The_World_of_Maps_Map_Reading_and_Interpretation_f..._----_(Chapter_1._Introduction_The_Importance_o

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3 C H A P T E R 1 Introduction: The Importance of Map Reading There are often many truths in a place or an area right before our eyes, and yet we’re not aware of those truths (or features, or facts) until a depiction or a symbol or even a diagram shows them to us. —Mapping (pp. x–xi) We see maps every day, often without really looking at them. A weather map is shown on a morning TV news show, or a map pinpoints the location of a natural disas- ter, rush hour traffic is displayed with colors relating speed and symbols indicating “traffic incidents.” The morning paper, in addition to a weather map, might have a U.S. map that shows unemployment by state or worldwide incidence of the latest flu strain. All of these maps have been presented to us before we finish our morning cof- fee. As the day progresses, we might use an online map to find our afternoon appoint- ment, an in-car GPS map for turn-by-turn directions, or a street atlas if we don’t have access to GPS. A transit map might show us which train to take and the relation of our exit station to other stations. At work we might need a map to help decide where to put a new store or where to allocate money. And so it goes. Throughout the day maps pass before our eyes. Maps are ubiquitous. But do we really get the most from these various maps? Do we stop to read them carefully? Other than knowing what the weather in our town will be today, whether the natural disaster will affect us, or if the traffic incident is on the freeway we normally drive, what have we learned from these maps? Could we use them more effectively? Given the commonness of maps and their many uses, not being able to read maps Tyner, Judith A.. The World of Maps : Map Reading and Interpretation for the 21st Century, Guilford Publications, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, . Created from psu on 2020-01-07 22:55:58. Copyright © 2014. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4 MAP READING BASICS effectively is like only being able to read text at a third-grade level. We might be able to understand the basics, but much is lost to us. First, although we all “know” what a map is, it is helpful to define the term as cartographers use it. Cartographers are mapmakers, and cartography is the art, sci- ence, and technology of making maps and also their study as historical documents and/or works of art. But what is a map? J. H. Andrews discovered 321 definitions of “map” for his article “What Was a Map?” (1999). The most common definition is: A graphic representation of all or a part of the earth or other body, drawn to scale upon a plane. However, this definition limits us because some objects we recognize as maps, such as sketch maps, are not drawn to scale, nor are some maps of preliterate peoples. Some “maps” are annotated photos or imagery, not drawn graphics. Some maps on a computer monitor or cell phone are animated. Thus, for our purposes we will define maps as spatial representations of information.

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