“Texts and Contexts”

In this piece, J.B. Harley argues that maps are a resource just as important as textual sources.  He talks about how the science of mapmaking has led many to the idea that the main concern of mapmaking is accuracy when really maps display the intentions and goals of many parties.  Harley explains how maps can be looked at in three different contexts: the context of the cartographer, other maps, and society.  In talking about the context of cartographers, Harley mentions how many workers went into creating a map, and also how these creators were under the order of patrons, such as rulers or governments.  This confuses where the goal of creating the map may come from.  In discussing the context of other maps, Harley talks about how the technology of maps has changed, which make it difficult to compare maps to one another.  Also, the texts on maps have been altered due to errors in translation.  When Harley talks about the context of society, he explains how the interests and biases of society impact what the cartographer creates and how they choose to portray it.

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