Power of Maps Essay

Submitted By T_A_
Words: 2659
Pages: 11

Question 1: Map Projections:
If you were to imagine the world in a 3 dimensional image with circles on the world, the circles would be perfectly round, evenly sized, and not changed. The idea behind an indicatrix circle is that when the world is mapped out in 2 dimensions, then the perfect circles will change in size to reflect the distortion in that area. There are two different distortions that indicatrix circles show. If the circles grow in size but stay perfectly round, then the area is being distorted. However, if the shape of the circle is changed then the shapes will change not the area.

Cylindrical Mercator Map Projection Cylindrical Mercator Map Projection. 4 October 2006. < http://www.soi.city.ac.uk/~jwo/projector/>. (17 April 2012) The Mercator map is the example that you used in your notes (I did not notice until after I had inserted the map and cited it). The indicatrix circles show the areas of distortion well with this map. The larger the indicatrix circle, the more the mapped area is distorted. In this map, Greenland is as big as South America, which is not true. The Mercator map projection is being used today by countries around the equator where distortion is minimal. The map is used for navigation. One application for the Mercator map could be to make a point that the North Hemisphere has more land area than the southern (not really, but that’s what it looks like if you don’t include Antarctica)

Area Azimuthal Map Projection Area Azimuthal Map Projection. 4 October 2006. < http://www.soi.city.ac.uk/~jwo/projector/>. (17 April 2012) The indicatrix circles are equally sized, which means that the area shown in the map is not distorted. However, if you look at the bottom and top of the map, the shape of the circles are changed. This means that the shapes shown on the map are distorted. It is very evident in this example that the shapes are changed. The shapes are stretched out a lot. This map could be used to accurately map the countries around the equator because there is not any shape distortion there, and there is no area distortion.
Question 2: Map Symbols:

Hendersonville Topo Map. 2011. (2 May 2012).

The first symbol I chose is the dam, which is the black figure on the water with a line all the way across. On the Topographic Maps Symbols, the marking is for a building. The dam is kind of a building because it has offices and operating rooms on top. The dam symbol is a resemblance or the buildings that are on the dam and the thickness of the dam. The second symbol is the contour line in the lake. They are the purple lines in the lake that show the depth of the water. The contour lines are a symbol by relationship. They show the relationship of the water to the depth of the water.
The third symbol id the railroad tracks in the middle of the map. The railroad symbol is both a resemblance and convention symbol. It is a resemblance because the symbol looks like rail road tracks with the lines crossing through the single track. It is also a convention because the symbol makes sense and it would be easily interpreted by someone without a key.


Trees and Forests on Old Russian Maps. 2009.
. (2 May, 2012)

The map shown above is an old Russian map used to show where the trees were located. The trees are symbol of resemblance. You can see the two different types of trees mapped and where each tree is located. I found it interesting that they showed the shade in the map.


The symbol above is a Japanese map symbol for an electric wave tower. The more zig zags the symbol has in the top, the higher the frequency of the electric wave tower. The wave tower is a symbol of relationship.


The symbol above is a parking symbol used on maps. This symbol is a pretty standard symbol. Normally there is a P for parking, and it