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The Nature of Maps INTRODUCTION Anecdote tempted to the Seward Peninsula by maps interwoven maps and photos in support of this point consider the power of visual images altered digital photographs or how advertising plays to the images that maps convey New Zealand Holiday Inn Navigator and icon composite advertisements Images of landscape drawn from maps not always so accurate cartoon of communication model Maps may nearly supplant reality e g my experience mapping Orwell suitability map and photograph of Orwell village Yet inextricable relation between maps and the reality they portray as map users maps shape our perception of landscape but as map makers maps also reflect our perceptions and values subjectivity note here map makers extends beyond individuals to societies and governments largest mapping organization in the U S is the Bureau of the Census That maps both shape and mirror or perceptions beliefs and values establishes a circularity in which maps become both cause and effect and that circularity is one of the factors that makes maps such a fascinating and productive window through which to explore the human condition Purpose here then is to explore relations between maps and landscapes they represent not so much as squiggly blue lines contours and coordinates but as rich insights into people their activities their history and their culture COGNITIVE MAPS Some like Carrol may find humor in our inability to understand maps recent studies suggest over one half of the adults in the U S are map illiterate The Nature of Maps Page 2 Others like Steinbeck express open contempt for maps and use them begrudgingly but everyone uses maps of some sort without maps could not find our way from bed to breakfast table although not formal maps that the term may bring to mind these cognitive images mental maps are maps nonetheless Recall definition issue models abstractions of spatial relationships mental maps from different regions often humorized New York Boston Florida Texas Iowa and Vermont when compared with real mental maps these are not such exaggerations student maps of the world What influences mental maps our images and perceptions of the world landscape where we live and closely related experience at larger scale for example consider Los Angeles neighborhoods or subway maps can mold misperceptions of space the maps we are used to seeing Mercator projection Which is larger Mexico or Greenland same view contributes to strange sense of direction we have KAL007 shoot down MAPS AND THE CULTURAL LANDSCAPE How Nome got its name map and photograph Names on maps often nearly this serendipitous but not so humorous consider Mt McKinley photograph and map Frobisher Bay and Canadian north in general photograph Wonowon lack of respect reflected on maps in other seemingly innocuous ways The Nature of Maps Page 3 gender political correctness versus heritage slide with examples from Monmonier s Drawing the Line in the best case we have unwittingly if not

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