How we map landscape

So far we have seen that there are many different ways of seeing landscape, and that different people notice different things when they regard a landscape. We each consider different elements of the landscape to be important. If each of us were to represent a landscape with a description, or a drawing, or in some other way, we would choose to emphasise different things. So if we each drew a map, our maps would be very different.

What we include in a map is partly a matter of deliberate choice, based on what we think is important about the landscape that we are representing and on want to convey through the map, which in turn depends partly on the intended audience.

For example Harry Beck's seminal and iconic London Tube Map is a very selective representation of London designed specifically for one particular set of users.

What we include is also partly determined (and often limited) by what we actually notice in, or know about, the landscape that we are representing. It is therefore not only a matter of choice but also of perception, so we can read from the map not so much what the world is like but what the map-maker's view of the world is like.

Maps are central to the Geographer's view of the world, and lie at the interface between Geography and Art. There is a huge literature in this area, and we will return to it elsewhere in this site.

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