2019, Publikationen

Matthew H. Edney (2019): Cartography. The Ideal and Its History. University of Chicago Press: Chicago.

Over the past four decades, the volumes published in the landmark History of Cartography series have both chronicled and encouraged scholarship about maps and mapping practices across time and space. As the current director of the project that has produced these volumes, Matthew H. Edney has a unique vantage point for understanding what “cartography” has come to mean and include.

In this book Edney disavows the term cartography, rejecting the notion that maps represent an undifferentiated category of objects for study. Rather than treating maps as a single, unified group, he argues, scholars need to take a processual approach that examines specific types of maps—sea charts versus thematic maps, for example—in the context of the unique circumstances of their production, circulation, and consumption. To illuminate this bold argument, Edney chronicles precisely how the ideal of cartography that has developed in the West since 1800 has gone astray. By exposing the flaws in this ideal, his book challenges everyone who studies maps and mapping practices to reexamine their approach to the topic. The study of cartography will never be the same.


1 Introducing the Ideal of Cartography

2 Seeing, and Seeing Past, the Ideal

  • Satire, Critique, and a Persistent Ideal
  • Breaking Free of the Ideal

3 Cartography’s Idealized Preconceptions

  • Ontology
  • Pictorialness
  • Individuality
  • Materiality
  • Observation
  • Efficacy
  • Discipline
  • Publicity
  • Morality
  • A Singular and Universal Endeavor

4 The Ideal of Cartography Emerges

  • Systematic Mapping
  • Mathematics and Rationality, Empires and States
  • Seeing the World
  • New Mapping Professions
  • Mass Mapping Literacy
  • Forging the Web

5 Map Scale and Cartography’s Idealized Geometry

  • Technical Points concerning the Numerical Ratio
  • The Geometries of Western Mapping
  • Projective Geometry, Numerical Ratios, and Map Scale
  • Numerical Ratios and Map Scale in the Twentieth Century
  • Map Resolution, Not Map Scale

6 Not Cartography, But Mapping