Motro Reflection – Importance of Cartography in Mapping the Future

Maps play a vital role in our daily lives, providing information about distant lands or directions to the nearest pizza place. We often take these images for granted and delve no further than the face value of each map. Dr. Motro’s article about the Swiss Cheese Map highlights the influence of maps and the variability of individual maps using a single set of data. Although the basis of the information displayed between the maps relating plans for land distribution between Palestine and Israel, each map contained distinctive cartographic elements. These elements highlighted the importance of symbology in map-making, as colors, lines, shapes, and symbols send messages without explicit text. This is especially important to account for in delicate political situations, as utilizing an aggressive color or thick lines may excite audiences. According to Motro, the original map used in negotiations was created without consulting a cartographer and without the aid of a GIS professional. This speaks to the importance of education in cartography and geography. The knowledge to read and create appropriate maps successfully can be used in any number of fields. Although not everyone needs to be a cartographer, education about the importance of symbology and distortion in maps may will create a more informed population ready to better relay political, social, and environmental messages on a geographic scale.