Barton and Barton on Maps

The Bartons provide a lengthy detailed analysis of taking a new look at maps and ways and reasons they are produced and interpreted. Early on in the reading Barton provides an interesting quote from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I found this reference especially helpful in understanding the quintessential ideology of maps that Barton and Barton are conveying in this reading. Huck is convinced that because he say Illinois as green and Indiana as pink on the map, then they must be those colors in real life as well. Barton and Barton go on to explain how Huck was reading the map as purely factual rather than as a semiological system. On a similar note, the reading continues to a section called “Denaturalizing the Natural.” This is when the creators of the map change the actual reality of the map, sometimes only slightly, to more ideally fit how Humans need to perceive it. This can also be seen also in the Mercator projection of the global map. It is not always easy to clearly and fully display the surface of a sphere on a flat two denominational plane. This and many other interesting similar ideas are looked at with this video “What Does the Earth Look Like?” from Vsauce.

In what other ways do we denaturalize the natural form of our world with the maps we create?

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