Climatic Change

, Volume 95, Issue 1–2, pp 219–230 | Cite as

Cartographic design and the quality of climate change maps

  • Jean E. McKendry
  • Gary E. Machlis


Maps are essential in climate change research and policymaking, and are primary tools for communicating climate change information to the public. The consequences of cartographic design are potentially significant to understanding climate change and effectively informing policymakers. Yet, the cartographic design and quality of climate change maps have not been critically assessed nor systematically evaluated. We suggest that evaluating the quality of climate change maps is both timely and essential, and offer one approach as a demonstration. We use cartographic design principles to evaluate a ‘high visibility’ climate change map from the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Our specific goals are to demonstrate the need and value of cartographic critique, describe how such evaluation can be accomplished, and make a case for cartographers’ engagement with climate change scientists in mapping activities. We suggest a research and policy agenda for the cartographic evaluation and design of climate change maps.


Geographic Information System Climate Change Research Latin America Climate Change Scientist Cartographic Design 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Natural ResourcesUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA
  2. 2.c/o AAASWashingtonUSA

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