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Robert S. Sluter, Jr.


Cartography has been defined as the art, science, and technology of map-making. Until the middle of the 20th Century, cartography was more an art than a science. Beginning in the 1950's, cartographic researchers began to take a more scientific approach to map-making with Robinson's The Look of Maps. In the 1970's, many researchers adopted a communications paradigm for cartography, understanding maps as tools for the communication of information from
cartographer to map user. Under this paradigm, cartographers attempted to find the "optimal" map that would communicate known information to the map-reader with as little "noise" as possible. With the rapid progress in computer technology afforded by the ubiquitous personal computer, in the last decade a number of cartographic
researchers, led by Alan MacEachren, have suggested a new way of understanding how maps work No longer seen as simply tools for communicating known information, maps can be employed to discover the unknown patterns in any phenomenon that possesses a spatial dimension. Rather than attempting to construct the "best" map, modern computer technology can allow for the construction of a multitude of representations of a phenomenon that can be used to answer different questions posed by individual researchers and reveal hitherto unrealized patterns in the data (data exploration). This new approach is termed "cartographic visualization". Based upon research in other fields, including computer graphics, the neurophysiology of the eye-brain system, cognitive science, and semiotics (the science of symbol systems), this newest thrust in cartographic theory has opened up broad new horizons for cartographic research. This has energized the discipline and promises to lead to new insights which will enable us to make better maps. This paper outlines these new approaches to cartographic research.


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SLUTER, JR., R. S. NEW THEORETICAL RESEARCH TRENDS IN CARTOGRAPHY. Revista Brasileira de Cartografia, [S. l.], v. 53, n. 1, 2001. DOI: 10.14393/rbcv53n1-43924. Disponível em: Acesso em: 9 dez. 2022.
Biografia do Autor

Robert S. Sluter, Jr., University of Kansas

University of Kansas - Department of Geography