Information Age, All Share A Common Underlying Purpose

859 Words Sep 15th, 2016 4 Pages
While there are a great variety of maps available in the information age, all share a common underlying purpose. The fourth edition of Elements of Cartography concisely defines a map’s objective as “to add to the geological understanding of the viewer; it is a carefully designed instrument for recording, calculating, displaying, analyzing and, in general, understanding the interrelation of things in their spatial relationship” (Robinson et al. 1978). This is a truly holistic definition of a map, addressing not only geographical features but quite literally anything that can be displayed spatially on Earth. An excellent example that fits this definition is the cliché map of Canada distributed to the class. This map would not fit a more archaic definition, like G. R. Crone’s assentation that “the purpose of a map is to graphically express the relations of points and features on the Earth’s surface to each other, determined by distance and direction” (1953). Yet, the clichés do form a map. Indeed, a representation of things in their spatial relationship to add to the geological understanding of the viewer is truly what a map is. These representations are invaluable in a number of different ways. The second edition of Map Use describes seven key roles of a map: to “record and store information, serve as computational aids, serve as mobility aids, summarize complex representations and voluminous data, help us explore data, help us visualize what would be otherwise obscure, and…
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