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Cartography: Map cataloguing, Map directions, Map projection, Relief on maps, Map scales, Mapping the terrain, Map types, Maps, Choice of Map projection

Here under Cartography, you will find reference information about cartography, the science and art of designing, constructing and producing maps.


Cartography is considered to be the science and art of designing, constructing and producing maps. Therefore Cartography, an art of mapping the features of the earth surface, scientifically and with accuracy, is the basic need of a geographer. It is not only to present the surface features of the earth, but it also reflects the inter-relationship between man and his environment. Spatial patterns and relationships, as the need be, can be presented in many ways. There are many abstract methods for representing them. These can be represented by mathematical and statistical studies, but the clear understanding of the same becomes possible only when it is presented in a pictorial form. Here starts the role of cartography. Cartography and cartographic representation is not only a powerful source of information, but also a method of representation of the facts as they are in a concrete and visible manner. For the geographical data which is explicitly known as the topographic, mapping-one who is interested in geography will have to enter in the field of surveying and cartography. Survey of an area is a must before being represented cartographically for the exactness and accuracy and also for a pictorial view of the place or area involved. The presentation of objects through mapping is to be methodical. Here lies the importance of methodology. Many such techniques have been developed which, when in use, bring the desired results.

Cartography, with the development of science and technology has also been affected. It is no more a static scientific art, but ever dynamic and receptive to new techniques for the furtherance of knowledge. No art can ever remain static, if it has to keep pace with the ever changing world. It has to revolutionize itself. It is the best method of mapping and displaying spatial variations and relationships with the growing study of spatial distribution. We all know that the map is a very significant tool for research and knowledge and at the same time it is a potential source and form of graphic communication as well and this scientific representation of facts through mapping is the main object of cartography.

If you are a real fan of online cartography, geolocation tools, live mapping and satellite imagery there is a pretty big number of free solutions available online. You may build you own preference by comparing different services by their interface comfort, accuracy level, rendering speed and specific features.

Cartography was more concerned with the measurement and representation of the shape, size and other broad details of the earth's surface in the past. Today, minute details of the earth's surface are represented, as cartography functions as a graphic science. There are four distinctive stages in its development as the science of map representation. The ancient period (up to 400 A.D.), medieval period (400-1500 A.D.), early modern period (1500-1900 A.D.) and recent period (1900 A.D. to date), have marked the developments that incorporated the advancement in other fields. The recent period marks the following characteristics:

1) the conducting of national surveys,

2) mass production and use of a variety of maps

3) ever increasing influence of science and technology and

4) international cooperation.

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