What is Cartography?

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 4, 2022, 13:37

Since time immemorial, maps have played a pivotal role in human life. Had it not been for maps, we might not have found many countries in the world. Cartography refers to the art of designing, drawing, and studying maps. Dive deep to know what is cartography in geography and who is known as the father of modern cartography.

What is Cartography in Geography?

Cartography, a.k.a. Mapmaking, refers to the practice and study of drawing and designing maps. A cartographer uses various skills, including scientific knowledge, artistic skills, graphic talents, and product generation, to design maps. Cartographers must also understand the principles of designing and compilation, besides a knack for geographical and mathematical calculations.

In yesteryear, mapmaking was a complex art since cartographers had to rely on manual, analogue tools to draw maps. However, with digital tools replacing analogue methods, mapmaking has now become much easier. Modern-day cartographers can create dynamic, eye-catchy, and interactive maps within a few hours or less. They may also use 3D (Three-Dimensional) models while formatting, symbolising, drafting, editing, proofing, and finishing the map.

Modern-day cartography is more than simply drawing maps. Nowadays, cartography involves data capturing, data manipulation, visual display, and image processing. This has opened a new era of mapmaking - computer-assisted mapping. In fact, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a subset of computer-assisted mapping, has brought maps to our fingertips. GIS uses advanced technological features to let us see everything from 3D oceanic base maps to getting information about the nearest laundry. Google Maps is a classic example of GIS.

History of Cartography

To understand how modern cartography evolved, we have to go back to the 7th century BC, when the first map was discovered in a cave wall painting. However, the first published world map is believed to be created by the Greek philosopher Anaximander.

It was not until the 15th century that cartography evolved as a separate discipline in geography. The 15th century is also known as the Age of Exploration because many major types of equipment used till today were invented in that era. Some of those discoveries include the compass, telescope, and sextant.

Over the following centuries, cartography witnessed many ups and downs. But, with the advent of geospatial technology, such as Google Earth, cartography entered a new era.

Father of Cartography

Modern-day cartography had its origin in the Age of Exploration in the 15th century. And, if you want to know what cartography is in geography, you must know about Gerardus Mercator. He is rightly considered the father of modern cartography. Some of his inventions and techniques of mapmaking are still used by cartographers.

Gerardus Mercator, the founder of the Netherlandish school of cartography and geography, was born in 1512 and left for his heavenly abode in 1594. He is one of the most notable cartographers of this era. Besides cartography, he had a keen interest in geography, calligraphy, engraving, and cosmography. Gerardus Mercator is the world's first cartographer to create a comprehensive world map in 1569. His projection of sailing courses of rhumb lines (constant bearing) as straight lines is still used in nautical charts. He also published prepared the Atlas of 1595, a collection of more than 100 regional maps.

Cartography had undergone a paradigm change from when it was first launched. Thanks to technological innovations, cartographers can draw precise diagrams and maps to make life easy for us.

More Current Affair Topics
Udyam Sarathi AppUS Open Tennis Champions
Vertical and Horizontal ReservationsWorld Pest Day
World Risk IndexAnti-Tobacco Day
Bank Holidays in IndiaImportant Days in January
Masala BondsNational Safety Day

FAQs on What is Cartography

Q.1) What is Cartography in Geography?

Cartography is Geography refers to the art of designing, drawing, and studying maps.

Q.2) Who is the father of cartography?

Gerardus Mercator, the founder of the Netherlandish school of cartography and geography, is considered the father of modern-day cartography.

Q.3) What does a cartographer do?

A cartographer uses various skills, including scientific knowledge, artistic skills, graphic talents, and product generation, to design maps.