Maps and Cartography

Maps and cartography are essential tools in geography that enable us to visualize and understand the Earth’s surface and its features.

Cartography is the art and science of creating maps, which involves the use of sophisticated technology and techniques to accurately represent the Earth’s physical and cultural features.

Maps provide a visual representation of the world, allowing us to identify patterns, explore spatial relationships, and navigate through unfamiliar terrain.

Shaded relief map of the world showing the five major lines of latitude.

Latitude and Longitude

Caitlin Dempsey

Learn more about lines you see on a map running east-west and north-south called latitude and longitude.

World map created in 1514 by Oronce Fine (1494–1555) who was one of the first French scholars to work with cartography.

Cordiform: Heart-Shaped Map Projections

Caitlin Dempsey

Heart shaped map projections are known as cordiform map projections which is derived from the Latin "cor" for heart and form for shape.

A person in a control room with computer monitors that display a world map tracking Santa Claus's journey, including an image of Santa in his sleigh pulled by reindeer.

How to Track Santa Claus in 2023

Caitlin Dempsey

Learn about the history of tracking Santa's Christmas travels and how to follow Santa using NORAD's app.

Map of Oklahoma showing the incidence of fracking and earthquakes.

How Mapping Software Helps Us Analyze Earthquakes


Mapping software can help us observe trends in earthquakes, identify areas of high earthquake prevalence, and explore relationships between earthquakes and other phenomena.

This map shows city locations symbolized based on population sizes using graduated circles. Map: Caitlin Dempsey

What are Graduated Symbols in GIS?

Caitlin Dempsey

Graduated symbols is one way of visualizing data that can be quantified on a map in GIS.

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