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Archive for the ‘Map History’ Category

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Cover of Estelle H. Ries’ opuscule on a miscellany of “lesser arts.”

Estelle H. Ries. The Lovely Lesser Arts: Leather Making, Screens, Map Making, Silhouettes, and What To Do About Nudes (1948). Girard KS: Haldeman-Julius Publications (B-686).

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Ms. Ries here situates makers of maps among other lesser artists – leather toolers, silhouette cutters, screen decorators, and carvers of ivory. Ries concludes her work with a few comments on the dreaded nude:

What to do about nudes, if anything, is always more or less of a ticklish problem. No matter how 20th-century we are or wish to be, some of us have inherited enough from the Mauve Decade, or have been surrounded by the traditions of Victorianism to such an extent, that the very word, Nude, is often veiled in whispers even if the object itself is veiled in nothing more than the atmosphere.

As for maps and their makers, Ries has many thoughts:

The first matters to be charted were direction and distance and these are still essential to every map. If you hear of that better place you can keep going until you get there if you but travel in the right direction. (p. 12)

Having north at the top of the map, we are used to the shapes of countries in this position. It would be the same world if we turned it upside down and had the south at the top, but try it once and you will see how unfamiliar and confusing it looks so. Yet the world is so upside down in most particulars right now, that perhaps it would be more true to print the maps that way after all. (p. 12)

In the jungles of Bengal they have a custom of breaking a branch from the wayside, and when it wilts it is considered that a krosh has been traveled. They do not realize that this varies with the season the type of tree from which the branch is taken, the speed of the walker or his idea of wilting! (p. 13)

One long-established concern publishing maps is in touch with all foreign governments through a branch office in Washington which contacts all the embassies. They consider a man in their cartography department an apprentice for the first three or four years of service which will give you a clue to the difficulty and importance of this type of work. (p. 15).

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The full text of section III, “The Human Side of Map Making,” from The Lovely Lesser Arts is below. A PDF (13.3 mb) of the entire 30 page booklet is here.

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III. THE HUMAN SIDE OF MAP MAKING

Once upon a time the nations of the world knew little or nothing of one another: The hazards of travel in an uncharted world prevented people from going far afield. What lay beyond the horizon? Who dwelt there? These questions were answered by silence or by mythical imaginings. But necessity and curiosity joined hands and impelled discovery of these unknown places. Which way to a better land? How far to more fertile ground? These questions were answered by a map.

The first matters to be charted were direction and distance and these are still essential to every map. If you hear of that better place you can keep going until you get there if you but travel in the right direction.

To get this sense of direction you must start from somewhere. Today maps have the true north at the top. This was not always so. The religious movements of the Middle Ages developed special reverence for the East. Paradise itself was represented on the maps and was supposed to be in the Garden of Eden, in the East. But Paradise was Heaven, and Heaven was above, so the East was at the top of the map and there it remained until the compass came along and displaced Paradise by pointing north itself.

Having north at the top of the map, we are used to the shapes of countries in this position. It would be the same world if we turned it upside down and had the south at the top, but try it once and you will see how unfamiliar and confusing it looks so. Yet the world is so upside down in most particulars right now, that perhaps it would be more true to print the maps that way after all.

A map is not earth size, of course, so that distances must be represented to a scale. Otherwise your map is too vague to have much use. It is harder to do this than to get direction because a knowledge of mathematics is needed both to measure distance on the ground and still more to show it on a map. In some parts of India a unit of measurement, the krosh, is given as “two statutory miles, more or less.” In the jungles of Bengal they have a custom of breaking a branch from the wayside, and when it wilts it is considered that a krosh has been traveled. They do not realize that this varies with the season the type of tree from which the branch is taken, the speed of the walker or his idea of wilting! Obviously mapmaking could not advance far until some facts of mathematics and astronomy could be applied. The best early maps came from Egypt, Babylon, China and Greece where these abilities first flourished.

The absence of such knowledge in most of Europe during the middle ages led the monks who made the maps never to leave any blank space on a map. To do so was an open confession of ignorance. They filled up all vacant areas with elaborate decorations-sometimes of fantastic creatures, or of legendary tales. Through the 18th century maps were decorative rather than practical, truly works of art, and are even now collectors’ items of rich beauty. Perhaps as an alibi to conceal their lack of accurate data, the idea was allowed to get around that accurate observations would be of value to trade rivals or enemies.

