Academic journal article Cartography and Geographic Information Science

The Nature of Analytical Cartography: An Introduction

Academic journal article Cartography and Geographic Information Science

The Nature of Analytical Cartography: An Introduction

Article excerpt

Since its auspicious beginnings in the early 1960s by Prof. Waldo Tobler (1961), analytical cartography has grown and flourished scientifically, analytically, and intellectually. Analytical cartography has added a new dimension to cartography with its goal of developing a scientific base of analytical and mathematical theory as the fundamental underpinning of cartographic research. This focus on theory is in stark contrast with the traditional focus of cartography on artistry and technology in map design and production that has been practiced for more than four thousand years. Analytical cartography is also very different from the other major cartographic theme--map communication and representation--, which dates back to Robinson's (1952) seminal research that established the "Communication School" of cartography.

An earlier issue of this journal dedicated to analytical cartography (Moellering 1991) contained five research articles reflecting a variety of philosophical, mathematical, technical and applied aspects of analytical cartography. These papers were carefully selected to show the breadth and depth of research going on at that time in analytical cartography. This issue systematically explores the nature of analytical cartography, defining the scope and conceptual content of the field with all of its richness, diversity, and research opportunities. Apart from theory, we examine some of the applications of analytical theory in cartographic practice, highlighting major computational limitations to such work. The discussions also identify linkages to related cognate fields of research, especially the emerging area of geographic information science. One such link between analytical cartography and other fields is through the Mathematical Mode of Inquiry (MMOI) advocated by Casetti (1999) for human geography.

Analytical cartography was the topic of two sessions organized at the 1999 Association for American Geographers (AAG) meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii: "The Nature of Analytical Cartography" and "The Future of Analytical Cartography." The outcome of those sessions was very positive, and the organizer was invited to serve as the Guest Editor for this issue of Cartography and Geographic Information Science. Four out of the five session presenters expanded their papers into full journal articles. All manuscripts received full peer review. The result is a set of articles by some of the leading figures in the field of analytical cartography.

Professor Waldo Tobler, Professor Emeritus from the University of California, Santa Barbara, was the one who, by the power of his penetrating spatial/analytical insights and phenomenal theoretical grasp of the field, brought analytical cartography into being. His pioneering research and subsequent scientific leadership attracted many other researchers to the field of analytical cartography. We dedicate this issue to him as a tribute to his long and distinguished record in the development of analytical cartography as a science.

The first article, ironically, is by Tobler himself. In it he recounts some of his personal academic and research history and development. As one reads the article, one begins to understand the inner workings of a truly brilliant spatial mind. Tobler points that "Geographers use maps more as analytical tools....," suggesting that both analog map (i.e. hard-copy) and digital (virtual map) data can be used to solve cartographic problems. Tobler reviews work he has Conducted since the mid-1970s in an orderly analytical perspective. Looking back at his predictions for the future, he notes that some have already come to pass. Examples in point are wristwatch latitude and longitude which he had predicted in the late 1960s, and which have come into existence as part of the GPS wristwatch. Although an eminent theoretist, many of Tobler's predictions relate to practical technology, perhaps because Tobler has always tried to find an application for his theories. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.