I know, I know it is a big question, may be we even cannot comprehend or digest the question and its infinite possibility of answers immediately pouring out of our minds in response.
However is it not great to see this question in geographical point of view ?
Let’s say (if you believe) that whatever we think [thoughts and ideas] founts from what we experience from the stuff and systems around us both visible and non-visible.
Thus in such state of mind, we believe the maps we use in our day to day life represent reality out there.
First of all what are all the things we have with us to represent the planet Earth ?
- A Globe
- several types of globes
- A Map
- several types of maps
I have always wondered whether the planet looks the same when i grab a chair out in space (probably with a space suit ). May be a astronaut or a astrophysicist or a cosmologist would answer my question. But it would not satisfy me until i see it with my own eyes and experience it.
For me, a map or globe just resembles a comic book, wrapped around a sphere or clipped in a notepad… It has flow of information in both artistic and scientific dimension. Furthermore, it has helped humans to make history. Without it, we will not be sailing and flying and do crazy things in and around the planet.
Have u ever felt the same ?
Maps, cartography, and the disciplines based around it, are living disciplines, they evolve continuously in pace with the changes of planet Earth in both broad and specific sense. One can know what global changes are happening as well as pin point how changes effect locally and in turn its contribution to global changes.
Furthermore, it makes me crazy about while thinking, with few DIY hacks or purchasing an off the shelf telescope i can simply see the moon or even nearby planets. However, it is not possible to view the planet i live it with the same telescope. Even it is of simplest common sense thing, it still drives me crazy. You know what, nobody can’t lie about the moon’s face at least within the scope which i can view in my telescope.
So therecomes, the necessity to build radio and optical instruments and equip them with allied systems to collect “facts” about the planet, and whenever possible about other planets or even the distant space objects.
Even if those instruments report the fact, which they see through their eyes, we humans cant able to digest those things, and begin to transform those information into a simple communication medium. People those who have done this transformation have applied the mathematical, geometrical, analytical ideas and techniques and it is been in evolution continuously.
Those who are into GIS, and mapping already would know that there are several types of maps, that represent varying degree of fact, which we commons most of the time mistook as the “reality” & sometimes assume it to be “true”.
Our wonderful education system, has done great thing in shoving only specific thing about such things during our geography classes. Most of us are not given a chance to explore the facts. Thus our liberty is limited by intellectual manipulation in choosing the map we like, by obscuring the choices.
GIS and mapping community are very much aware about this distance between the reality, the visualization, the communication, even when they make things to chose from. So they always involve themselves in democratizing whichever they can for those who are interested in access such information.
Thus it is our choice whether to chose a map that strips factual information more or adds into the map.
On the other hand, with the participatory mapping systems, collaborative information technology convergent with the free software and hardware systems, distributed & P2P systems, have increased the transparency and participation to a whole new paradigm shift starting from the past decade.
Take a look :
Credits : One of my favourite