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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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January
M T W T F S S
         
8
           


       

The Journal of Maps: an electronic journal for the presentation and dissemination of map based data.

Sat, 08 Jan 2005

M.J. Smith
Journal of Maps, v2005, 1-6.


"Geo" based subjects have undergone a variety of challenges and changes over the last century, ranging from qualitative to quantitative and humanist to post-modernist. The one theme linking all geo-subjects together is their spatial element. They deal with space (and time) and are usually described, analysed or modelled in 2 or 3 (and higher) dimensions. This is not to say that geo-subjects deal exclusively in space, but rather that the study of spatial phenomena is often concerned with their location and interaction with other phenomena, as well as their change through time. The visual presentation of spatial data has long been within the realms of maps and cartography. Maps form a special symbiotic relationship with geo-subjects. Although textual or numeric descriptions of data are commonplace, it is when data are mapped that effective communication of complex spatial representations can occur. For example Tufte (2001) describes the presentational eloquence of Charles Minard's map "Napoleon's March to Moscow". And it is not only at the communication stage that maps are invaluable. As tools of analysis they can direct and help formulate methods of study. The work of John Snow (1936) in using cartography to help understand the spatial relationships during the 1854 cholera outbreak of London is perhaps the most famous use of medical mapping.

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