There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and then there are maps. Borders can be moved and countries expanded, shrunk or even left off the map altogether. We’d like to believe that maps are a purely factual representation of the world with no bias or agenda, but in fact every cartographer decides what to include on their map and what to exclude. Mike Parker discovers how maps can be used as tools of power, politics and propaganda.
Tagged with “cartography” (15)
There’s no more effective way of representing our lives than a map: social and political conditions, health trends and the movements of goods and ideas have far greater impact when they’re plotted in multicoloured cartography. Mike asks how society is now being analysed online in cartographic mash-ups and crowd-sourced data. He also discovers how mapping the human condition, its needs and habits, its highs and its lows, goes back to way before the digital age.
The ultimate in cheap and ubiquitous mapping, there’s scarcely a vehicle in the land that doesn’t contain a dog-eared road atlas. Road maps and their digital descendent, the sat nav, may guide us efficiently around our nation’s highways but they don’t tell us much else about the landscape we’re speeding through. Mike recalls a bygone age of elegant motoring maps and considers how modern road mapping and its unrelenting emphasis on our motorways and trunk roads has changed our picture of Britain.
How do you make sense of a strange city and turn a bewildering maze of streets into a map that’s instantly informative to a confused visitor? Mike Parker hits the city streets to find out what makes the ideal map for steering us through the urban jungle. He meets the man who has made it his mission to single-handedly create a new map of Manchester, and discovers how digesting the entire London A to Z makes cabbies’ brains bigger.
Episode one of On The Map from BBC Radio 4.
Self-confessed map addict Mike Parker explores modern cartography. If a picture paints a thousand words, a map can paint a million. They help us navigate our way through unfamiliar landscapes and cities, entice us into new places and give us a bigger picture of the world we inhabit.
Mike considers the maps he first fell in love with as a teenager — Ordnance Survey maps.
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