Tectonics of cartography
Keywords: Topographic maps, Thematic maps, Atlas, Map-drawing, Graphic design
Abstract. Probably by dint of seductive appearances and overflowing passion for cartography, by dint of instant accessibility to all kind of maps and any graphic representations commonly called ‘maps’ and finally by dint of confusions between what is an IMAGE and what is a DATA, everyone forgets that, at the dawn of a cartographic project, ‘THE MAP STILL DOESN’T EXIST’. For it to exist, a scope of collective work and essential skills are necessary. First of all, the aim of a mapping project must be identified. Its specifications, statement of requirements, its schedule of conditions must be sealed by a contract between an orderer and a cartographer.
The objective of this presentation is to recall how a keyboard is neither a magic thought nor a magic wand. Clicking on it will never finalize our work without us, cartographers, but engages us to follow series of timeless execution process over the entire duration of the cartographic production, in anticipating each action.
Our work consists in making every effort, by all the necessary technical and human means, to gather the knowledge of a subject (or several) to ‘Map-draw’ with the ultimate goal of returning this acquired knowledge to the readers. Their eye has to find at first glance the information sought. Indeed, the more beautiful and easier to grasp the map is, the more it will be consulted with pleasure.
Through a range of cartographic memories, the following characteristic examples of out-of-standard cartographic productions will detail the pertinence of this meticulous cartographical articulation.