glossary of terms in map history


Analytical Cartography

A particular subfield of post-war academic cartography, especially championed in the USA by Waldo Tobler, focused on the mathematical analysis of the structures of spatial information (MHT). It emerged from the specific analyses of map projections and their spatial distortions and developed as a basis for computer cartography and eventually geographical information science.

Analytical Mapping

The mapping mode concerned with visualizing and analyzing distributions of phenomena in the natural and social worlds.

Several other terms have been used for the products of scientific investigation of the world, all of which stress their difference from “regular” “locational” maps. Some German commentators in the eighteenth century called the first manifestations of analytical mapping, “curious” maps. In the early twentieth century, Max Eckert referred to them as “abstract” maps—as opposed to “concrete” maps—and later as “applied” maps. Nikolaus Creutzberg began to call such maps ¶“thematic” in the 1930s, and successfully pushed the term in the 1950s. Yet, absent a clear and concise definition, “thematic” has been widely applied to any map “with a theme” … which is to say to any map. “Thematic” therefore not only lacks any explanatory power, it also serves to reinforce the ideal of ¶cartography1 by supposing the existence of non-thematic maps that are “general-purpose” maps that are simply reductions of the world.