THEORETICAL CARTOGRAPHY ISSUES IN THE FACE OF NEW REPRESENTATIONS
Planning Department University Iuav of Venice
Until the advent of photography, the theory of cartography was concerned with maps produced by means of tools of graphic drawing and pictorial representation. The process of map-making implied the presence of the cartographer – a reflexive operator who applied certain rules of “conceptual modelling” and “graphic/cartographic transcription” on the territory being represented. Aerial photography – and subsequently satellite images – have made possible “automatic” representations of the territory, with no need for human intervention.
Cartography theory cannot ignore such documents as photo-maps, or the representation potentialities offered by visualization software coupled with Gis and Image Processing software, which make possible to obtain a “map on request” in real time, or even single pieces of geographical information. For these reasons, it is necessary to reconsider the traditional notions and paradigms in order to re-establish a framework for the many cartographic representations and communication processes afforded by the new systems of acquisition and elaboration of geographical information.
Dealing with this issue, which is mainly focused on the representational function (MacEachren A.), we will adopt as a useful point of reference the theory of Jacques Bertin, together with instruments offered by recent visual semiotics (Fontanille J., Sonesson J., Basso P., Groupe µ) – and beyond. In fact, our reconsideration shall go back to the identification of the many functions and uses of the traditional map and of the present systems of representation and communication. The aim is to define a plausible and manageable framework that can encompass the various approaches and structures of representation which are now available as alternatives to the traditional graphic map.