Jump to content

 
Photo

Greenland Ice Mapping error

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1
Martin Gamache

Martin Gamache

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 980 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC
  • Interests:History of Topographic Cartography
    Topographic Mapping
    History of Relief Depiction
    Thematic Cartography
    Demographic Cartography
    Cartographic techniques, methods, and tools
    Orienteering
    Panoramic & Kite Photography
  • United States

Our map librarian brought this to my attention.
http://news.sciencem...ists.html?rss=1

This is a good example why it's critical for cartographers to have a grounding in science, geography, mathematics and not just an interest in design and making pretty maps. It's also a strong argument for taking time to research and develop a good understanding of the subject matter being mapped and for good editing including reaching out to external reviewers who are subject matter experts. All of which might of helped avoid this colossal error.

#2
bally

bally

    Newbie

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • Canada

I've just come across this strange story at The Guardian website:

Times Atlas is 'wrong on Greenland climate change'

Nutshell version: The map's hypsometric tinting of Greenland's ice cover is terrifyingly inaccurate!

I've been a lurker for some time now and hope this isn't inappropriate. I wonder if anyone has more information on this situation. Or an opinion to share.

#3
frax

frax

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,309 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stockholm, Sweden
  • Interests:music, hiking, friends, nature, photography, traveling. and maps!
  • Sweden

Bally, I merged your post into this one. The link that Martin posted has more detail about the problem!
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
Twitter

#4
Jacques Gélinas

Jacques Gélinas

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 104 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Gatineau (Québec)
  • Canada

Martin's point is of out most importance to all map makers out there. Just slapping data together and making it pretty is not acceptable. Errors do happen (the reason for disclaimers) but validating the content of the map is part of good craftsmanship. And that takes time and resources.

Jacques Gélinas
cartographer
www.cartesgeo.ca


#5
Charles Syrett

Charles Syrett

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 537 posts
  • Canada

That's the approach I call "data dump mapping". It's been spreading like a cancer, and it's now hitting even the most reputable cartographic houses. Even if you didn't question the glaciation -- just look at the Greenland shoreline. Far too much detail for the scale. What ever happened to generalization? Is it not taught as part of the cartographic process any more?

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com


Martin's point is of out most importance to all map makers out there. Just slapping data together and making it pretty is not acceptable. Errors do happen (the reason for disclaimers) but validating the content of the map is part of good craftsmanship. And that takes time and resources.



#6
David Medeiros

David Medeiros

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,085 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Redwood City CA
  • Interests:Cartography, wood working, wooden boats, fishing, camping, overland travel, exploring.
  • United States

What ever happened to generalization? Is it not taught as part of the cartographic process any more?

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com


It is not, as far as I can tell. To exacerbate the dwindling use of abstraction and generalization in map making is the increased likeliness that a GIS based map maker will regard those processes as counter to maintaining "data integrity" . It's a somewhat naive approach to making maps that seems more and more common as map makers with only GIS-to-publication map experience are emerging in the industry. The real issue for those who care about stuff like this is that as far as the general map consumer is concerned it's a matter of eventually not knowing what you're missing.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#7
ELeFevre

ELeFevre

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,049 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Louisville, Colorado USA
  • Interests:Cartography, musical instruments, reading, hiking, craft beer
  • United States

This is what happens when you don't understand the context of a source-map and you fail to verify the information. If you read the entire article, NSIDC, the science institution who produced the map in 2001, stated that the map was only showing "the thickest" ice sheets and that smaller peripheral sheets were excluded. In other words, the source-map map was generalized. Why H.C. didn't contact NSIDC and ask a few basic questions is beyond me. Unfortunately this type of mistake makes it much more difficult for legit science institutions operate.



#8
Bogdanovits

Bogdanovits

    Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Melbourne
  • Interests:map history
  • Australia

Our map librarian brought this to my attention.
http://news.sciencem...ists.html?rss=1

This is a good example why it's critical for cartographers to have a grounding in science, geography, mathematics and not just an interest in design and making pretty maps. It's also a strong argument for taking time to research and develop a good understanding of the subject matter being mapped and for good editing including reaching out to external reviewers who are subject matter experts. All of which might of helped avoid this colossal error.

