, interpretation. The skills needed to effectively use the
Navigation: maps for navigation include road maps, bus route maps, tourist maps,
hydrographic charts and aeronautical charts. Some flexibility in routes:
identification of alternative routes, planning routes with several stops, searching for
and identification of landmarks, recovery from navigation errors without having to
retrace the route.
Measurement: field measurement is a costly and time consuming activity. Field
measurements relating to the geometry of the landscape can be avoided by using
suitable maps. Measurements such as area, height, distance, perimeter, slope, aspect etc. can easily be obtained from appropriate maps. They can also be used to monitor
change over time, however not all maps are suitable for all types of measurement.
Visualization: maps allow us to perceive relationships which we cannot observe
because of our limited range of view, given our vantage point at the surface.
Visualization also allows us to interact with geographic data, to change scale and
perspective, and to search for, identify and describe spatial patterns and
Map use: learned pr