Map perception consists of numerous processes of information processing, taking place almost simultaneously at different levels and stages which makes it conditioned by many factors. In the article, a review of processes related to the perception of a map as well as levels and properties of perception which impact its course and the nature of information obtained from a map is presented. The most important process constituting the basis of a map perception is a visual search (eye movement). However, as stated based on the studies, the process is individual depending on the purpose of map perception and it may be guided by its image (visual search guidance) or by the knowledge of users (cognitive search guidance). Perception can take place according to various schemes – “local-to-global” or “global-to-local”, or in accordance with the guided search theory. Perception is divided into three processes: perceiving, distinguishing and identifying, which constitute the basis to interpret and understand a map. They are related to various degrees of intellectual involvement of the user and to various levels of questions concerning the relations between signs and their content. Identification involves referring a sign to its explanation in the legend. Interpretation means transformation of the initial information collected from the map into derivative information in which two basic types of understanding take place: deductive and inductive. Identification of geographical space objects on the map and the interpretation of its content constitute the basis to introduce information into memory structures. In the brain a resource of information is generated called geographic knowledge or spatial representation (mental map) which may have a double nature – verbal or pictorial. An important feature of mental maps is organization of spatial information into hierarchical structures, e.g. grouping towns into regions as well as deformation of spatial relations between individual elements and their groups independent of consciousness.
The process of map perception depends on various factors, including the nature, scale and map content, the degree of its complexity and compliance of the map language with cartographic principles. Important factors also include cartographic competencies of the recipient of a map conditioned by age, education and the task type. It is related to types of information about geographical space: semantic – concerning spatial references of particular objects and structural – connected to relations between elements of a map. Such relations may be determined at the regional or global level, they may concern qualitative or quantitative features as well as changes in time.
Nowadays, an important factor impacting the nature and consequences of map perception is the situation in which the process occurs. Traditionally, static and unchanging maps are used under other conditions than computer maps and navigation systems, making it possible to freely zoom in and zoom out the image and its spatial scope as well as to quickly go from one image to another.
Today, when the predominant way of map use is their perception on the screens of navigation systems, processes of map perception and factors conditioning it are also significant to understand the process. In the analysis of map perception, also tasks which are implemented using the map and the nature of information obtained by the map user must be taken into account.
pictures into numerical form cooperating with
the computer, and the electronic equipment for presenting the results
of the processing of the numerical data in the form of pictures are
organized to form an automatized cartographic system (ACS). The sys-
tem is meant to facilitate the activities of the preparations and edition
of maps and is a part of the general cartographicinformation system
(CIS) (Grygorenko 1972a).
The functioning of the cartographic automatic system is impossible
without the correct work of another link in the cartographic informa-
. Lehrbuch der Allgemeinen Geographie, Bd. 10. Kolačny A., 1969, Cartographicinformation – a fundamental concept and term in modern cartography. Cartogr. J. vol. 6, no. 1, p. 47–49. Lutyj A. A., 1981, Jazyk karty, sushchnost’, sistiema, funkcii , Moskva. MacEachren A. M., 1994, Visualization in modern cartography: setting the agenda. [in:] D.R.F. Taylor and A. M. MacEachen (ed.) Visualisation in modern cartography London, Pergamon Press. MacEachren A. M., 1998, Wizualizacja – kartografia XXI wieku [Visualization – cartography in the XX th century; in Polish
transferred than in those in which they
emerged (Beveridge 1961).
4. The quantity of cartographicinformation (coming from the map)
depends on preparation of the map users and on the ways of map reading.
The simplest mode of reading is the visual perception, although the infor-
mation thus acquired may be insufficient both as regards its scope and
precision. The use of procedures discussed under point 3 enables extension
and definition of knowledge of the phenomena under investigation. This
procedure may be illustrated by any measurements made on maps as well
rules of scientific and technological design and is expected to meet
certain specific requirements of the production technology.
When planning map contents and form of the graphic image, i.e.
when considering the substance and the "symbolic" side of the process,
use will have to be made of uniform, quantitative, design parameters
of the cartographicinformation. Quantitative parameters may be refer-
red to as factors featuring the particular type of the map we are hav-
ing to do with, and as elements decisive for the characteristic useful-
ness of the geographic
primary plane of reading, while the remaining ones should have a lower
optical weight, corresponding to the lower rank of the content. The visual
order on the map, reflecting the harmony of form and substance, can be
achieved by means of a skilful application of graphic variables.
Our considerations so far have aimed to show how significant role in the
communication of cartographicinformation is played by the map's graphical
aspect. Naturally, it is rather difficult to question the view that map is
information, but it should be stressed that there is more to the
accuracy and saving most place on the map.
Therefore, until today, the elaboration of a universal and unequivocal way of
presenting cartographicinformation on maps has remained the most responsible
and open research task of modern cartography.
cartography from the point of
view of functioning of the cartographicinformation transmission, and si-
multaneously as the theoretical superstructure over the practical cartogra-
phy (Ratajski, 1973b), see Fig. 3. Research in this direction was connected
with the nomination of Ratajski as the chairman of the Commission on
Cartographic Communication (Commission V) of the International Carto-
graphic Association. Its first meeting took place in September 1973 in War-
saw, and the last one with his participation — in Hamburg. We should also
mention the work of L. Ratajski
, The perception of colour in cartography. In: Proceedings of Cartogr. Symposium, Edinbourgh. Keates J.S., 1982, Understanding maps. London and New York: Longman Group Ltd., 139 pp. Kimerling A.J., 1975, A cartographic study of equal value gray scales for use with screened gray areas. “The American Cartographer” Vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 119-127. Kolačny A., 1969, Cartographicinformation - a fundamental concept and term in modern cartography. “The Cartogr. Journal” Vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 47-49. Kolačny A., 1971, Informacja kartograficzna - podstawowe pojęcie i termin w
Maps, depicting the warfare, are elaborated according to the rules developed over the years. Although, they are not free of errors. The authors draw our attention to the diversity of methods related to the cartographic presentations, which are shown on the historical maps. This is quite understandable, because every such a map introduces an individual point of view on the historical facts. It is noted, that the most commonly used methods are the qualitative ones, among which, for instance, first of all, the method of signature is frequently used.
In the case of historical maps displaying an event in the specific sequence of times, a loss of cartographic information always occur. This is connected both with the complexity of historical facts and with the difficulty in reading a map, which should present the dynamics of this phenomenon in a complete way. The dynamic variables, such as the time of exposure, duration, frequency, order, degree of change and synchronisation, should be taken into account on the maps of warfare.
The use of information technology makes it possible to develop not only the simple maps presenting the course of warfare in the statistic and schematic ways, but also the maps, which are rich in various types of multimedia information.
Multimedia cartographic presentations can be enriched with the photos and panoramas showing the direct effects of warfare and the pseudo three-dimensional visualization showing the battle from a selected direction. The proprietary software let to combine the sequence of photos into a presentation, allowing to take a virtual tour of the areas directly affected by the hostilities. Network services, such as WMS, WFS, WCS, provide the integrated data from the different sources for us. So, we can connect the archival maps with the contemporary satellite images, defining, thus, the location of a specific place in the terrain.
The authors do not cover the issue of complexity connected with the elaboration of maps presenting the combat operations. The most important problems, which have not been discussed in this article, are the following ones: lack of base maps from the period to which the presented issues related, deliberate distortion of map contents, historical and cartographic imprecisions presented on the maps, appropriate selection of the methods of cartographic presentation related to the phenomena, which are presented on the maps.