The first Ortelius Map of Asia in 1670 was a grand representation of the continent, although by no means completely accurate. It included a large body of water – Cayamay lacus – that Ortellius estimated to be in the west of China, serving as a source for most Asian rivers.
Since that time cartography has evolved and changed over time. Map making today is pursued by both professionals and the general public today, the later often in filling in the personal details for maps whose foundations are rooted in professional cartographic design and creation.
Our use of maps transcends scales and various geospatial / geomatic technologies. Whereas individuals may be interested in local scales, perhaps a few city blocks or small rural areas, others are interested in mapping the work. The United Nations has been involved in the Global Map, an effort to map the world.
Earlier we wrote about the Value of a Map here at Asian Surveying and Mapping – suggesting that tensions between North and South Korea, in part, are associated with delineation of map boundaries.
Maps tell stories. This is more evident today as social media tools incorporate maps that tell individual stories and describe the trails and pathways over which people travel, including their interactions and collaborations with others. Markup and editing tools are refined today, often allowing us to make notations on digital smartphones, iPads, field tablets and other digital computing devices.
As Asia continues to expand and grow with greater economic development taking place, one story that is not often talked about, is the changing nature of mapping and cartography.
Because Asians can often deploy digital technologies, particularly those involving mobile devices, they leap over the legacy systems often apparent in western countries. Consequently, the quick deployment of digital technologies, often already with high interoperability, means that spatial data from foundational digital terrain modeling (DTM) through to mobile phone apps, is all digitally connected, live and available.
This has major benefits for those interested to use and apply cartographic products, since the data capture devices, ranging from airborne cameras through to lidar and CAD systems, all include digital workflows. As a result, it should come as no surprise that Asians are well poised to gain the advantages of building information modeling (BIM), digital city development and more well-rounded and integrated spatial connections within urban and rural environments.
Enriched digital data products further the development of cartographic innovations. This can be seen in the mobile phones of Japan and Taiwan to the urban development of Singapore, both employing spatial data – some even for augmented reality applications on the leading edge.