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  • 00:00

    [MUSIC PLAYING][The Basic Terms of the Map] [Introducing Maps and Frame]Hi.My name is Winifred Elysse Newman.[Winifred Elysse Newman, Directorof the Institute for Intelligent Materials,Systems and Environments (CU MSE) Clemson University]And I'm a Professor of Architectureat Clemson University in South Carolina in the United States.

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    And I'd like to talk today about maps, data visualizationand maps specifically.So maps are a mode of communication.They represent the world to us as we think it is.This series will introduce the basic terms of the mapand help you understand how maps are structured.You'll learn to see the difference between maps

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    and other kinds of images.For more detailed examples, you can look at my bookabout mapping, Data Visualizationand Design Thinking.So the first thing I'd like to talk aboutis the difference between maps and mapping.So maps are basically a representation of the milieu.[A graphic representation of the milieu - A.Robinson] This simple definition is from Arthur Robinson

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    and Barbara Petchenik in the nature of maps.And it's a very effective descriptionbecause it helps us see that mapscan be many different kinds of representation.Mapping is the process of making a map.So the difference highlights the ideathat mapping is a way of thinking, sometimes calledcartographical thinking or the geographical imagination.

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    One of my favorites is actually the ideathat it's a kind of geographical imagination.Mapping or mapmaking is useful in helping us to organizeour thoughts about the world.It lets us collect, calibrate, organize,and finally act on the information about the world.We can map ideas, or places, or things.

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    In short, anything and everything can be mapped.So the utility of mapping as a form of data visualizationisn't accuracy or precision.I just want to be careful about this because a lot of peoplethink of them as purely scientific instruments.That's not really true.The map's capacity to help us make and organize

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    a kind of hypothesis about the world, or ideas, or thingsis actually its real value.So hypothesis making through the mapisn't strictly inductive or deductivein the sense of a kind of logic problem.Although, it has to have some kind of internal logic.It's really based upon a series of general observations

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    usually about the world.The observation about a painter, for instance,could be sensory and perceptual, but for a scientist,mathematical and rational.Both can make maps.And in fact, both kinds of things can be maps.So the data is really a set of quantitative or qualitativevalues and variables, and you can

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    talk about either in the map.So natural science and language, really,which are two other kinds of thingsthat we use to communicate, operateon a continuum between what is quantifiable and qualifiable.Qualia can be determined by just noticing

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    a difference between something.It's prettier.It's pretty.It's yellow.It's yellower.It's more.It's less, basically.Quantities are just the mathematical numbers,the numbers of something.The maps really help you describe those differences,right?And since they're graphical, theyallow you to describe those differences

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    in a bit more complicated ways.Or let me put it this way.There's a bit more of a gap between those valuesor the way in which they're presented than would be typicalif I just told you about it, right,or if I just wrote about it.It's that image quality of the map thatgives it part of its power.Any observation can be mapped, as long

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    as the mapmaker is willing to index thator create a relationship between one set of data and another.An example of this is, I want to talkabout a room full of people.So I can draw the room, and I can put the people in.But then I actually want to be more specific,and I want to talk about people thatare over 185 centimeters versus people

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    who are under 100 centimeters.Or I want to talk about people who have blue eyesor people who have brown eyes.I have to create that relationship so that youcan see it through the map.So that's the way in which the map enablesme to take just something very general,a big thing, a room full of people,and identify specific things that I want you

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    as the map reader to see.So one of the questions I have to ask is, what kinds of thingsare maps?And we need to talk a little bit about that.So maps can include any representationof the milieu, which I gave you as a definition before.Most people think of road maps, atlas's, maps of place.

