Symbols, Symbols, Symbols!

Cartographic Symbology

Today’s lesson about cartographic symbology demonstrated to students how information is portrayed in different types of maps.  After reviewing familiar map types, such as road maps and political maps, we discussed different ways information can be presented on a map. Ask your student to explain the different kinds of maps we learned about. All of these map types utilize distinctive techniques to provide information.  We also learned that maps are not always accurate and one must carefully consider the way information is presented on maps when reading them.

We ended our class with a discussion of what may be the most informative map ever made:  Charles Joseph Minard’s map of Napoleon’s failed march into Moscow in 1812. In his map drawn in 1869, Minard elegantly conveyed the disaster that the Moscow campaign was for Napoleon’s army, represented as a line with a thickness proportional to the number of soldiers. You can actually see Napoleon’s army dwindling as they marched into Moscow and then retreated back to the coast.

Additional Information:

You can take a closer look at Minard’s map too!  http://scimaps.org/maps/map/napoleons_march_to_m_9/

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