How have maps communicated up until now? (21st Century) ESSAY

Unit 12 Essay Criteria



What to consider and potentially research:



Breaking my Essay down:

  • How maps came about, Initial meaning behind them.
  • How maps were used and how they are used currently
  • Cartography
  • Audience
  • Technological factors
  • Manx Maps – Alice Quayle
  • Vermeer paintings
  • Historical/Environmental/Political perspectives.


A map can tell where you’ve been, where your going or where you are in the world we know, or a specific vicinity in that matter. Really quite phenomenally astounding if you think about it, the process of how they have substantially augmented and elaborated within such a short time period is mind boggling. Maps are created by using the method of surveying or of triangulation. Humans have been sketching and producing a means of understanding their surroundings to attain geographic knowledge for over a millennium.

Adventurers, explorers and geographers such as Christopher Columbus and the likes of George Everest are a few of many people to influencing cartographic imagery with guided help from early Greek scholars making up of astronomers/philosophers/scientists such as Ptolemy (who brought a major contribution to the topic of cartography, prototyping modern mapping with his ‘Geographia’ eight-volume atlas) Aristotle, Copernicus, Miletus, Herodotus and Galileo are other ancient Greeks who influenced many peoples views and concepts of our surrounding world, and beyond the world we know. On the topic of Columbus, the Italian explorer was accredited for being the first European to reach North America, when in fact historic sagas tell otherwise – making historians question who actually came across the land first. ‘Vinland, Vineland or Winland (Old Norse: Vínland) is the area of coastal North America explored by Norse Vikings, where Leif Erikson first landed in ca. 1000, approximately five centuries prior to the voyages of Christopher Columbus and John Cabot.’

‘The earliest Greek known to have made a map of the world was Anaximander. In 6th century BC, he drew a map of the then known world, assuming that the earth was cylindrical. The first Greek to draw a world map using the assumption of a spherical earth was Eratosthenes’. Although after doing some background research studies apparently show archaeologists have discovered what they believe is man’s earliest map, dating from almost 14,000 years ago, which is amazing. (Eratosthenes shown below on the left and Anaximander’ on the right)



Diplomatic and sometimes military defense tensions between communities and citizenry have said to arose due to the mapped out provinces or borders provided my Google Maps. Costa Rica had a surprise visit from Nicaraguan militaries whilst they crossed the Costa Rican border in 2010 assuming that the Google Maps cartography was authentic and accurate when it in fact wasn’t proven by  evidence from an old treaty between the two countries. ‘This Google Maps’ mistake “reignited a long-standing border dispute that, with a few miscalculations, could have led to a real war, ” according to The New York Times.’ This point displayed above has had controversy within our world since the indigenous peoples started labeling and working out provinces of land.

Some people think maps original purpose was for nautical navigation, this doesn’t sound wrong or incorrect as sailors needed to get from one place to another and recognise a route. On the other hand you would think the route could only be mapped and dialogued once an explorer like Christopher Columbus came a long and gathered nautical coordinates and an idea of where to go. But in fact the demeanor and purpose within maps has changed diversely over time, and can in fact have multiple purposes. If you think back to ‘pirate times’ the map was jotted and planned, and the pirates followed nautical and land directions which supposedly led them to the treasure chest! Maps could even be used as a secrecy passed down to only those who are meant to see it, where an individual becomes the map maker and plots a route for a specific person to unravel.

‘Physical map: Physical maps display the physical features of a place, including land and water features such as mountains, plains, rivers, and oceans. Physical maps utilize colors to differentiate between various physical features as well as the elevations of those features, although for understanding elevation, topographic maps are much more useful. Topographic map: Topographic maps also display physical features, using contour lines instead of color to show changes in the landscape, such as elevation. The spacing of contour lines are even and help differentiate between steep and flat features; for example, a mountain may have many closely knit contour lines to show steepness and a high elevation, whereas flatlands may have spread apart contour lines to show flatness and a low elevation. Road map: Road maps are used to show highways and roads with varying levels of detail, as well as important natural and manmade locations such as connecting cities or national parks. Road maps also differentiate between the sizes of roads; for example, a national highway would likely be wide and red, whereas a smaller road would be narrow and grey. Climate map: Climate maps convey information about the climate conditions of an area, including temperature and precipitation. Climate maps are also usually color-coded to differentiate between various climate zones, such as mediterranean or tundra climates. Political map: Political maps are used to display artificial boundaries such as state or national borders, as well as cities and sometimes bodies of water. Political maps are often color-coded to differentiate between different countries or states. Economic map: Economic maps display the arrangement of natural resources and economic activity within a place. Economic maps are usually color-coded to differentiate between the various resources or economic activity present within the place.’


google maps:


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