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    But maps also include things likearchitectural representations, whichis why I was interested in them, spatial models of datasurfaces, simulations, abstract analytical models,I mean, all sorts of things.The map of DNA is actually a map, which is in that case a--really, it was initially a physical model,

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    but ultimately is really just a seriesof data, data that represents the buildingblocks of the human body, so scientific, graphical indicesin that case.A lot of 18th- and 19th-century artifactsthat you might not think of as maps are things like panoramas,dioramas, military camouflage, one of my favorite kinds

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    of maps, photographs.Even cinematic images, and film, and videos are, in fact,a form of mapping.So here are some examples of representations that are maps.So now I just want to look at a few examples of representationsthat are maps.The first one is by Harold Fisk, who

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    worked for the Army Corps of Engineers.He's mapping the course of the Mississippi River in the UnitedStates over about a hundred-year period.It's called the Mississippi Meander.It's a beautiful map because, on the one hand,it certainly looks quite normative, like a regular map.On the other hand, the more you stare at it,you realize you're looking at the trace

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    of this river over time.And it really helps you understand, even though it'snot entirely precise, how that change occurs over time, howthis body of water is quite, to pardon the phrase, quitefluid, in fact, so really a beautiful map that incorporatesa number of different-- of the map terms, time

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    being one of those functions.Ernst Haeckel here is showing us the Kunstforemen derNatur, the art, if you will, of the forms in nature,the art of the DNA that is present in nature.So he's looking a lot at basic structures and comparing them.He maps a lot of things, from sea diatoms to, in the case

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    here, some florals and birds that you're seeing.The third map that I'm showing youhere is a map by James Watson and Francis Crickin which they're looking at the structure,in this case, the helical structure, of DNA.They weren't really able to see that structure clearlyuntil they made the map, in this case, a physical model.

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    It actually has little lovely metal pieces that you can see.That model enabled them to understand that structure.They had seen it in photographs, very difficultto get photographs, in fact.But they didn't fully understand it until they mapped it.My next map here is by Betts, Benjamin Betts.This is a fantastic collection of geometrical maps

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    under the title Geometrical Psychologyin which he's trying to mathematically representhuman emotion.Benjamin Betts was quite happy with himselfwhen he made these mathematical representationsand thought that they look like flowers.He could see that resemblance.And he thought, well, that means that I'm actuallyon the right track because there must be some residents in terms

  • 08:27

    of a universal connection between human emotionsand things in nature.Finally, I'm showing you a map by Betty Ng,one of my students, who was lookingat the tourist map of Disney.She was unmapping it and then remapping it in a new way.In this case, she imagined the world as Disney.So what if Disney was actually as far as the eye could see?

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    The horizon was a kind of Disneytopia, as she called it.But I wanted to share that map with youbecause it's a prospect map, whichis a map of a condition or a place.It's really quite wonderful.All right.So the next question is, really, how do I start to make a map?And what I'd like to give to you today,really, are the terms of the map.

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    I'm going to try to help you organizehow you present the content.Making a map is actually not easy.And to make a good map is quite difficult, in fact.But to help you, I'm going to give you these termsso that they help you think about how to structurethe contents of the map.Not every map uses every term.

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    It's important to know this, so don't try and findevery term in every map.But almost all maps have at least one,or they're not a map, and probably two or threeof these terms.They make it easier for the mapmaker, which is ultimatelyyou, to make sure you're making a map and not just an image.It's really important that you can manage this and then

  • 09:55

    manage then, again, what you want to include or excludefrom the map.So there are four operative termsand two functions necessary for the organization of the map.The terms are "Frame," "Axes of Translation"this will have to do with where your view is positionedand "Projection or Relative Scale," "Index,"

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    and then two functions, "Time" and "Place".I used to think of time as a fifth term,but understanding time as a function is a little biteasier in relationship to controlling thingsthat you're managing in the map, rather than thinkingabout as something in the map.So for example, time can functionas the time of the map, the function of time in the map,

  • 10:42

    or the function of the time the map isbeing studied by the mapmaker.Today, what I'd like to do is start with the first term,"frame," and unpack that for you.OK, so to start with the first term,basically maps, and I mean every map, begins with a frame.

