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Geography   >   Cartography

An Introduction to Cartography

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In this course, Dr Alex Kent (Canterbury Christ Church University) explores the world of cartography. In the first module we introduce maps, what they show, and why we still need them with a modern day example. The second module looks at a crucial aspect of map reading, scale. We define the difference between large and small scale maps, how scale can be expressed, and finish with how to use scale to calculate the distance between two points on a map. In the third module we turn to looking at coordinates and reference systems, covering the global coordinate system, then focusing more on UK map systems such as Ordnance Survey and finishing up with contour lines and map symbology. In the fourth and final module we discuss how graduated symbology is used in mapping as well as choropleth maps and some of their downsides.

An Introduction to Cartography

In this module, we delve into the multifaceted nature of maps. We cover: (i) examples of maps ranging from depicting physical features like Mount Everest to practical navigational aids such as the London underground tube map; (ii) the role of maps in simplifying and interpreting complex data, illustrating how they provide valuable insights into various phenomena, including the spread of COVID-19 and geological formations; (iii) how maps not only represent spatial information but also convey environmental factors and historical events, serving as powerful tools for comprehending and communicating complex realities using Minard's depiction of Napoleon's campaing in Russia as an example; (iv) the importance of maps in aiding understanding, navigation, and disaster relief efforts, citing initiatives like OpenStreetMap as crucial tools for creating and updating maps in inaccessible or disaster-affected regions.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Kent, A. (2024, April 25). Cartography - An Introduction to Cartography [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Kent, A. "Cartography – An Introduction to Cartography ." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 25 Apr 2024,

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Dr Alex Kent

Dr Alex Kent

Canterbury Christ Church University