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Tharp with an undersea map at her desk. Rolled sonar profiles of the ocean floor are on the shelf behind her. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the estate of Marie Tharp

Marie Tharp pioneered mapping the bottom of the ocean 6 decades ago – scientists are still learning about Earth’s last frontier

Born on July 30, 1920, geologist and cartographer Tharp changed scientific thinking about what lay at the bottom of the ocean – not a featureless flat, but rugged and varied terrain.
Three very different maps, using the same deprivation data, for the same place: Hartlepool, UK. Samuel Langton/MMU, using OS Data © Crown copyright 2019.

Even the most beautiful maps can be misleading

When mapping deprivation, using traditional boundaries can distort the data and distract readers from important information.
Maps can be a tool in the defense of Indigenous communities against extractive industries. Canadian Centre for Architecture; Grant Tigner, painter. Seagrams Limited, publisher. The St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project, in The St. Lawrence Seaway: The Realization of a Mighty Dream, 1954.

Using maps as a weapon to resist extractive industries on Indigenous territories

Historically, western corporate maps have been privileged over Indigenous ones. But given the essential debate of territory in resource conflicts, maps are a crucial tool.
When did the name ‘Australia’ first appear on a map? It may be much earlier than historians had previously believed. Phillip Clarke

Putting ‘Australia’ on the map

Matthew Flinders, who died just over 200 years ago, is widely credited with giving this country its name: Australia. Flinders preferred Australia to the more commonly used Terra Australis as he thought…

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