Changing Cartograhies

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Changing Cartographies
Introduction According to Silver and Balmori (2003 48) “Cartography, a term derived from the word for chart (charte) or drawing, has in recent years undergone a radical transformation.” This was identified earlier as Anson (1988 ix) noted “Today the art and science of map making is caught in the throes of a technological revolution which shows no signs of slowing down.” However, advancements in mapping have been associated with scientific developments in mainly the computer and internet technologies. Prior to this, mapping had been quite primitive in a sense as Wikipedia (2012) states that cartograms were created by hand before Waldo Tobler produced one of the first cartograms aided by computer visualization. During
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Cartograms, according to Wikipedia (2012) are “maps in which some thematic mapping variable…is substituted for land area or distance. The geometry or space of the map is distorted in order to convey the information of this alternate variable.” Computers alleviate the difficulties of cartogram construction “Constructing a usable cartogram is challenging” (Peterson, 2004) but fortunately “computers are changing mapping in many ways” (Monmonier, 1982 16). This is echoed by Krygier and Wood (2005 14) who point out “changes in technology have always affected map making.”


Computers “can increase the value of the map as a decision-making tool” and “different goals produce different maps” (Krygier and Wood, 2005 1). They go on to say that “the computer is fast and precise, and has a useful role to play in the production of maps.” Computers and their software are the catalyst for map production. Maps are vital in development in the form of an important decisionmaking tool but without computers, cartograms could not have facilitated a rapid growth in cities after the Second World War. Gregory and Ell (2007 105) state that producing cartograms were a lengthy task for a cartographer and many subjective judgements (in relation to distances, positions and areas of features) had to be made. They go on to say that “The advent of computer mapping through GIS has led to the reawakening of interest in

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