Three modern maps showing geology,
landforms, and political boundaries; each relies on dif-
ferent forms of geographic representation and carto-
graphic representation to communicate particular
meanings. Concepts and conventions of color and
scale are crucial to assuring that their intended audi-
ences understand each map.
and guide choices that lead to clear communication. Should the map include
sidewalks? Will the geographic information describe the height of buildings?
Are trees distinguished by species? These choices also will determine the way
locations on the spherical earth are transformed to a two-dimensional plane,
the types of colors and symbols to use, and the types of questions that people
will turn to the map or geographic information to help find answers for.
Consider two other examples that highlight the different types of repre-
sentation used in maps and geographic information (i.e., the data stored on
a computer that contains information for making maps or conducting analy-
sis) and point to some of the principles and conventions that guide mapping
choices. First are maps of continents or subcontinents. You may never actu-
ally have seen the entire United States, all of Europe, or all of southern Asia
in person, but you know something about how they are geographically orga-