I think it's part of the new religion ... named 'Climate Change'
Compulsory from our leaders " I beleive in climate change..."
If you have an overview in mapping history, the maps are alvays the base of new taxes, wars and colonisation.
And we (cartographers) are doing these maps. We are representing what we are payd for.
Any similarities with reality is a mere coincidence. :-)

Andras

#9
rudy

rudy

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 739 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Canada
  • Canada

It would be interesting to see if the same treatment was applied to glaciers outside of Greenland.

True - cartographers should know more than just how to make a pretty map but I daresay that often times we are working in a knowledge vacuum: "Here's what we want mapped, show this, show that, now put it all together. And we need it next week." How would our clients react if we started questioning their supposedly professional knowledge and judgement? Not to say that we should - or shouldn't. Just raising the question.

#10
Charles Syrett

Charles Syrett

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 537 posts
  • Canada

David, I think you've nailed it. The old process is fading out. Before GIS made everything appear to be so easy, cartographers had to really work to create their product. Now anyone can appear to make a map which, to the user's eye, appears just fine. In fact, more generalized maps will, over time, look less "correct" as people get used to seeing data dump products.

I always understood that compilation, editing, and generalizing were the essence of the cartographic process. If you're just expected to dump data and then pretty it up, then the result isn't much more than a photo with annotation.

There was a time (even quite recently) when under-generalization was viewed as a beginner's error in cartography. Now, it seems, it's a sign of "data integrity".

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

What ever happened to generalization? Is it not taught as part of the cartographic process any more?

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com


It is not, as far as I can tell. To exacerbate the dwindling use of abstraction and generalization in map making is the increased likeliness that a GIS based map maker will regard those processes as counter to maintaining "data integrity" . It's a somewhat naive approach to making maps that seems more and more common as map makers with only GIS-to-publication map experience are emerging in the industry. The real issue for those who care about stuff like this is that as far as the general map consumer is concerned it's a matter of eventually not knowing what you're missing.



#11
Martin Gamache

Martin Gamache

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 980 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC
  • Interests:History of Topographic Cartography
    Topographic Mapping
    History of Relief Depiction
    Thematic Cartography
    Demographic Cartography
    Cartographic techniques, methods, and tools
    Orienteering
    Panoramic & Kite Photography
  • United States

Additional info:
http://www.realclima...nland-meltdown/

#12
frax

frax

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,309 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stockholm, Sweden
  • Interests:music, hiking, friends, nature, photography, traveling. and maps!
  • Sweden

On cartographic process - one of the most important steps is 'review'!
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
Twitter

#13
Jacques Gélinas

Jacques Gélinas

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 104 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Gatineau (Québec)
  • Canada

I agree with Frax,

Normally, as a cartographer you sign your work and IMO you are in large part responsible for the content of the map, regardless who you are doing it for.

Jacques Gélinas
cartographer
www.cartesgeo.ca


#14
Martin Gamache

Martin Gamache

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 980 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC
  • Interests:History of Topographic Cartography
    Topographic Mapping
    History of Relief Depiction
    Thematic Cartography
    Demographic Cartography
    Cartographic techniques, methods, and tools
    Orienteering
    Panoramic & Kite Photography
  • United States

More details on the errors:
http://www.spri.cam....timesatlas.html

#15
Martin Gamache

Martin Gamache

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 980 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC
  • Interests:History of Topographic Cartography
    Topographic Mapping
    History of Relief Depiction
    Thematic Cartography
    Demographic Cartography
    Cartographic techniques, methods, and tools
    Orienteering
    Panoramic & Kite Photography
  • United States

http://www.harpercol...th-edition.aspx

"The one thing that is very apparent is that there is no clarity in the scientific and cartographic community on this issue but we have been consulting widely over the last week with experts in the field and have received a good response and support with new sources and data.

This most up-to-date information from all the latest sources would be a positive outcome. If the controversy about the Times Atlas encourages scientists to come together and clarify some of the confusion about our climate and how it is changing, the outcome will help the general public, and indeed all of us, better understand this complex issue."



Seems to me the only confused party here were HC cartographers. The attempt to blame the scientific community is rather shameful. HC should own up for the mistake in no ambiguous way and make corrections. Looks like a new plate will be inserted in unsold editions, however it seems unprofessional and unfortunate that they can't take responsibility for their error.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

-->