Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Maps are defined as a two dimensional, geometrically accurate representation of a three dimensional space. It is graphic representation of a set of features whose relationships are shown by size, position and time. Map is a tool by which we can view, measure and understand our environment. Map is one of the easiest tools and probably the best tool for establishing any environmental dialogue. It has generally been observed that the basic knowledge about maps is rather low among the people of this country, even among the formally educated. Map learning can make people able to handle geo-environmental information of local, regional, national and global levels efficiently and more accurately. Science Communicators’ forum, a Kolkata based NGO is pursuing map literacy programme in West Bengal since 2004. The organisation had implemented map literacy programme in 40 rural schools of West Bengal where 3000 students were given training on understanding, using, updating and creating maps of their local area. The exercises had given them a better idea and understanding of their local environment. They learnt how to observe the changes that occurred in terms of demography, social pattern, natural resource, pollution and biodiversity. Environmental mapping programme can be a part of environmental education where the learners will learn to prepare local area thematic maps based on different environment related themes and develop local environmental database. In an advance stage of map learning other geo-informatics tools like GPS, remote sensing and GIS may be introduced. A systematic curriculum can be prepared

1 comment:

  1. Map is not only some lines on a piece of paper, a picture on the geography book, a blue line which indicates a river, a green patch indicating a jungle and a yellow stretch denoting a desert. But is much beyond that. Map is a representation of history of evolution & culture, a story of tension and understanding in the relationship between human and natural resources. It is the way to depict the relationship of our knowledge of the surroundings.

    The nature of a map's content, as well as its purpose, provides a primary basis of classification. The terms aeronautical chart, geologic, soil, forest, road, and weather map make obvious their respective contents and purposes. Maps are therefore often classified by the primary purposes they serve.

    Topographic maps usually form the background for geologic, soil, and similar thematic maps and provide primary elements of the bases upon which many other kinds of maps are compiled.

    For me as a geologist, a geological map is a scientific model representing and interpreting the observed geomorphic, lithological, structural, biologic, physical, chemical features such that it depicts the geological history of an area. Along with a legend that provides the sequence of happenings, a geological map it is a four dimensional interpretation of a terrain.

    Data is usually compiled on a larger scale and then reduced. The subject matter of any special purpose map is placed against a background of topographical maps. In case of thematic maps objects in the real world are observed and comprehended in the theoretical frame of reference and are then transformed into thematic statements through the prism of theory. It follows that when the map pertains to a particular theme the reader is interested in the theme and the area. Therefore the map is also used as a method of cognitive analysis. Herein it is recognized that nature has answers to only those questions that is asked of it. Hence as our knowledge increases and we learn to ask more and more questions, our maps that essentially represent our knowledge of relationships, also change.

    The need of the day is management and proper exploitation of resources. This requires enormous amount of data gathering, compilation, evaluation analysis and modeling. Survey departments of every kind have to face the complexities of a dynamic and rapidly changing environment in the field of data processing. It is the cartographer with through knowledge of his scientific domain, clear understanding of what is proposed to be thematically represented and intellectual honesty who can serve the purpose with use of information technology.