Art and Cartography


3609.1 - The principles of map design and the artistry involved in the first professional drawing the topography of Europe

Monday, July 3
2:50 PM - 3:10 PM
Location: Harding

From the very beginning, multi-sheet topographic maps served mostly military and administrative purposes; they were kept confidential, produced by geographers at the requests of the 18th-century monarchs, and were kept as single copies, in the form of manuscripts, in secret archives. Their production was the domain of professional topographers and cartographers, specializing in creating maps from field sketches and survey notebooks, through original protection, to a fair copy. The enormous maps dating back to this period, consisting of several, dozens, or even thousands of sheets, contain the first graphically consistent (although not continuous, area-wise) spatial record of the Europe of the 18th century for over 20 regions. They are the only existing documents recording the geographical space of the period in question; moreover, the original, colorful manuscripts, admired in libraries and archives, leave their readers enchanted thanks to the artistry inherent in them.
In order to capture both the pragmaticism and the artistry reflected in the first professional multi-sheet manuscript maps of Europe from the 18th century, two methods were employed. Focusing on the pragmaticism of the drawings, i.e., the beginnings of topographic map design as such, which was later to become the foundation of the formal principles for the centuries to come, the researcher juxtaposed fragments of cartographic content from the 18-th century manuscript maps with a printed out contemporary map. The following criteria were subject to analysis: color harmony, color associations, and the contrast between the particular colors.
In the second method, the researcher focused on the three key components of topographic map design: the object (landscape), the subject (the topographer), and the result, i.e., the map. Multimedia visualizations were created, which made it possible to compare a given landscape as seen by the then topographer, with a drawing on their map, and finally with the corresponding content on a contemporary map. The multimedia visualization included also a 3D terrain model. The three-dimensional effect obtained, together with the option of changing perspective parameters, bore out the commendable craftsmanship behind the topographic images made in the watercolor technique and the fact that the drawing techniques were chosen in such a way as to reflect the natural features of the presented areas’ landscapes. The most interesting conclusions from the conducted research included the similarities and differences in how the cartographic content was created by geographers working from various parts of Europe. Their work was based on the same education received, was carried out according to the same instructions, while using the same measurement methods and drawing techniques; however, each of the geographers would adapt their workshop to fit the specification of the landscape in the given area that they observed, measured, sketched, and, finally, drew.
In keeping with tradition, the author additionally supplied her presentation with music, in order to facilitate or amplify the perception of those unique topographic images and obtain a certain kind of a synesthetic effect.

Beata Medynska-Gulij

Profesor of Cartography and Geomatics; Head of Department of Cartography and Geomatics
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland

Beata Medyńska-Gulij studied Geography, specialising in Cartography; she defended her doctoral dissertation in 1998, and was awarded the habilitation degree in 2007. Since 2001, she has been working at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. Since 2010, she has been Head of the Department of Cartography and Geomatics at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, which was created according to her scientific and didactic vision. Her scientific publications usually revolve around the subject of principles of cartographic design on old maps and in geographical
visualisations created with the help of state-of-the-art technologies.


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Sidonie Christophe

Senior researcher in Geovisualization
Univ. Paris-Est, LASTIG COGIT, IGN, ENSG, F-94160 Saint-Mande, France

PhD Sidonie Christophe is a senior researcher in cartography and geovisualization, in the COGIT Team of the IGN-France. She is co-chair of the ICA Commission on Cognitive Issues in Geographic Information Visualization, and also co-chair of the ISPRS Commission on Geovisualization, Augmented and Virtual Reality. Her research works focus on knowledge formalization for map and geovis -design, -use and -cognition, in particular on personalization and user control on design.


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3609.1 - The principles of map design and the artistry involved in the first professional drawing the topography of Europe

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