Of course, there were always some serious geographers who tried to promote accuracy in maps. Ptolemy, a famous Egyptian astronomer of the 2nd century, was first to draw the equator upon a globe and measure off the lines of latitude and longitude. Such lines, he explained, would locate any place on the map better than any amount of description. He also pointed out that a flat sheet of papyrus or paper would not fit around a sphere and that flat maps would involve too much distortion to be accurate. For a long time he pondered, “How can I show a map of the globe on a flat surface without too much distortion?” And then he had an idea. He took a cone and fitted a piece of papyrus around it tightly. It went on without any bulges, and when he took it off, it could be flattened out. He placed the cone, which was hollow, over the globe as far as the equator and drew his lines upon it. Then he took another cone going from the South Pole to the equator, and so invented the conical projection for flat maps. Ptolemy’s contributions to map-making were of great importance, but during the centuries new discoveries were made which were not on his maps. Moreover they had some inaccuracies of their own due to the unreliability of his sources, although his scientific methods were correct.

Mercator, a Flemish mathematician in the 16th century recognized the troubles with the earlier maps and decided to make something that would combine their advantages and remove their faults. Where Ptolemy used a conical projection, Mercator devised one based on a cylinder, and this solved the problems he had set himself.

The difficulties of making a map increase when we try to show on a flat surface the variations in height such as hills or mountains, yet their importance is too great to overlook. Mountains are not only a distinguishing physical characteristic of a region, but they affect rainfall and climate; they are the sources of rivers; they influence the amount of timber or the agricultural conditions; they serve as political boundaries and in many other ways. At first glance it would seem that the best way to show these would be on an actual model. However, models are costly to produce and cumbersome to handle, as they cannot be rolled, bound, folded or otherwise carried around conveniently. Most important, however, there has to be a different scale used for horizontal and vertical distances, else a relief model of the globe without such a difference would show little more in the way of relief inequalities than the skin of an orange. For example, Mount Everest is only 1/2000 of the earth’s diameter. On an 18-inch globe, it is estimated, it would be represented by less than 1/100 of an inch. Thus the highest mountain in the world wouldn’t even show!

A map combines the qualities of a picture and a book. Elevations of mountains or depths in water are depicted by forms of shading. A town is indicated by a dot, a road or river by a line. Codes of color can be employed, and other conventions are customary. The mapmaker must exercise some choice in the matter of naming places. He has to decide whether to use an American form of a foreign town or its native name, or one recently changed as an expression of national self-determination. Koln or Cologne; Dublin or Baile Atha Cliath? Praha or Prague; Munchen or Munich? This grows even more complex if the alphabet used by the natives is not related to a European one. There seems to be quite an assortment of spellings for the names of places in Persia (itself called Iran), China, India and other oriental lands. Maps should, of course, be clear and uncrowded, and the mapmaker should decide at the outset which kinds of things he must emphasize.

Of course, since Mercator’s Atlas appeared in 1585, mapmaking has grown continuously more scientific and accurate. The modern era of discovery and exploration does not consist in the vague adventuring by land and by sea which in a large measure constituted discovery up to the time of Captain Cook-and in some parts of the world long after that time. Today’s cartographers have precision instruments and theoretical knowledge far beyond any then in use. Mapping by airplane, for instance, is one of the newest and most popular methods giving access to hitherto inaccessible places. Telegraph, cable, radio, weather bureau and countless similar services have simplified the work of mapmakers and at the same time have given them far greater responsibilities. There is so much less excuse for them to be other than strictly reliable.

The modern mapmaker is an expert and his results go to experts whereas the early seafarer was more of a rough and ready adventurer who took a long chance hoping for gain, and did not care too much if he lost. By the old methods and equipment much of the world was discovered by accident. Desire for trade and wealth, missionary zeal, piracy, or sheer adventurousness were the usual reasons for exploration. In those times an explorer would ask for a little money to find a land that one could see and profit by. Today explorers like Roy Chapman Andrews require a quarter of a million dollars to explore a portion of the Gobi desert for knowledge of a world buried millions of years ago; not for financial profit in any way but for study of rocks and skeletons to reveal the beginnings of life on earth. It has been pointed out that while Columbus spent only about $2,000 to discover America, Byrd needed over $1,000,000 to enter the Antarctic. He spent nearly $200,000 merely to make a 17-hour trip over the North Polar Sea by air. Few modern explorers are able to take a large scientific staff into the field under a cost of $100,000.

