"Hello all...Thank you for the welcome, I'm glad to have found this great forum. I'm sorry I missed the chat unfolding here. I was on deadline for the final edit of a big piece from my previous project and had to step away from cartography. Now I'm back though and excited to jump in.
I recently came across a cartographer in an article who said that no map is made apolitically, or without an agenda. That is to say, even if the cartographer is simply acting as an agent working for a commission, the motivations behind that commission (from the client) are geared towards an agenda of some kind. This idea intrigues me, that even the most basic and rudimentary maps--of the kinds Hans van der Maarel mentioned--are created w/ some particular ambition. As I'm sure many of you know, maps have been integral parts of disputes throughout history, often within land disputes, but also within disputes over what a comprises a space, and who or what lives there.
An argument can be made against this idea that all maps exist b/c of an agenda, but it's fascinating to think that it might be true. Especially since so many people now use maps, and are as dependent as they've ever been on maps to sort out all this data we have, as you guys mentioned already.
Maybe i should bring this discussion over to the general topic threads, but I wonder what some of you think about Google's agenda w/ their maps. Do you detect agendas from the design of Gmaps? Of course they want their maps to be used by the biggest # of people--more users means bigger ad revenue. But do you think there are additional motivations behind their cartographic decisions? Is it in their interest to not indulge in the craft of robust map making? I think I saw someone here refer to Gmaps as cartographic fast food. That fascinates me--that so many people lean heavily on a fast food map diet to navigate their worlds.)"
I wanted to put that here and ask the board, what do you think Google's agenda is w/ map making? And has that impacted the field as a whole?