Reflexive Cartography

Reflexive Cartography

A New Perspective in Mapping

1st Edition - August 13, 2015

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  • Author: Emanuela Casti
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128035092
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128035566

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Reflexive Cartography addresses the adaptation of cartography, including its digital forms (GIS, WebGIS, PPGIS), to the changing needs of society, and outlines the experimental context aimed at mapping a topological space. Using rigorous scientific analysis based on statement consistency, relevance of the proposals, and model accessibility, it charts the transition from topographical maps created by state agencies to open mapping produced by citizens. Adopting semiotic theory to uncover the complex communicative mechanisms of maps and to investigate their ability to produce their own messages and new perspectives, Reflexive Cartography outlines a shift in our way of conceptualizing maps: from a plastic metaphor of reality, as they are generally considered, to solid tools that play the role of agents, assisting citizens as they think and plan their own living place and make sense of the current world.

Key Features

  • Applies a range of technologies to theoretical perspectives on mapping to innovatively map the world’s geographic diversity
  • Features a multi-disciplinary perspective that weaves together geography, the geosciences, and the social sciences through territorial representation
  • Authored and edited by two of the world’s foremost cartographic experts who combine more than 60 years of experience in research and in the classroom
  • Presents more than 60 figures to underscore key concepts


Geographers, cartographers, and geoscientists conducting geography research

Table of Contents

  • Part 1

    Chapter 1. Cartographic Interpretation Between Continuity and Renewal: On the Trail of Chora

    • Society and Cartography
    • The Role of Theory in Cartographic Interpretation
    • The Object-Based Perspective
    • The Deconstructivist Perspective
    • The Hermeneutic Perspective
    • From Topos to Chora

    Chapter 2. The Success of Topos in Colonial Cartography: Topographic Metrics

    • Understanding and Describing Africa
    • In Search of Topos: Topographic Maps
    • The Strengthening of Topos: Taxonomy and Thematism
    • Iconization of Topos: Maps Between Science and Popularization
    • Semiosis and Topographic Metrics

    Chapter 3. Landscape as a Cartographic Icon

    • Connections, Hybridizations
    • Landscape and Maps
    • Perspective and the Semiotics of Vision
    • Iconic Resonances
    • Sketching Ideas, Conveying Concepts

    Part 2

    Chapter 4. Technology in Action: Participatory Cartographic Systems

    • Metamorphosis of the Cartographic World
    • The Geographic Information Systems for Protected Areas Strategy in W Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (West Africa)
    • From the Sheet to the Screen: PPGIS and Online Cartography
    • Online Cartography: Interactivity and First Semiotic Implications

    Chapter 5. Chorographic Horizon: Landscape Cartography

    • Semiosis and Chorographic Metrics
    • Gobnangou: A Cliff That “Enwraps”
    • Social Identities and Environmental Perspectives: The Arly PCU
    • Participatory Landscape Cartography
    • The Landscape-Based Dimension of Icons

    Chapter 6. Coming Full Circle: Towards a Chorography

    • Cartographic Rendering of Spatiality Through the Centuries
    • Cartographic Spatialization of Globalization
    • From Representation to Chorographic Spatiality

    Glossary/Compass: Concepts and Definitions for Navigating the Text

Product details

  • No. of pages: 288
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2015
  • Published: August 13, 2015
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128035092
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128035566

About the Author

Emanuela Casti

Emanuela Casti is full professor of Geography at the University of Bergamo where she directs the CST-Centro Studi sul Territorio, is responsible of the DiathesisLab ( and is President of the MA in Geourbanistica. Considered and innovator in cartographic theories studies, she has formalize a semiotic theory that investigates the relationship between cartography and geography, extending it to the new systems of cybercartography in the book of theory Reflexive Cartography published in the Modern Cartography Series by Elsevier. Her researches concern the historical context (the prehistoric cartography in Valcamonica, the renaissance and modern cartography of Venice, the Italian and French colonial cartography in Africa) as well as the contemporary one: mapping of movement, of conservation (;, for the governance (;, and the regeneration of urban peripheries ( She has published more that a hundred of essays, among which the books: Reality as representation. The semiotics of cartography and the generation of meaning (Bergamo University Press, 2000); Reflexive Cartography. A New Perspective on Mapping (Elsevier, 2015).

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor and Chair of Geography, University of Bergamo, Italy

About the Series Editor

D.R.F. Taylor

D.R.F. Taylor
Dr D. R. Fraser Taylor is Chancellor's Distinguished Research Professor and Director of the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He has been recognized as one of the world’s leading cartographers and a pioneer in the introduction of the use of the computer in cartography. He has served as the president of the International Cartographic Association from 1987 to 1995. Also, in 2008, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in recognition of his achievements. He was awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal in August 2013. This highest award of the International Cartographic Association honours cartographers of outstanding merit who have made significant contributions of an original nature to the field of cartography.

He produced two of the world’s first computer atlases in 1970. His many publications continue to have a major impact on the field. In 1997, he introduced the innovative new paradigm of cybercartography. He and his team are creating a whole new genre of online multimedia and multisensory atlases including several in cooperation with indigenous communities. He has also published several influential contributions to development studies and many of his publications deal with the relationship between cartography and development in both a national and an international context.

Affiliations and Expertise

Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

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