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Cartography

  • By: John Kostelnick
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The term cartography is derived from the Greek words chartis (map) and graphein (to write). Cartography is commonly defined as the art and science of mapmaking, although these dimensions are not mutually exclusive. The “art” component of cartography refers to the aesthetic or design aspects of maps and mapmaking. Similar to artwork, each map is unique, and maps may be critiqued similarly to pieces of art. An artistic step in the mapmaking process includes the creation of an overall design layout for a map. The “science” component of cartography refers to the science and mathematics necessary for accurate and effective map production. Examples of the science aspect of cartography include the use of map projections to transform the spherical surface of the Earth to a ...

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