  • 11:03

    This is both the literal and the conceptual demarcation betweenwhat is a map and what isn't.So making a map begins with an observation.It's really a thought about thinking,and it's also the object of thought itself.That's a little complicated to start with, but justhold that in mind as we talk.

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    It's to say that the undifferentiated world can'tbe really apprehended.Remember, go back to my example of the room.You can't see everybody in the room.You can't see everything about everybody in the room.So the map helps you frame what itis that you want to look at in that group of peopleor in that room.Maybe you're not even interested in the people.

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    Maybe it's the furniture.So you're going to frame what you want the map reader to see.It's really one of the first principlesof the map identified by the Malaysian philosopherAnaximander.[Anaximander] And he said that the frame of any mapis twice as long as it is high.

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    It's kind of funny.And in fact, it fits pretty nicely, the Mediterranean.So you can tell that they're thinking about their own world.He said that everything that's insidethat frame, literally the frame, is the oikoumene.It's the known world.It's the basis for our ecumenical.So it's the ecumenical world.And everything outside of that is the "ge"

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    or "ge," which is the basis for geography, geo, geology,all of the things that are the world outside of the frame.So this is one of the first thingsthat you have to kind of understand,that when you make a map, and you might thinkabout the page of the map, whateveris inside that frame is the thing that you're looking at.

  • 12:49

    And whatever is outside the world, outside of that frame,you really don't need to think about, basically.So, and framing can also mark the content parenthetically,meaning that sometimes that's a physical thing.Sometimes, it's going to be an idea.Sometimes, it's going to be a place.It can actually map love, for instance.

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    Love as an idea has certain characteristics.I can include everything that I think is associated with loveand exclude things that might be associated with, I don't know,avocados, or papaya, or some strange thing.So that's not love, so I don't wantto include that in the frame.So you have to separate the object from the world.

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    You have to put that frame around itso that you can point the mapmaker or the map readerto it.There's a great kind of analogy that I can use,which are the cabinets of wonder and cabinets of curiosity.They were called Kunstkammer, and they include everythingthat the collector knew about the world.And they're literally framed by the cabinet.

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    That's a perfect kind of image to keep in mind when you'rethinking about how the data that you're looking atis excluded from other things, but included within the map.So to kind of extend that, the data framed by the map,far from being static in the end,

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    is something that can be added to,subtracted, reordered, just like that cabinet.I can take things in.I can take things out, put things in, so on and so forth.But the frame is identifying themas a part of this order and not some other order.There are things that are in my cabinet,and those are the things that I constantly

  • 14:39

    want you to refer to when you're thinking about-- when you'relooking at that particular map.And different maps will frame different things.I think it's easier if we look at a mapwhile we talk about the idea of the frame.So this is a map of Amsterdam by Joan Blaeu.It's part of an Atlas, the "Toonneel derSteden," or Dutch city map, since from basically 1652, '53.

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    The collection itself is like a cabinet of curiosities.It's a collection of maps representing cities in Holland.The first frame you see in the mapis the actual frame of the fortification wall of the city.That's pretty clear, frames the city.It neatly circumscribes the extent of the map of the city.

  • 15:23

    There is the actual frame too of the map,including the border and the edges of the paper.So those frames are pretty apparent.In this map, the frame is sort of obvious in a sense.But there are other kinds of maps in which it might notbe as evident.And I just want to pause for a minute and mention at least one

  • 15:44

    of those, for instance, the map of human DNA, whichI talked about earlier.It's actually the map of the human body.The frame for that map is the human body.If you decide to look at what makes a frog a frog,you've switched the frame.So you might still be looking at DNA,but you've actually changed the frameto look at a frog and not a human being.