When explorers have mapped the surface of the earth, will the job of mapmaker be finished? By no means. The whole idea has expanded and will continue to do so, for map making means many things to many people. Alexander von Humboldt, for instance, was puzzled by the fact that London was farther north than New York and yet was warmer in winter, while other places in the same latitudes varied in temperature. He began to plot new lines on the map running through places having the same temperatures, just as each line of latitude runs through all places of like distance from the equator. The temperature lines ran zigzag all over the map. He called them isotherms, and today no student of geography can do without his isothermic map. He followed this up with many other queries about the climate, and from his extended travels in South America and elsewhere he remembered certain facts. The height above sea level counts in climate, he knew from some of his own exciting mountain climbs. Mountains affect the rainfall too, he recalled. In his marvelous book, “Cosmos,” the science of physical geography was born, and Humboldt showed us a new way to look at ourselves and our earth.

Following the work of Humboldt and others, Joseph Henry gave us the daily weather map with its high and low-pressure regions and other data. Again, four-fifths of the earth is under water and this is a great field for investigators. Years ago, Lieutenant Maury of the U.S. Navy devoted his life to describing and mapping the sea – its currents, winds, temperatures, depths and many other qualities. Through him, the father of oceanography, navigators can take advantage of the most favorable winds and currents and many other benefits. Other types of explorers, like William Beebe, map the land of the fish, the actual depth and bottom of the sea, while Auguste Piccard did the opposite and soared 10 miles into the stratosphere. John Milne investigated the inside of the earth-the causes of earthquakes, and improved the seismograph which gives warning of impending disasters of this kind. And so today we still live in an age of discovery, and the vague notions of far-off countries give way to the most precise records. Accurate measurements of distances, heights, weather conditions, geological conditions; productive regions of the earth-its oil, minerals, wheat and other economic resources; plant life, animal life, human distribution, wealth maps, health maps-all these open fields of interest, work and achievement.

A basic necessity for compiling up-to-date maps is the collection and analysis of geographic and economic data. Several hundred thousand maps, charts, geographical reports, statistical records, post office guides, survey and exploration reports, historical notes and handbooks from all parts of the world are available for intensive study and research carried on by cartographers. All this research, traveling, surveying, compiling and drawing are essential to the production of the modern map. And today changing conditions make other maps of vital importance. One long-established concern publishing maps is in touch with all foreign governments through a branch office in Washington which contacts all the embassies. They consider a man in their cartography department an apprentice for the first three or four years of service which will give you a clue to the difficulty and importance of this type of work. New or old, maps and mapmaking are powerfully fascinating, bringing the world of war and work, peace and plenty, romance and reality, before our very eyes in a glowing panorama of adventure.

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Map of the World. Delineating the Contrasted Longitudinal and Latitudinal forms of the continents: the Isothermal Zodiac and Axis of Intensity Round the World; and the Line of Cosmopolitan Railway and it Longitudinal Feeders.

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Herein lie a half dozen very odd yet striking maps, published in William Gilpin’s Mission of the North American People (1873). Gilpin, a quaker from Philadelphia, moved west in the 1830s, joining John C. Frémont on his 1843 expedition. Eventually serving as governor of Colorado, Gilpin was a booster of the American West in general with a vision of boundless future prosperity. His belief in manifest destiny wedded to odd climatological theories, some of which are mapped out here, promoted his vision of the American West.

Maps are from Mission of the North American People, Geographical, Social, and Political. Illustrated by Six Charts Delineating the Physical Architecture and Thermal laws of all the Continents. By William Gilpin, Late Governor of Colorado. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co. 1873. Maps can be found at David Rumsey’s site as well as the full text of Gilpin’s book at the Internet Archive.

 


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Map of North America in which are delineated the Mountain System as a Unit, the Great Calcareous Plain and its Details, and the Continuous Encircling Maritime Selvage.


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Map of North America. Delineating the “Mountain System” and its details, The “Great Calcarious Plain” as a unit, and the continuous encircling “Maritime Selvage.”


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Map Illustrating the System of the Parcs, and the Domestic Relations of the “Great Plains,” the “North American Andes,” and the “Pacific Maritime Front.”


