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Cartographic Computer Programming



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15 Cartographic Computer Programming 15 1 LANGUAGES The control necessary for implementing cartographic data structures for performing cartographic transformations and for anything other than applied computer cartography requires the use of a programming language Many students find their way into analytical cartography from other disciplines and as such are excluded from a more in depth understanding of analytical cartography because they do not know how to program Although much of the material presented in this book can be understood and even taught without the use of programming the advanced student may wish to go further If your background has not been in computing the best advice is to learn programming from the experts This usually means in a computer science department Learning programming along with a graphics course is not recommended When we program we usually do so in a programming language Just as we use the English language to express our ideas to others so we use a programming language to express our ideas to the computer Computer programming languages perform sequences of instructions This is the case even though our thoughts are often not sequential A program moves from step A to step B to step C and the move to step C does not start until B is reached Human thought can easily branch from A to C or to X Y and Z or all four simultaneously based on the loosest of connections Usually a program or set of programs written in a programming language performs a specific task Such a program is referred to as an applications program The other general division of programming is systems programming in which the programs control the operating system itself All cartographic programming falls into the applications programming category although there is much that cartographers have to gain from an understanding of systems programming 294 Sec 15 1 Languages 295 All computer programs perform certain generic processes Most programs perform input that is they read data



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