(Superimposed Definitions)

I found Denis Cosgrove’s “Moving Maps” to bring up some very compelling points especially when considering River vs. Rain, a lecture Dilip da Cunha gave a few weeks back now. With mapping there are many unavoidable cultural and social implication embedded in the choices we make in order to communicate information. The cartographer becomes the one generating definitions and is the eye which decides what to see and what not to see, and to what degree things are articulated.
This character of cartography can lead to disastrous consequences, one being the example called out by Dilip da Cunha, where westerners were trying to map out the boundaries between water and land in a world of wetness—a place where water the DNA of the culture without beginning or end. He argued that this idea of land vs water is what colonized India along the Ganges and its superimposed definitions generated by cartographers in order to make sense of an other land, had lasting impacts.
With that said as we begin to map things out we will need to understand what cultural, social, and other biases we bring to the table, and understand how they may impact others.
Cosgrove also points out that the techniques of mapping such as shading have different symbolic means among different cultures. One being shading which he calls out to have imbedded meanings of decay and ignorance during the period of enlightenment.
After reading “Moving Maps” it seems that the smallest details have the possibility to create a lasting impact. As designers we must be very aware of how we are preserving information and depicting it. Our idea of something is not always going to be an others idea of the subject in question.

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