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Map of Colorado Territory, and Northern Portion of New Mexico Showing the System of Parcs.


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Thermal Map of North America. Delineating the Isothermal Zodiac, the Isothermal Axis of Identity, and its expansions up and down the “Plateau.”

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The Atlas de Cuba by Gerardo Canet and Erwin Raisz, featured in a recent posting here, is accompanied by a large color map entitled Mapa de los Paisajes de Cuba (Map of the Landscapes of Cuba). The map is a hybrid of Raisz’s landform map style supplemented with diverse human landscape components. Canet and Raisz explain their methodology:

The accompanying map of Cuba is a new experiment in cartography. Color suggests land types: cultivated fields, pastures, mountains, swamps, valleys, etc. The symbols were selected after a series of flights over the Island and on analysis of numerous color photographs taken from the air It is expected that in this way the map will better reflect reality; more closely resembling on air view of the Island than the conventional maps we now have.

This approach is part of a tradition of natural or real color mapping combining terrain (in particular, shaded relief) with air imagery or map symbolization inspired by air imagery, an obvious outcome of aerial mapping in the early part of the 20th century. An article by Tom Patterson and Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso entitled Hal Shelton Revisited: Designing and Producing Natural-Color Maps with Satellite Land Cover Data (2004) delineates the author’s development of the Natural Earth data (shaded terrain + satellite land use data) in the context of earlier, related work by Hal Shelton, Eduard Imhof, Heinrich Berann, Richard Edes Harrison and Tibor Toth. It seems that Raisz was also an innovator in this realm of air-imagery inspired map design.

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See also, at this blog, Raisz’s History of American Cartography TimelinesMap Symbols: Landforms & Terrain, and Raisz’s currently available landform maps at www.raiszmaps.com.

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Mapa de los Paisajes de Cuba, 1949 (36.6mb)

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Map details:

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This Atlas is more than an attempt to describe Cuba. Our aim is not only to present the setting in which the drama of Cuban life is played but to show how this life itself changes its own setting, creating new problems and new adjustments to them.

This dynamic element is usually absent from the impersonal atlases produced by governments, societies and publishing houses, which merely give a graphic report of a given moment of time. Our objective is to give a living picture of Cuban geography as far as possible in 64 pages. Our approach is as follows: 1. What are the facts?, 2. What are the essential problems?, 3. What will be their effects in the future and what may be done about them? For instance, Cuba, by reason of its close proximity to the United States become its chief source of tropical products, especially sugar. Thus the Cuban economy has become dependent on the fluctuating sugar demand, whereas a diversification of crops and industries would be advisable.

We have presented the results of our labor in graphical form. An old Chinese proverb says: “A picture says more than a thousand words.” Moreover by visual representation the most complicated problems may be brought within the understanding of the layman. Everyone should know the geography of his own country, and in the case of Cuba this need is imperative, since few countries have such clear-cut dependence on location, climate and soil Cuba’s internal problems of adjustment and interdependence with the rest of the world demand a high degree of understanding from its citizens.

- from Introduction

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In addition to many dozens of unique landform maps, Erwin Raisz produced three atlases in his lifetime, including the Atlas of Global Geography (Global Press Corp., 1944), the Atlas de Cuba (Harvard University Press, 1949) and the Atlas of Florida (University of Florida Press, 1964). Copies of the Global and Florida atlases are relatively easy to find (used or in libraries); this is not the case with the Cuba atlas, which seems to have had a relatively low print run. A series of maps, diagrams and illustrations from the Cuba atlas are included below.

The Atlas de Cuba strongly reflects Raisz’s aesthetic, combining creative illustration with his bold and cozy aesthetic of map design. Part of the appeal of Raisz’s work is its humane feel, reflecting the manual mapping tools used to create his maps. Raisz’s maps and illustrations clearly reveal the hand of a human creator.

A large format map, included in the back of the Atlas de Cuba, will be the subject of a subsequent post.

See also, at this blog, Raisz’s History of American Cartography TimelinesMap Symbols: Landforms & Terrain, and Raisz’s currently available landform maps at www.raiszmaps.com.

