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#16
Derek Tonn

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Dave, thanks for the reference (here's the paper, by the way). Interestingly, one of my main points was kind of the opposite: A lot of theory looks at "map" from a user perspective, including napkin scribblings (the focus of much of Denis Wood and Mark Denil's recent back-and-forth in Cartographic Perspectives), Marshall Island stick-charts, etc etc. All in part a reaction to mid-20th century and earlier "Those aren't real maps" snobbery by the cartographic establishment.


Yes....EXACTLY.

People will argue over "purist" this or "tradition" that, but I think what it really boils down to in a number of instances is being "right" and trying to force one's "right-ness" on the rest of those around them. Rather than meeting people where they are at and trying to learn from those individuals as well, it's about "evangelism"....only with a touch of grace and style reminiscent of the Crusades. ;)

It's not about trying to be accepted by "the establishment" though. It's all-about turning over tables in the Temple...or tacking your 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg when one smells stale air or condescension about. The vast majority of people around the NACIS conference have been AWESOME the past few years! The "snobby" minority though is a serious buzz-kill for the rest of us, in my opinion.

As for Dave's suggestion of a PCD workshop, Valerie Krejcie suggested the exact same thing during an impromptu conversation following a session in St. Louis this year. I'd LOVE to be a fly on that wall when it came time for Q&A! :) I'm not sure I'd be the best choice for offering that type of session though, since I'm not very good at sugar-coating exactly what I am thinking/feeling at any given time. Nat got to do a little of that "shaking things up" in St. Louis though, along with Steven (Holloway), which was HIGHLY engaging and entertaining to watch. I wish the Q&A after Nat's paper would have been about 60-75 minutes, as it would have been really fun/interesting to see where the discussion might have gone. Nat's paper was honestly the highlight of the programmatic portion of the conference for me this year...along with Roger Smith's presentation related to their variation and enhancement upon "Google Earth" that he has been building in New Zealand.
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#17
Dennis McClendon

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I'm with Nat on this, and have been for many years. Mapmaking is simply a craft. It uses science to improve accuracy and it uses art to improve understanding, and at the end of the day the mapmaker is creating a useful article.

I'm a bit puzzled by Derek's reference to dismissiveness of pictorial or artistic mapping at NACIS Madison. Can you be more specific? The academic discussion that dominated that conference was Wood/Krygier's straw-man argument that a map is somehow claiming to be more authoritative than is justified. That "the map is not the territory" has been axiomatic for millennia, the late discovery of Derrida by tenure-seeking academics notwithstanding.

If a reader finds my stylized planimetric useful, that's great. If he finds Derek's bird's-eye view useful, that's great too. When has anyone ever set forth a test for "mappiness" other than usefulness?
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#18
natcase

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I'm with Nat on this, and have been for many years. Mapmaking is simply a craft. It uses science to improve accuracy and it uses art to improve understanding, and at the end of the day the mapmaker is creating a useful article.

Not to quibble too much, but a couple points:

1. There are plenty of maps that don't have a usefulness goal to them. Usefulness is a core value of what I'm calling the cartographic tradition, but projections of the earth's surface (maps) in other traditions can have other qualities as well, without being especialy useful in the sense I think we usually mean when we talk about maps. The fine arts world in particular is full of deliberately non-functional maps.

2. I personally have a problem talking about "art" as an element of cartography, because that term has so thoroughly been dominated by the values of the fine arts world, which are antithetical to some of cartography's core values. We use design techniques and theory, some of which are also used by the fine arts, but we have a different production process than the bulk of the artworld, because we have a different target set of qualities for the end product.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#19
wick

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I would guess that the skilled graphic artist who drew the oblique view of the Disney park had absolutely zero input when it came to designing the race course map. This looks much more like a race director downloaded the park graphic and after 60 seconds of MS Paint had a nice new "race map". It's unfortunate for Disney that for all their attention to detail, they clearly overlooked this piece of art before it was released.
I don't think we can blame any professional graphic artist for making this poor map.
Jesse Wickizer
Maps.com

#20
Dennis McClendon

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I guess I would argue that calling a nonuseful artwork a "map" stretches language to the point of breaking. It's fine to talk about artworks that use the forms and textures of maps, or that use the map as metaphor. But if it's not useful (even as a topologic representation of a fictional space), it's no more a map than Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" was a plumbing fixture.

