H. Moellering

Ohio State University, Geography Dept., Columbus, Ohio, USA



For the last several years the International Cartographic Association (ICA) has been searching for ways to expand the conceptual definition of the map so that it better represents the wide range of cartographic products found in the real world.  Most members understand that the current ICA definition of a map is very much out of date.


This paper will investigate this problem and propose several conceptual and theoretical ideas which can strengthen the ICA definition of a map that is better harmony with the real world.  These ideas involve the concepts of real and virtual maps which immediately expands the static definition of the map.  Then the concept of Real/Virtual map transformations brings in the notion of dynamics in a conceptual, temporal and spatial domains. 


Further, Nyerges concepts of Deep/Surface structure greatly help in placing many of these new "maps" in a well defined theoretical structure. The notion of Nyerges Data Levels also helps one to understand the conceptual relation of various kinds of Real/Virtual maps in relation to the level as which the map data is being processed.


Together, these concepts which have come out of Analytical Cartography help to expand the ICA definition of a map to encompass every kind of cartographic product imaginable.  These concepts also great assist in understanding what one is doing to map data as it is being transformed between these various forms of Real/Virtual maps, structure domain, and data levels.  Several examples will be discussed to better understand how these concepts can be used in various kinds of cartographic research.