A Functional Taxonomy for Mapping in Geographic Education




Castner, Henry

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


A taxonomy of map use functions, and the map types associated with each, is proposed as a tool in developing more logical sequences of classroom activities that introduce students to maps, their various uses, and to the processes of geographic thinking. Awareness of the great variety of map types and functions is needed so that students can improve their skills in creating and using the appropriate map for inventory, navigation, measurement or analysis tasks. Tradition- ally we categorize maps on the basis of content, scale, or user group. But this fails to illuminate the different ways we design maps so as to address a variety of spatial problems. This paper discusses criteria that can be used to create such a taxonomy and applies them to a prototype taxonomy. It identifies four genera of map use tasks or questions and more than fifty species of specific models, drawings, and map types. A number of implications for geographic education are noted.



taxonomy, mapping in geographic education, tasks in map use, geographic thinking


Castner, H. W. (1999). A functional taxonomy for mapping in geographic education. <i>Research in Geographic Education, 1</i>(1), pp. 38-65.


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