Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Cartography: Introduction, Development and Use

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION Cartography is the creation and the study of maps and charts - the difference being that maps apply to land and charts are for marine areas. It has a long tradition going back at least 4000 years; inextricably tied to geography for most of its development, in the 20th century it has diversified as it becomes more relevant in an increasingly digital modern world. In the first part, students are introduced to the theoretical and evolutionary concept of cartography as an embodiment all the application of geographical skills. The evolution of cartography from its early primitive form to the highly sophisticated contemporary product of today's digital era will be explained, covering the key development aspects of cartography and highlighting the symbiotic relationship that existed between the creation of the maps and the social-political, economic and technological landscape lived by the map makers and maps users. Melitensia cartography will represent an important case-study in this part.

In the second part, the study-unit will cover the main aspects of cartometry and spatial techniques to infer and interpret spatial data. It will provide more comprehensive information about the map as a measurement-based model and will cover from the application of basic cartometric skills (such as measurements from maps and their link with reality through map scale) to those of more advanced and mathematical techniques used in data interpretation and representation.

The concept of mapping accuracy and accuracy standards; the different types of projections and their implications for mapping outputs; examples of map orientation; symbolisation in respect to both qualitative and quantitative representations; visual variables of colour, including the psychology of colour and its application to colour schemes in mapping; discrete data in graphical form; generalisation techniques in mapping; the use of choropleth, isometric and dasymetric mapping; cartographic design of flowmaps and cartograms.

Study-unit Aims:

1. To introduce the concept of cartography and its relevance and importance in the evolution of geographic thinking and skills application;
2. To familiarise students with key developments of cartography in historic times;
3. To comprehend the mathematical roots related to the measurement techniques used in cartometry;
4. To enable students to develop viewing and evaluation skills of mapping mediums.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. explain how cartography is the embodiment of many geographic theoretical and cartographic skills, with reference key cartographic literature;
2. describe the major milestones surrounding the evolution of cartography through the ages, using key European and Mediterranean cartographic examples;
3. connect between the map and the social, political, economic and technological landscape that it represents;
4. learn what are the basic cartographic tools and mediums, through practicals;
5. Interpret key mapping concepts of accuracy, orientation, scale, projections, data representation through use of colour, symbolization and design.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. develop cartographic literacy of selected cartographic examples by comparing and analyzing key mapping features;
2. make critical evaluation of maps of different periods by using case-studies of key cartographic productions that have developed through the ages.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Harley J.B., Woodward D. 1987. Cartography in Pre-Historic, Ancient and Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean, The History of Cartography Series, Volume 1. The University of Chicago Press (Open access as pdf)
- Thrower N.J.W. 2008. Maps and Civilisation, Cartography in Culture and Society, 3rd Edition.

Supplementary Texts:

- Robinson, A.H., Morrison, J.L., Muehrcke, P.C., Kimerling, A.J. and Guptill, S.C. 1995. Elements of Cartography, 6th edition. Wiley.
- Slocum, T.A., McMaster, R.B., Kessler, F.C. and Howard, H.H. 2008. Thematic Cartography and Geovisualization, 3rd edition. Prentice Hall.
- Ross, S. 2003. Basic Mapwork Skills. Nelson Thornes Ltd.
- Kimerling, A.J., Buckley, A.R., Muehrcke, P.C. and Muehrcke, J.O. 2009. Map Use: Reading and Analysis, 6th edition. ESRI Press.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Ritienne Gauci

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.