HomeSynergeiavol. 1 no. 1 (2005)

The Semiotics Of Maps as Visual Narrative

Cristina Z. Borra

Discipline: History, Culture



The Dialectic of Maps

Stephen Hall, in Mapping the Next Millenium, elucidates on the dialectic aspect of maps by claiming that even when "the data is sound, when maps are not wrong or incomplete or even imaginary, they can (and often do) mislead" (p. 376). By both purpose and design, maps present a coherent point of view. J As a subjective endeavor initiated by an explicit agenda, maps represent only what has been pronounced significant or worthy of consideration.  Conversely, omissions on a map Just as strongly express a valuation

of worth; the lack of representation suggests a decided lack of value or 'importance to the cartographers who made use of the collated information , or to whoever commissioned the maps. As Hall explains:

“Every map is the sum not only of the cartographer's skills, but of the many explorers who win the territory in the first 1 History shows -that it is possible for a map to -be manipulated by a person with a definite agenda to support any political or socially motivated cause. Thus the map is both aesthetic and informational, as individual as any work of art and also communal and consensual, the product of cultural values especially the value of exploration itself and accumulated wisdoms [sic].