Amelia is hitting several nails right on their heads, here.
> Well, having spent 5 years scribing in the 1980's, I know that cartographers
> rarely use the technique anymore. ... Computers have really
> revolutionized the way maps are made.
I spent a couple of semesters back in cartographic Precambrian time
learning scribing and other traditional techniques, and then was out of
it while having (and raising) babies (BTW, congrats Gene!).... now that
I'm back in the thick of it again, I find that I haven't a clue as to
what is going on in the field, and it's been frustrating, to say the
least. After lurking for the last 6 months on a computer cartography
listserv, hoping to glean some good information, and I'm still in the
> The other way that computers are used is in the use of databases.
> Cartographers use a great deal of public domain research accessed through
> sometimes complex databases. Some cartographers I know are involved almost
> strictly in the use of databases rather than more custom, illustrated maps
> (GIS is an example).
This has been a nightmare for me. After accessing all this wonderful
data - and software, and not being able to figure out how to deal with
it, I gave up and spent two weeks painstakingly transferring elevation
data by HAND to do a detailed oblique surface relief illustration of WA
State. (Do you know how many mountains named "Bald Mountain" there are
in the state?) I'm sure I could have done the same thing in an afternoon
- or an hour - using the current technology.
This is not only pertinent to cartography, but to geological work, as
well, and I would love to see the handbook address these issues - or at
least provide enough reference as to how to even START with them. I
realize that this could be a topic for a book in itself, but would there
be some way to at least provide a bridge of sorts to cross the gap? (How
about a chapter labeled "Computer Cartographic Illustration for
> I am part of a Guild of cartographers and work closely with people
> strictly in cartography (I was trained as a artist and picked up cartography
> on my own).
Amelia, could you provide information on how to join this guild? Do you
know of any good current references on computer cartographic tehniques
that might be of help? And how's that big WI sesquicentennial(?) book
project coming along?