Geographic Information System/Cartography

A map is a way of representing our world, based on the knowledge and culture of the mapping society at a particular time in history. The purpose of a map is to transmit knowledge visually. Maps are often considered to be one of the three major modes of communication.

A cartographer is someone who designs and prepares a map for distribution. Cartographers are trained professionals in the field of cartography which is the art and science of making maps. Cartographers also study the philosophical and theoretical bases of the rules for making maps.

Cartography is a professional field that has existed for hundreds of years, and it takes cartographers many years of apprenticeship to become skilled at their craft. However, with today's computer technology allowing us to quickly manipulate, analyze, and visualize spatial information, map-making is now being shared by professionals outside of cartography. Therefore, it is important that any user of a GIS be trained in cartography so that their maps will be effective tools for communication.