Magazine article Geographical

Future of Maps

Magazine article Geographical

Future of Maps

Article excerpt

A geographer relies on many tools to negotiate the world, but few are more synonymous with the world of exploration than the map. Few of us are ever very far from some kind of locational chart, be it a luxuriously printed atlas, a drinks-concealing globe, or just an app on your smartphone. But this ubiquity that throws up a question if we've documented everywhere there is, where do maps go from here? (Cue: 'the oceans!') Long gone are the days of intrepid young explorers being handed a blank piece of paper and being asked to 'fill it in as you go along'. It's now as common to get a 3G signal in the heart of a jungle as it is in your local Starbucks (sometimes easier).

Today, a map's purpose goes beyond simply providing directions. They can define a place rather than just locate it. In Japan, for instance, it's common to see hand-drawn maps dotted around local neighbourhoods, not only outlining where everyone lives, but also reinforcing a sense of community. …

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