Map not for map’s sake


Technology and demand for higher technology made most mapmakers too engrossed or absorbed with the seemingly unrelenting pursuit on what features and aesthetics are to be contained in just one map. Subtely, more complexity in data processing and providing an exceptional output from it is merited to gain more interest and approval than less complex maps. However, as the famous saying goes, “less is more,” it should also be equally acclaimed and perhaps even more distinguished when maps that depict actual places are drawn out in a different and yet significant perspective.

A map of Jerusalem originally illustrated in 1570 by Peter Laicksteen and Christian Grooten can express it as a place, not because second-hand information or arithmetical data is provided for that container, but is indeed a space filled with meaning; thus, a place. The more recent artists who re-drew this map for a book entited ‘Civitates Orbis Terrarum’ were Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg in 1578. The technique used on this map by the original sketchers was copper engraving while the later artists copied it through hand color.

Without advanced data collecting and processing of the attributes of both small and large scaled places, one is to depend on what is seen, ultimately utilizing one’s cognitive map. This map of Jerusalem might be utilized merely for decorative puposes but actually laying out history of the place and locating paths and structures that were once where. Any reader and even non-reader may take part in the information held by this particular type of map since it is not enclosed with rigid figures and fixed facts but instead is open for a rational reading from whomever; hence, its objective is satisfatorily achieved.

A rare and ancient map like this can be improved in many ways for further reading. Basic map elements such as title, legend, north arrow, scale, labels, and approprite aesthetics are essential and fundamental to any map including this. The image on the right lowermost part of the map can be quite distracting if it is not inclined with the map’s essence. It is also noteworthy to use not too much words and descriptions  which are also out of a modern map’s traditional order that seeks to make a map-reader’s vision unscattered.

A map not for map’s sake but for place’s sake which benefit most those who identify with that place should be the key mapmaking technology.

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