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    So returning to the Blaeu map, though, at another level,the map also frames an ideological positionthrough its strategy or signification.That is the question, what is the map reallytrying to tell us?Is this just a wayfinding device so that Ican walk around Amsterdam?Actually, not really.And for that, you have to look at the map a little bit more

  • 16:29

    closely.So Blaeu controls the data in the map.He's managing how he's presenting the citystreets, the buildings, the sea, the boats, and the boundaries.And he's using several formal structures in orderto highlight the concept or argument in the map,and you have to look carefully at the map to see it.Notice, the city streets and the buildings

  • 16:50

    are shown in plan, with some extrusionto indicate their volumetric characteristics.This is so the map reader will beable to use the map to understandthe general organization of the city.But there are some really strange areas in this map,and I think it's worth looking at.So if you look at the areas where the ships are,the sea and the larger canals, the image

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    is actually in a different kind of representation.It's in a perspectival one.So one is plan.And one is perspective, which is the way wetend to experience the world.This distortion of the picture spaceis handled so deftly in this map that it reads seamlesslybetween these two axes.That's actually the axes of translation, which we'll

  • 17:33

    talk about in another segment.But the effect is to highlight the importanceof the port and the places where the ships travel to and from.What you really are able to see, what'sreally being framed in this map, is not just Amsterdam.But it's actually those ports and canals.He's done everything so that you'llsee that those ships actually move

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    in and through the city in those portsand then ultimately to the canals, where they'repicking up goods, by the way.In a Dutch city at the time, and Blaeu was Dutch,this would have been really significant.Remember, the Dutch are seafaring.And they're tradespeople.And that idea of shipping goods allover the world from, in fact, every city, really,

  • 18:19

    in his collection of city maps is really important.So therefore, the mapmaker Blaeu is also making a claimabout the relative value of this cityas part of a larger collection in these Dutch cities in termsof Amsterdam's relationship to sea tradein the mid-17th century.

  • 18:40

    So the map uses the frame, in this case, both the literaland a kind of metaphorical frame,to point to what the mapmaker wants us to see in the world,in this case, that the Dutch are a really important partof trade through the sea.I hope this discussion and the examples were useful.

  • 19:02

    Representing the world through the mapis often complex and difficult, really.As I said earlier, it's very hard to make a good map.But maps are a form of visualizing datathat can also be a very powerful tool in communication.Remember, we only have a few ways that we can communicate,words, language, which also means text.

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    Gesture and other kinds of performancesalso count, by the way, as communication.Maps encompass many of those aspects.But they give us an additional one,which is the use of the image, basically,in some form or another.So maps as a form of visual presentation or representation

  • 19:47

    are a very powerful tool.In a sense, we're all cartographic beings.If I ask you how to get from here to your house,you can make a map, and so that we are operating as mapmakers,regardless of whether or not we're really aware of it.But the idea behind this set of discussionsor the giving you the terms is to help

  • 20:09

    you become a better mapmaker, in effect,to help you represent the world to yourselfso that you can understand something about it that youmight not have before.[FURTHER READING][Robinson, Arthur and Petchenik, Barbara.The Nature of Maps.University of Chicago Press, 1976.]

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Video Info

Series Name: W. E. Newman on Maps

Episode: 1

Publisher: SAGE Publications, Ltd.

Publication Year: 2021

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Data visualization, Relational data, Spatial analysis, Observational research, Visual representations

Keywords: cartography; city maps; communication aids; data visualisation; frame analysis; maps and map-making; observation research; observational research; observational studies; representation; Spatial analysis; visual representations ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



In the first of the series on data visualization and maps, Professor Winifred Elysse Newman, the director of the Institute for Intelligent Materials, Systems and Environments (CU MSE) at Clemson University, introduces and provides examples of maps and discusses frame as a basic term of the map.

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The Basic Terms of the Map: Introducing Maps and Frame

In the first of the series on data visualization and maps, Professor Winifred Elysse Newman, the director of the Institute for Intelligent Materials, Systems and Environments (CU MSE) at Clemson University, introduces and provides examples of maps and discusses frame as a basic term of the map.

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