More concretely, I could take a collection of topographic map symbols and arrange them at random as a work of art. Surely we would not call that a map, no matter what I entitled the finished work. Only if the symbols are placed deliberately, to represent that thing E is somewhere between thing A and thing R, does it become a map.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#21
Derek Tonn

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Dennis,

I think it was during one of Alex's/Tom's sessions on bird's eye/oblique or 360-degree mapping where the "peanut gallery" in the row behind me and to the right was muttering and snickering "Those aren't maps!" I'm actually glad there are a few folks like that in the world and in our association though...as I need the occasional kick in the pants or annoyance to remind myself to never get TOO comfortable or content if our firm has been having some recent success.

I think what I am learning after years of discussing these types of issues is that there are almost three "camps" or variations on the subject of mapping:

A. Maps as Art.
B. Maps as History/Tradition/Technique (AKA maps that "follow the rules"...even though the rules were essentially created by a tiny percentage of the overall population who happened to be white, male and Western European)
C. Maps as wayfinding/navigation or an understanding of spatial relationships. A means to an end...nothing more.

The vast majority of people on the planet fall under "C" whether we like it or not. All a map is to them is a quick reference to move them from one place to another or an understanding of where Iraq is in relation to Israel. We can argue/debate until we are blue in the face about how a map (at least a GOOD map) should be and is so much more than that! However, that's just map designers/cartographers debating with other map designers/cartographers...as most of the "real world" is happy living in Camp C, with no desire/incentive to change. Our job, then, is to find innovative and affordable methods for delivering "A" and "B" along the way as well.

The published history of map design is predominantly planemetric in nature. However, half the planet does not think or navigate in those terms. So what we essentially end up with then is one group saying "those aren't maps" or "those people need to do a better job of learning/thinking the way that 'we' do!," and another group of people who try and respond to those different needs, meeting people where they are at. Someone rebuffing a birds' eye/oblique design though and saying "Those aren't maps?" That is a HIGHLY arrogant and offensive thing to say...although the one comfort that can be taken from the few people who happen to think that way is the knowledge that they pose absolutely zero threat to the custom/commercial cartographer out there who is living/doing it rather than critiquing it. ;)
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

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http://www.mapformation.com

#22
natcase

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I guess I would argue that calling a nonuseful artwork a &quot;map&quot; stretches language to the point of breaking. It's fine to talk about artworks that use the forms and textures of maps, or that use the map as metaphor. But if it's not useful (even as a topologic representation of a fictional space), it's no more a <b>map</b> than Marcel Duchamp's &quot;Fountain&quot; was a plumbing fixture. <br /><br />More concretely, I could take a collection of topographic map symbols and arrange them at random as a work of art. Surely we would not call that a map, no matter what I entitled the finished work. Only if the symbols are placed deliberately, to represent that thing E is somewhere between thing A and thing R, does it become a map.

<br/<br />Damn these vague English words. &quot;Useful&quot; and &quot;Map.&quot; Would that we had a language with a larger vocabulary <img src="style_emoticons/default/wink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink.gif" /> . Or something.<br /><br />You're right; in a generous sense &quot;usefulness&quot; covers pretty much anything people have made... one of my long-standing bugaboos is the artworld's insistence that art isn't <i>used</i>, as if people just happen to wander into an art gallery and just happen to be in the vicinity of an artwork and just happen to buy it—not because it does something to them, not because it is a &quot;tool&quot; to stimulate a certain state of mind, but because it is, you know, just there.<br /><br />But I was talking about use in the sense we generally talk about maps as a tool. If you look at a <a href="http://www.artchive..../johns/map.jpg" target="_blank">Jasper Johns map painting</a>, yes you can use it to tell if Iowa is north or south of Minnesota, but that isn't its primary purpose. Within the cartographic world, frankly it stinks. But that isn't the point of it; it was never meant to be &quot;used as a map&quot; in the sense that the images you and I make are meant to be &quot;used as a map.&quot; <br /><br />Yet, this image is a map. What I'm proposing is that we leave &quot;good map&quot; and &quot;bad map&quot; out of our lexicon, and leave &quot;map&quot; to be the catchall phrase that includes all those objects and images in and out of our culture that describe the earth or part of it (or an imaginary place, or a planet, or a conceptual space that can be though of metaphorically as a geography), based on a <a href="http://fontology.buf...s/truegrid.pdf" target="_blank">projection off the ground surface</a>. Including Jasper Johns and 3D views. And that we then rename our field of work, what I'm calling the &quot;cartographic tradition,&quot; which does have rules and standards and so on.<br /><br />The following question then, is what falls within that tradition and what does not... everyone has their own definition of course, and there is no National Academy of What Is and Is Not Part of Cartography. But the question of 3D views is an interesting one; they can and often do follow at least some of the basic principles of cartography, but they also strongly draw on some other picturing traditions. As with any tradition, once you start getting in to the details of it, the substructures of schools and influences become pretty complicated.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#23
Dennis McClendon

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Hmmm. I guess I would have called the Jasper Johns work a "painting of a map" rather than a "map." Is a Liechtenstein painting a "comic" or a "painting of a comic?" You can learn geography from Johns, but you can learn anatomy from Rembrandt without thinking he's created a human.

