The AG Journey: The art of mapping
According to the Macquarie Dictionary cartography can be defined as “the production of maps, including construction of projections, design, compilation, drafting and reproduction.” Another definition from the International Cartographic Association: “cartography as the art, science, and technology of making such maps, together with their study as scientific documents and works of art”.
Construction of projections? Art? Some of you might think: What have projections and art got to do with producing maps? But these two definitions describe my work as an Australian Geographic cartographer very well. Independent of a story, maps frequently play a part in providing unique information and visual explanation to a topic of interest.
For many respected cartographers who had and have been in the field for two decades or longer, cartography was cARTography. Hand drawing required cartographers to use artistic methods to produce finished maps. At the same time, they always needed to keep their brains sharp to understand scientific and geographic information as well. Hearing about the methods they used compared with modern cartographic innovations is incredible! So next time when you have an old map in your hands, remember the art and science that has gone into it.