‘A New Golden Age of Cartography’

“A new golden age of cartography has suddenly dawned, everywhere. We can all be map-makers now, navigating across a landscape of ideas that the cartographers of the past could never have imagined,” writes Ben Macintyre in his Times column. “Where maps once described mountains, forests and rivers, now they depict the contours of human existence from quite different perspectives: maps showing the incidence of UFOs, speed cameras or the density of doctors in any part of the world.” He sees in amateur mapmaking a return to a personal style of cartography that existed before 19th-century rationalism took over: “The boom in amateur mapping … marks a return to the earlier way of imagining the world when maps were used to tell stories and impose ideas, to interpret the world and not simply to describe its physical character.”