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El Mundo Alrededor de Cuba | The World Around Cuba (Excerpt & entire p. 5)

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Cuba Colonial | Colonial Cuba (excerpt, p. 9)

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Ciclones | Cyclones (excerpt & entire p. 14)

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Geologia | Geology (excerpt & entire pp. 18-19)

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Geomorfologia | Geomorphology (excerpt & entire pp. 20-21)

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Pesca | Fish (excerpt, p. 25)

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Vegetacion | Vegetation (excerpt & entire pp. 26-27)

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Poblacion | Population (excerpt, p. 29)

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Composition Social | Social Composition (excerpt, p. 35)

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Tourismo | Tourism (excerpt & entire pp. 38-39)

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Educacion | Education (excerpt, p. 40)

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Agricultura | Agriculture (excerpts & entire pp. 42-43)

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Azucar | Sugar (excerpt, p. 44)

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Minerales | Minerals (excerpt & entire pp. 46-47)

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Tabaco | Tobacco (excerpt, p. 49)

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Frutas | Fruit (excerpt, p. 51)

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Atlas de Cuba

Garardo Canet & Erwin Raisz

Harvard University Press

1949

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Fujimi jūsanshū yochi zenzu
(Map of the thirteen provinces from which Mt. Fuji is visible)
1843  |  Edo : Yamashiroya Sahei
Source

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Kaihō Kai no Kuni ezu
(Pocket map of Kai Province)
1842  |  Kōfu, Kai Province : Murataya Kōtarō
Source

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saka_yori_Tokai_ni_itaru_kairo_no_zu_c2 saka_yori_Tokai_ni_itaru_kairo_no_zu_c1 saka_yori_Tokai_ni_itaru_kairo_no_zu_c0

 Ōsaka yori Tōkai ni itaru kairo no zu
(Tōkaidō and the sea route from Ōsaka to Edo)
1855  |  Manuscript
Source

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Shiga_kenka_Shigagun_Fujiomura_chinai_aza_hira_Kaigaya_Maegaki_jissokuzu_c2 Shiga_kenka_Shigagun_Fujiomura_chinai_aza_hira_Kaigaya_Maegaki_jissokuzu_c1

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Shiga kenka Shiga-gun Fujio-mura chinai aza Ōhira Kaigaya Maegaki jissokuzu
(Measured map of Ōhira Kaigaya Maegaki, in Fujio Village, Shiga County, Shiga Prefecture – Gunpowder Safety Map)
1870  |  Manuscript
Source

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University of British Columbia
Collection: Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era
Source & Description

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The World Is Round! (1935)

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Air Mapping (1935)

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Moon Mapping (1953)

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Map to the Coronation (1937)

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Mainly Maps (1938)

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Mapping It Out! (1940)

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Map Depot In Desert (1943)

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Map Making By Women’s Voluntary Service – Quite So! (1943)

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New Maps for New Worlds (1945)

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Mobile Map Truck (Step On It!) (1944)

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Plastic Maps (1947)

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Map Making (1952)

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Interpol See Scotland Yard (Pre-Computer GIS) (1958)

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Map Making (1961)

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School Playground Map (1961)

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Map Survey (1965)

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Aerial Photography Aids Map Makers – Hungary (1965)

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Schmid_multivariate_suicide

In the field of sociology, perhaps one of the most useful devices for the graphic presentation of facts is the cartogram or statistical map. Recently there has been an increasing emphasis on the ecological and statistical phases of social analysis. This development has given the map much greater significance and utility in the methodology of sociology.

The chief value of the spot-map, though not highly refined or developed at present, seems to be that of an instrument of social discovery and analysis. Significant relations and correspondence of variables, which might otherwise be overlooked, are brought into graphic relief by the spotmap.

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Notwithstanding that the spot-map is characteristically quite elementary, if not, as some critics say, superficial, yet it can be delineated so that it shows several variables at once with specificity, accuracy, and clarity.

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Although the spot-map has its limitations, it is justifiable to say that there is no other way in which the relation between so many facts as are contained in the above maps can be shown so clearly and concisely.

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It may be argued that a large number of symbols tends to obscure rather than to elucidate the significance of the data, and at the same time necessitating an unduly large amount of time and effort. This point of view may, in some instances, be justified, but if the number of symbols is reasonably large, and if they are simple in form and logically and visually arranged, this argument becomes untenable.

Calvin F. Schmid
“Notes on Two Multiple-Variable Spot Maps”
Social Forces, Vol. 6, No. 3. (Mar., 1928), pp. 378-382.

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