Are we Living in a Cartographic Illiterate Society?

  • Karel Kriz
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


This contribution focuses on the question whether geo-communication in general and cartography in particular is or can be of use to our society. What role has graphicacy got in a society that primarily focuses on other forms of representation and communication utilising verbal and numerical information?

Cartographic examples are presented to assess on the proposition that every cartographic representation has a structure and should consider basic cognitive rules for communicating information. It is therefore important to understand the architecture of a map in order to communicate information efficiently. As documented in many (carto)graphic products, it seems to be unfortunately evident that our society has difficulty dealing with multimedia representations for means of geo-communication – at least from a cartographic perspective. Whether it is a simple one dimensional printed map or a multidimensional, interactive installation in many cases the benefit for communication is not always conclusive.

This contribution should initiate a discussion that questions the fundamentals of cartography and geo-communication as well as their legitimisation for our society.


Groundwater Table Magical Number Thematic Information Topographic Base Cognitive Overload 
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-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karel Kriz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geography and Regional ResearchUniversity of ViennaAustria

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