Well, we're getting into "ceci n'est pas une pipe" territory here.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#24
ELeFevre

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#25
Jean-Louis

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Good cartoon, Erin
I also like Derek’s 3-fold classification of maps as art, tradition and navigation tool. That about says it all

On the subject of planometric vs 3 D, I would add this. Take any sidewalk-view photo or illustration of a typical cityscape. Then take a satellite-view of the same subject. The straight-above-view provides the basis for what everyone would call a typical map view. But as you increase the pitch of an oblique perspective, somewhere along the line, you loose all connection with a mapping perspective and fall into the category of a subjective i.e. artistic point of view. It may be all one continuum in which there is a space where 3D mapping happens but nevertheless there is still a big difference between the 2 poles.

I agree with what Nat implies. There is a point where the re-presentation of a geographic subject ceases to be called a map and should be called an illustration. I see nothing demeaning in that distinction. I for one never called myself a cartographer. In something of a reversal of Derek's experience, it was always others who insisted that my drawings were maps. ‘Ok, if you say so’ I would always think, ‘but actually I am an illustrator whose stuff is made to look like maps.'

Where I disagree with Nat, is that we should ‘leave "good map" and "bad map" out of our lexicon’ (As if that were possible!) We just have to realize that there are also good and bad illustrations. I think one reason for the ‘snubbing’ effect that Derek points to is that there are a lot of bad illustration-type 'maps' out there and they are more obvious than bad maps.

I think Derek would agree with me. Producing quality illustration/maps is a lot of very difficult work. (and not appropriately paid in my experience!) . Consequently there is a lot of cheap, awful cartoony stuff going around and people just call them maps. So I am not surprised that many cartographers rightly want to distinguish themselves from it.

Like everywhere else in life, it is right to judge and discriminate but its very misleading to compare the best of one tradition against the worst of another.
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#26
Derek Tonn

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Jean-Louis,

I'm probably going to get myself in a LOT of trouble for saying this, but our design team (myself included) typically feels as though the planemetric work that we are asked to develop is the "easiest" designs that we are asked to create. I'll substantially qualify that statement by saying that the TYPE of planemetric work we are typically asked to develop is nothing close to much of the street/road or topographical maps that are typical in the industry. However, drawing in bird's eye/oblique perspective is much, MUCH more time-consuming and difficult by comparison...in my 13+ years of designing maps professionally. It requires SO much math, inference, "artistic license" and knowing where to draw the line on detail! That's why I love it so much though...and why there aren't NEARLY as many of us "crazies" around. ;)

My "bone of contention" is people not considering the designs that people like you or I create "maps." It doesn't upset me related to industry member attitudes towards our firm's particular work...as the two opinions I care about far-above any others in my professional life (related to map design) are:

1. How I and the rest of our design team feel about the quality of our work. I guarantee that we'll never find tougher critics than ourselves, and every job we've ever done we've had to stop 15-20 steps short of where we wanted to take a design if we had more time/budget (or the client wasn't forcing certain design decisions).

2. How our clients and their constituents feel about the quality of our work.

All other opinions are secondary...and no amount of awards, back-patting or other accolades will ever change that. No...why the "those aren't maps" attitude FRUSTRATES me so much is simply the fact that I know a LOT of people who cannot easily navigate using traditional "map" designs. People treat them as being somehow "deficient" because they don't think in terms of "planemetric," "North," distances or street names. However, I continue to contend that the problem is, in fact, a failure to broaden one's view of the world and develop adequate tools to meet those MANY individuals where they are at.

If the written "history" or "tradition" of mapping is planemetric (and ONLY planemetric), then the written history/tradition of map design is wrong....or at the very-least incomplete. That's a very controversial statement, I know. I'm not trying to stir-up trouble or looking for a spirited debate. You shouldn't sell yourself short though in saying that what you create is not a "map"...as I'd be willing to bet a substantially large sum that a LOT of people could compare your creations to more-traditional planemetric map designs and find your work to do a MUCH better job of helping them figure out where they are...and where they are going. ;)
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

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#27
DaveB

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One thing that intrigues me a bit is the discussion that frames the question as "is it a map or is it not a map". As if it is an either/or binary question. I think it's probably like a lot of things we tend to classify on a binary basis and is really a continuum.

