Cartography is the creation and the study of maps and charts – maps apply to land while charts are mainly related to marine. Cartography has made it easier to study and understand most of the geographical phenomena since it provides a simple platform to understand the occurrence of these phenomena. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of cartography.
Advantages of cartography
Less artistic skills are required to reproduce: Maps are a representation of a given area and are mostly dependent on symbols to represent the objects within the area. This means that no special artistic skills are required to reproduce the maps.
Colors and patterns are easier to apply: Since there are very little artistic skills required to reproduce maps, it becomes easier to apply patterns and colors when representing features on a map.
It is easier to make changes: Maps mainly rely on symbols and only show specific features of a given area as opposed to everything in that area. This means it is easier to make changes in case anything changes or when a feature was not properly represented.
Integration is easy: Maps can easily be integrated with other applications and used concurrently. This also makes it easier to read and understand maps especially when reading in relation to other applications.
Easy conversion of maps projections: Cartography makes it easy to make conversions of map projections.
Maps can be maintained and updated much faster: Cartography has made it easier to maintain maps and update them much faster especially when it comes to digital maps.
Cartography gives true representation of the region in a short scale: Cartography makes it easy to give a representation of a specific area on a very small piece of paper thanks to the scaling abilities of cartography.
Easier data symbolization: Cartography has made it is easy to symbolize data on a piece of paper to make sense in a real world environment. This makes it easier to represent any data or information within limited space and time
Work with styles and symbols: Cartography allows users to work with styles and symbols to represent objects on a piece of paper.
Graphical data representation is possible: It is possible to represent data both symbolically and graphically thanks to cartographic capabilities.
Disadvantages of Cartography
Cartography is prone to human error: Since maps are designed and drawn by humans, it is possible to paste human error hence giving distorted information.
Shapes may be distorted: Maps, especially the printed maps on paper may give distorted information or the shapes and objects may easily be compromised.
The scale is variable hence it is not a true map: Maps depend on variation in scale to represent a large area. This is not a true representation of the real world area and may give incomplete information.
No map is ever completely accurate or complete: Although cartography has enabled the representation of areas on maps, there is no guarantee that maps are complete or accurate. There will always be some level of error or incompleteness in the representations.
No map can show all the features found in an area at any given time: There is no map that shows 100 percent of the features found in a given area. All maps lack certain degree of information or data.
Maps only show relevant features and veils the unnecessary features: Cartography has allowed maps to show only specific features that are important to users at a specific time and not all the features that are available in the area.
Maps require interpretation: Maps mostly use symbols to represent objects on land and these require interpretation. This means map reading requires some skills that may not be available to all.
Maps are susceptible to bias: Maps are drawn and designed by different entities who may have certain biases towards certain areas hence not give full information regarding the area.
Maps mostly use symbols to represent objects: Printed maps mostly rely on symbols to represent data. These symbols are sometimes not clear.
Maps may be difficult to understand for the visually impaired: Map reading requires vision which may be difficult for the visually impaired.