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Purpose of the 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. 

Only after these have been defined should design and production commence.  These points are critical to determining what is shown or omitted from the map, how key features will be highlighted while other less important elements are not etc.

If a map is to be used for legal purposes then it is essential that professional cartographic advice be obtained before commencing.  Like any legal document, a map needs to be correctly made if there is a potential for litigation.

Examples of legal purposes include restrictions on use such as use prohibited areas – e.g. military training areas ⁄ bombing ranges, hunting ⁄ fishing zones etc.

Steps in Production a Map

These are the key steps in producing a map:

Steps of making a map

For more detail on these steps see Marginalia Information and Cartographic Considerations.

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Last Updated: 16 Jan 2017