|Cartographer Pietro Vesconte 1318 Source: 1318 Visconte Atlas|
"(from Greek Χάρτης, khartes = papyrus (paper) and graphein = to write) is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively." (For the full Wikipedia treatment click on the word CARTOGRAPHY above).
The real start of Cartography as an organized profession built around the arts and sciences related to chart and map making was the "School "of Henry the Navigator of Portugal. The Italians may have started earlier with a less centralized effort, and the English and Spanish ran parallel efforts with lots of government involvement but Henry's "School" (more like a cartographic intelligence center) really started not only navigation and cartography down the path of organized arts and sciences but is also usually cited as the start of formal organization of that entire body of knowledge we call "the nautical arts and sciences".
Image of Henry the Navigator form the 1470 Panels of St. Vincent We have noticed that some of our most visited blog posts have been posts that contained Cartographic elements. The most noticeable is reprinted below. It was simply a lead in and hyperlink to a Washington Post feature that allowed viewers to look at world maps with a variety of overlays of information including political and economic. In our Oceanography section some features that we considered "infotainment" also include strong cartographic features. Site visitors are still clicking in to our site simply looking for our link to the Washington Post's "40 Maps" feature though it has been months since we first posted it. That forced me to think about cartography and my own maritime career. As Coast Guardsman and Merchant Marine Officer I mostly was a "consumer" of navigation charts, using them to assist me in getting the various vessels I was in charge of from point A to Point B. The only marks I ever made on a chart were pencil corrections and updates from NOAA's Notices to Mariners.
But things changed when I entered an admiralty law firm as an investigator. I found my self sort of reversing my navigational skills in exercises best described as "forensic navigation", then found myself being asked to create chart or map like trial exhibits for the presentation of my forensic navigation findings. Later as a federal maritime analyst I often found myself doing the same thing for "illustrations" in reports of investigation or audit. In talking with paralegals in a variety of legal specialty areas I find that the production of chart or map like exhibits is quite common. It is hard to convey spatial information using only words. Graphics are needed and the most organized, standardized, and information dense form is the map or nautical chart. The skill set that produces these many and varied graphic presentations of spatial information is called Cartography and we think it is a gift of the maritime world to the world at large. We also have discovered that it is a skill set often needed by a variety of occupations that don't start out in the nautical arts and sciences like lawyers and paralegals, and illustrators. Often these folks literally have to learn the skills while actually working on their first exhibit or illustrative project involving spatial data. Thanks to the interest of so many of our visitors in these types of blog posts we realize that we should have a cartography section. Such things don't happen over night. For the time being we would direct our visitors in search of cartographic information to click into our "NAVIGATION" page where we are immediately starting a Cartographic sub section. Many thanks for your input.
Johnas Presbyter, Editor
Johnas Presbyter, Editor
LOOK TO OUR NAVIGATION PAGE FOR MORE CARTOGRAPHIC INFORMATION
FROM THE WASHINGTON POST: 40 MAPS THAT EXPLAIN A GREAT DEAL ABOUT THE WORLD IN A GLANCE ALONG WITH LINKS THAT EXPLAIN A GREAT DEAL MORE.
At first glance what we are about to link you to doesn't seem very maritime in character. But we consider cartography very much a nautical professional endeavor. Henry the Navigator turned it into a science. It occupies a great deal of the effort of the NOAA Corps, a uniformed naval service we have introduced you to on occasion. All mariners work with navigation charts, a form of map. We had a great deal of fun with this site and we learned a few things. So here is a link, we recommend spending a little time with this site. It may painlessly change your world view. Click on the link below: