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Purpose of this site

ICSM has designed this site to provide a comprehensive general overview of maps, mapping, cartography and map production.  It is not intended to be a definitive reference, but rather to supply a consolidated summary of mapping concepts, principles and practice.

Hyperlinks are provided to other sites which offer more detailed information. Also, it is planned that existing pages will be continually up-dated and additional pages added from time-to-time.

Contents

Overview to the Fundamentals of Mapping

Overview to the Fundamentals of Mapping

This is a brief outline of the core components to mapping the Earth. 

Read the Overview to the Fundamentals of Mapping Package →

History of Mapping

History of Mapping

This is a brief outline of the sequence of the development of the science of map making.  It lists some of the significant developments and people involved. 

Read more about the History of Mapping →

Types of Maps - Introduction

Types of Maps

There are many different types of maps, which are generally classified according to what they are attempting to show.

Read more about different types of maps →

Earth's Coordinate System

Earth's Coordinate System

The first step in converting the information contained in the real-world onto a ‘piece of paper’ was to devise a system where everything could be uniquely located in that world.

Read more about Earth's Coordinate System - Latitude and Longitude →

Basics About Datums

Datums 1 – the Basics

A datum is a system which allows the location of latitudes, longitudes and heights to be identified onto the surface of the Earth.  As datums is a jargon rich subject it is recommended that you read this section first.

Read more about Datums →

Basics About Datums

Datums 2 – Datums Explained in more Detail

Having grasped the basics concerning datums in the previous section, this section provides greater depth to the topics already discussed and introduces more advanced concepts.

Read more about Datums →


Surveying for Mapping

Surveying for Mapping

Surveying and geodetic techniques are used to a calculate the coordinates of points on the surface of the Earth

Read more about Surveying for Mapping →

About Projections

About Projections

Having developed a coordinate system and measurement techniques for the Earth (including datums), the next problem map makers faced was how to transfer the information from the surface of a 3-dimensional, irregularly shaped sphere (the Earth) to a 2-dimensional flat 'piece of paper'.

Read more about Projections →


Commonly used Map Projections

Commonly Used Map Projections

This section shall outline a number of more commonly used projects.  This is a selection of the most commonly used projections, but it is by no means a full list.

Read more about specific Map Projections →

Maps as a Summary of the World

Maps as a Summary of the World

A map is not the same size as the piece of the earth it is describing.  This sounds obvious, but two important cartographic principles flow from this statement.

Read more about Maps as a Summary of World →

Making your Map

Making your Map

Before embarking on the complex task of producing a map, cartographers must first consider two fundamental points: (1) the purpose of the map, and (2) its target audience.

Read more about How to make a map →

Marginalia Information

Marginalia Information

Maps have two basic components, the map itself (often called the 'face of the map') and information about the map (commonly called 'marginalia').  The term comes from a convention that all additional information about the map was printed/drawn outside the edge of the map, ie in the margins.

Read more about Marginalia Information →


Cartographic Considerations

Cartographic Considerations

In this modern world, maps are either printed onto 'paper' or are viewed electronically (eg on computer screen).  The principles of cartographic composition are essentially the same for both.

Read more about Cartographic Considerations →

Map Specification

Map Specification

Map specifications provide the rules and guidelines for the issues associated with making a map. Specifications are needed for both printed and electronic maps.

Read more about Map Specification →

Tactual Mapping

Mapping for People with Visual Impairments

Mapping for people who are blind, or have problems seeing, is fundamentally the same as for people with normal vision, but there are a number of significant differences.  This is variably called Tactual or Tactile Mapping.

Read more about mapping for the visualy impaired →


Reference

Reference

This section conatins hyperlinks to mapping and surveying related organisations and institutions.

Read more about Reference →


If you have any suggestions for additional links or improvements to the content please contact the ICSM Executive Officer:

phone: +61 2 6249 9677 (international) or (02) 6249 9677 (within Australia);   email: icsm@ga.gov.au

Unless otherwise noted, all ICSM material on this website is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence
© Commonwealth of Australia 2014 on behalf of ICSM             view the Creative Commons Licence terms

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Last Updated: 26 Sep 2012