An atlas can be structured to convey a particular theme. A typical national atlas blankets a nation’s available statistics. This paper examines the uniqueness of a structural approach to The National Atlas of Korea in its cartographic expressions that parallel and portray its incredible dynamic nation-building and modernization efforts through various chapters. The transformation of Korea from a war-torn nation since 1905 into the world’s 11th largest economy today in only six decades is remarkable. Nation-building began in 1953 with long and thoughtful planning that utilized cartographic analysis at its core. Published by South Korea’s National Geographic Information Institute, the structuring of the Atlas is a striking effort to cartographically explain the nation’s massive decades-long spatial planning work in economic developments, building infrastructures, shaping a government’s visions and maintaining democracy. Legislations were introduced continually at various times to implement cartographically-conceived spatial planning on all aspects of socioeconomic, infrastructure, military, and administrative processes. The savvies of the production team’s structuring of the chapters in a cohesive manner are apparent. In understanding the spatial arrangements of Korea, this Atlas provides individual maps for careful deciphering and interpretation and map series that show the ultimate overall understanding of specific nation-building themes. Two more national atlases (emphasis on human geography and on physical settings) are expected in 2017 plus a children’s educational issue for later. The current Atlas is freely disseminated in both Korean and English languages (http://nationalatlas.ngii.go.kr/).
Dept of Geography/Earth Science, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Gregory Chu received PhD degree in Geography from University of Hawaii-Manoa, 1986; was Professor and Chair of Department of Geography/Earth Science, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; Program Director of Geography and Regional Science at US National Science Foundation (2003-2005); Director of the Cartography Labs at the University of Minnesota (1981-1994), the East West Center (Honolulu, 1974-1981), and University of Kansas (1974-75). He is lead author of two textbooks, myWorldGeography and Contemporary World Cultures. He served as Editor of Focus on Geography (American Geographical Society, 2002-2009) and on the Board of Directors, North American Cartographic Information Society.
Dept. of Geography, Kyung Hee University
Chul Sue Hwang is professor of Geography at the Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea. His research interests focus on the usage of digital mapping systems, the national atlas, and spatial cognition. He has led The National Atlas of Korea Project sponsored by the Korean government since 2006. He is the first geographer awarded the National Academic Service Merit Medal by the Korean government for his work on The National Atlas of Korea. He is a recipient of the Certificate of Merit in 2008 and the Certificate of Academic Appreciation in 2014 from the Korean Geographical Society.
Dept. of Geography, Western Illinois University
Jongnam Choi is Professor of Geography at Western Illinois University specializing in meteorology, paleoclimatology, biogeography, and environmental sciences. He is an editor of The Geography of Korea, The Geography of Dokdo, and The National Atlas of Korea. His research interests emerge at the intersection of climate, weather, and human well-being. His recent research project includes climate changes in the Northeast Asia and vegetation change in the Korean peninsula. He recently extends his scope to geographic education.
International Map Year
ICA President 1999-2003.Vice President of ICA 1995-1999. Charperson of the Working Group for International Map Year 2011- 2019. Chairperson of the Atlas Commission 1989- 1995. Technical Doctor of Geographic Information Technology at Lund University, Sweden in 1973. Employed at the National Land Survey of Sweden in 1973 for working with development of cartography and GIS. Adjunct professor in GIS at Lund University, Sweden and Uppsala University, Sweden 1996- 2004. Retired as Head of Science from National Land Survey of Sweden in 2005 and as Head of Technical Department of University College of Gävle, Sweden in 2004. Consultany work in Land Administration in Zambia, Republic of South Africa and Syria from 1983 - 2006 and in census cartography in South Korea in 1986.
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