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Lecture notes - Forsberg- maps and cognition

On the Greek world map, please find the Americas. Where is California? 

What were some of the initial challenges in finding the assigned locations? 

Why doesn't the map show all the assigned locations? 

What regions are the most accurate? Which become more distorted? Why?

 Distance Decay: "the attenuation of a phenomenon over distance." e.g. earshot, signal reception, details on mental maps. 

"Our immediate neighborhood we know rather intimately. But with increasing distance our knowledge fades . . . Until at the last dim horizon we search among ghostly errors of observations for landmarks that are scarcely more substantial." (Edwin Hubble) 

How was the data for the map gathered?

"Cartographers sat . . . debriefing mariners returning from their voyages, weighing the credibility of each report and each measurement, piecing it all together into a single, coherent, consistent picture of the geographic world" (Latitude, Longitude, Infinitude).

Maps can be seen as diagrams showing the evolution of our collective thought about a particular spatial domain, and as archival images documenting states of knowledge. 

They also reflect the technology of the time.

GIS: Geographic Information Systems

GPS: Global Positioning Systems

Today with GIS, "Computers collate information from a variety of sources before plotting out the result in a map" (Latitude, Longitude, Infinitude).

The speed and 'efficiency' of GIS means that "Never before in human history has so much diverse territory succumbed to the march and measure of discoverers and cartographers."

Definitions of GIS:

"GISs are simultaneously the telescope, the microscope, the computer, and the Xerox machine of regional analysis and synthesis of spatial data" (Ron Abler, 1988)

GIS: "a powerful set of tools for storing and retrieving at will, transforming and displaying spatial data from the real world for a particular set of purposes" (Peter Burrough, 1986)


Map Related Sites, GIS

US-Mexico Demographic Data Viewer, SanDiego/Tijuana Interactive Atlas

Free GIS systems: ArcExplorer Web, ArcExplorer