There was a NACIS presentation a few years ago (in Portland, Maine, if I remember correctly) where they talked about the "mapness" of various illustrations from children's books. The researchers wanted a way to classify mapness for their study and rated the illustrations/maps on a scale (1 to 10 or similar).

Given the various ways we can define maps, variations in background and outlook, and other factors (such as which "tradition/s" people come from - cartography, graphic arts, fine arts, etc., etc.) each individual's determination of where any given image falls on the mapness scale (however you define that scale) will vary.

Although, I think there will be some images almost everyone would agree are maps in the sense of being much closer to the map end of the scale. Maybe by some definitions Derek's and Jean-Louis' maps are not as close to the map end as the traditional planimetric maps, but they are certainly closer to that end than a landscape painting. I would say they are much closer to that end than Jasper John's works as well.

It seems Derek is arguing from the standpoint of usefulness, while Jean-Louis is defining mapness more from an artistic point of view. Derek's (and Jean-Louis') maps certainly help users of the maps navigate spaces by depicting those spaces in their spatial relationships. If that isn't a map I'm not sure I know what is. But then again, suppose you had a bunch of labels and no other features, but the labels were arranged in their proper spatial relationships and users could see if they go right they'll come to the thing represented by one label and if they go left they'll come to the thing represented by that label. Where would that fall on the scale of mapness?

Interesting discussion :)
Dave Barnes
Esri
Product Engineer
Map Geek

#28
Jean-Louis

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suppose you had a bunch of labels and no other features, but the labels were arranged in their proper spatial relationships and users could see if they go right they'll come to the thing represented by one label and if they go left they'll come to the thing represented by that label. Where would that fall on the scale of mapness?


Arent there a lot of maps like that such as the one below?.

Attached File  reso_08.gif   49.83KB   151 downloads
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#29
Jean-Louis

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Here is a little historical synopsis on this subject.-an exerpt from Wikipedia (which I wrote somewhat self-promotionally!) You can see the full article with pictures here http://en.wikipedia..../Pictorial_maps[

Basically it points out that the history of cartography is rooted in the pictorial artform but that eventually both will seperate into distinct traditions.

'In Medieval cartography, religious and historical ideas usually overshadowed accurate geographic proportions. A classic example of this is the T and O map which represented the three known continents in the form of a cross with Jerusalem at its center. The more precise art of illustrating detailed bird’s-eye-view urban landscapes flourished during the European Renaissance. As emerging trade centers such as Venice began to prosper, local rulers commissioned artists to develop pictorial overviews of their towns to help them organize trade fairs and direct the increasing flow of visiting merchants.

Later, during the Age of Exploration, maps became progressively more accurate for navigation needs and were often sprinkled with sketches and drawings such as sailing ships showing the direction of trade winds, little trees and mounds to represent forests and mountains and of course, plenty of sea creatures and exotic natives much of them imaginary. As the need for geographical accuracy increased, these illustrations gradually slipped off the map and onto the borders and eventually disappeared altogether in the wake of modern scientific cartography.

As cartography evolved, the pictorial art form went its own way and regained popularity in the 19th century with the development of the railroads...'

From what I have been able to see, there are only maybe 10 to 20 of us 'crazies'( as Derek rightfully calls us) worldwide who carry on the older tradition with a degree of seriousness. I am not counting the legions of cheap cartoon-style advertizing 'maps' that come and go. Maybe there are a few rare purists who dont consider that tradition to be 'maps' but so what. That's their problem - like some of the born-yesterday Evangelicals who dont consider the Catholic Church to be Christian! I snub them more than they snub me. And besides, there is a lot of stuff that I snub myself as 'not a map' like that Mickey Mouse one which started this discussion. As you point out Derek, illustrated maps are much more difficult to execute and the success and quality of your Mapformation company is the best riposte to those you refer to.
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#30
DaveB

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suppose you had a bunch of labels and no other features, but the labels were arranged in their proper spatial relationships and users could see if they go right they'll come to the thing represented by one label and if they go left they'll come to the thing represented by that label. Where would that fall on the scale of mapness?


Arent there a lot of maps like that such as the one below?.


Ah, but that does have features (roads). Even so, is it a map? Or where on the continuum of map to image might it fall? :)
The London Underground map is very diagrammatic, but it shows spatial relations and helps many people navigate those spaces.

Very good article on wikipedia (even if it does have pictures that may or may not be maps :P ).
Dave Barnes
Esri
Product Engineer
Map Geek




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