Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
Abstracted or Accurate
All geographic information and maps are abstracted, but choices remain in
this regard in attempting to find the appropriate balance between abstrac-
tion and accuracy. The abstraction of a cartographic representation can
make the communication of important relationships easier, but diminished
accuracy can make it difficult to use the resulting geographic information or
map for other activities.
Few or Many Associations
Along with a balance between abstraction and accuracy, the number of asso-
ciations in the geographic representation and the cartographic representa-
tion opens up some challenging issues. For communication, a map reader or
geographic information user has to able to associate the final graphical
product with his or her own experiences and knowledge. Sometimes, for
example, in schematic maps of utility lines, the “contextual” information of a
place is kept very simple and the components of the utility network are
almost the only things appearing in the cartographic representation. The
traditional topographic map goes in the other direction, offering a multi-
tude of cartographic elements that can be associated in myriad ways with a
person's experiences and knowledge. Most cartographic representations lie
somewhere in between. Simplifying the associations can be effective in
Mercator projection showing extremely distorted areas near the north and south
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