Maps have been an integral part of the human story for a long time. From cave/wall paintings, ancient maps of Babylon and
Greek philosophers, through the Age of Exploration, and on into the 21st century, people have created and used maps as the
essential tools to help them define, explain and navigate their way through the world.
(A Map of the World 1500 AD)
Cartography is the art, science and technology of making maps. Cartography was used as early as the 23rd century BC in
Babylon. In this technique of map making, the artist has to manually draw the map using hand tools, thus making it a time
consuming and difficult method of geographic representation. Also Hand Cartography is less accurate and is limited in the scope
Although manual mapping techniques are still used the advent and spread of computers has revolutionized cartography.
Most commercial quality maps are now made with map making software that falls into one of three main types; CAD, GIS,
and specialized map illustration software.
(A GIS generated World Map)
The main differences between Cartography and GIS are in their functional components:
A GIS contains these four components:
In contrast, a Cartographic system can be described in three components:
● Map design
In the present scenario, Hand Cartography is becoming an obsolete technology and is rapidly being replaced by GIS.