Cartography—the discipline of making maps—has a long and rich history. It’s tools and techniques have been well developed over hundreds of years, arguably thousands of years. Today, mapping is experiencing a clear ascendancy, with numerous (digital) tools enabling the mediation of all kinds of spatially-referenced data.
This resurgence is made possible by the increasing number of readily available (democratised) tools for the practice of mapping, such as Mapbox, Leaflet, Kartograph, CARTO and numerous other libraries and frameworks. We also have access to unprecedented levels of data, often projected on top of Google Maps and the open source project, OpenStreetMap.
It has become clear that there is significant transformation taking place and it’s been necessary to (re)define cartography over and over again as technology advances. It’s become fundamental to many new disciplines and fields such as spatial information design, communicative environments, landscape urbanism and geo-visualisation. However, many seem to have forgone the historical and theoretical lessons of cartography—realising ‘new’ approaches and techniques that are in fact not new at all—but 10/10 for effort and promoting mapping.
When Jason first trained as a cartographer, he learnt to create maps by hand with rOtring and Staedtler pens, rub-down lettering, self-adhesive tints, patterns and tapes—even scribing film. Technology has made workflow so much easier these days, releasing you of all those tightly constrained production and reproduction restrictions, but more importantly, enabling endless representational opportunities!
It’s a great time to be creating maps!
What maps could Jason produce for you? In a nutshell, anything—just ask. From simple business location maps to complex transport infrastructure networks; decorative rural estate plans to city-wide pedestrian wayfinding maps; and choropleth maps to ‘big data’ map-based visualisations. The maps find homes in books, on street signs and on digital devices. Almost any media can be a substrate for reproduction, from water-proof non-tearing paper to vitreous enamelled metal panels.