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Thread: Cartography

  1. #1 Cartography 
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    Hi,

    I was just wondering what the criteria is in order for a map maker to be considered credible? Would the government be considered a credible source? Would an educational institution be considered a credible source? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Off the top of my head:
    How have they sourced their data?
    What is their track record? (How long have they been in business? What sort of maps have they produced?)

    In the UK the Ordnance Survey is peerless and I believe the USGS fulfills a similar function in the US.

    Why do you ask?


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  4. #3  
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    On the risk of sounding ignorant, what do you mean by peerless? Does this mean that their work isn't reviewed by their peers? And if so, is it because they've gained credibility?

    Also, I guess what you're saying is that there isn't one formula or union (or something of that nature) that would determine if a source was credible or not, and that I should do some background research into the source itself?

    Thank you for your reply.
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  5. #4  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Sorry. Peerless means without peers, without equals. In other words so far ahead of the competition that there is no competion.

    To reiterate my point on the Ordnance Survey and the USGS in a slightly different way. Maps produced by any government body of a developed country are going to be of high quality. Many other maps that are produced by private companies, for example road atlases, are based upon the official government maps, with the underlying cartography licensed to the mapmaker.

    As a piece of trivia, most published maps contain a deliberate mistake. That lets the map makers identify when someone has illegally copied one of their maps.
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  6. #5  
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    Ah, I see. Thanks Ophiolite!! That helps a lot. Don't ethics become involved if a mapmaker intentionally adds error to the information?
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  7. #6  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchTwitchita
    Don't ethics become involved if a mapmaker intentionally adds error to the information?
    The errors are very small. Here is an interesting mini-article on the topic.

    According to the article in the London Times ( 3/6/01 ), the British Ordnance Survey (or OS, the Government mapping agency in the U.K.) has deliberately made errors in its maps in order to be able to detect copyright violations. This was revealed when the British Automobile Association agreed to pay 20 million pounds ($32M) in an out-of-court settlement, after is was caught plagiarizing Ordnance Survey maps. The cartographers had added deliberate faults, such as tiny twists in rivers, exaggerated curves in roads, missing apostrophes in place names, and non-existent buildings, in dozens of their maps to trap people who were copyrighting them-a simple task when done digitally. Over 500 publications were involved, accounting for some 300 million paper maps. The OS would not give examples of its secret system, contending that the changes were not errors but “subtle and secret ways of detecting plagiarizing, rather like watermarks.”

    Dr. Map notes that this is probably common practice world wide. In the United States, however, not only are facts about the surface of the earth not subject to copyright, but the USGS makes maps available in the public domain. So that copying directly is a legal activity. Makes one wonder what might happen if your car drove into a real British river while taking an imaginary steep curve using its in-vehicle navigation system and one of the AA maps
    .


    Source:http://www.drmap.info/articles/deliberate-errors.html

    I think you might find the site worth a visit. It seems 'Dr. Map' will answer all sorts of questions about maps. The home page is http://www.drmap.info.

    [I'm confident Dr. Map will forgive the possible copyright infringement above since I am promoting his interesting site. ]
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  8. #7  
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    Thanks a lot Ophioloite, you've been a great help!!!
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  9. #8  
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    My pleasure. I am as happy reading a map as reading a book.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    My pleasure. I am as happy reading a map as reading a book.
    Yes. Me too!

    Can't we have a heated discussion about maps then? Do you think the Mercator projection (for all its other strengths and weaknesses) aids political bias by making the northern countries look far larger than the tropical countries that are actually larger than they?
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  11. #10  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    i tell you, it's all a communist plot to make siberia seem bigger than it is - in fact, siberia is only the size of belgium
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  12. #11  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    i tell you, it's all a communist plot to make siberia seem bigger than it is - in fact, siberia is only the size of belgium
    Exactly.

    And Luxembourg is bigger than Canada.

    And Aotoarea bigger than all.
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