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Cartography is the science of the graphical representation of the earth's surface, having the map as its final product.

That is, it is science that deals with the conception, production, diffusion, use and study of maps.

In cartography, area representations may be accompanied by various information, such as symbols, colors, and other elements. Cartography is essential to the teaching of geography and has become very important in contemporary education, both for people to meet their daily needs and to study the environment in which they live.

The emergence

The first maps were drawn in the 6th century BC by the Greeks who, by virtue of their military and navigational expeditions, created the main center of geographical knowledge in the western world.

The oldest map ever found was made in Sumer on a small clay tablet representing a state. Mapping usually begins by reducing the Earth's surface in size. On small-scale full-scale maps of the earth, the globe is presented as the only way of exact representation.

The transformation of a spherical surface to a flat surface is called cartographic projection.

In prehistory, Cartography was used to delimit hunting and fishing territories. In Babylon the maps of the world were printed on wood, but it was Eratosthenes of Cyrene and Hipparch (3rd century BC) who laid the foundations of modern cartography, using a globe as a shape and a system of longitudes and latitudes. Ptolemy drew the paper maps with the world in a circle.

With the age of discovery, data collected during travel made maps more accurate. After the discovery of the new world, cartography began to work with projections of curved surfaces into flat prints.


Today, cartography is done by modern means such as aerial photographs (taken by airplanes) and satellite remote sensing.

In addition, with computer capabilities, geographers can achieve greater accuracy in calculations by creating maps that are as accurate as 1 meter. The aerial photographs are made in such a way that, by superimposing two images of the same place, the impression of a single relief image is obtained. Thus, the details of the soil surface are represented.

Then the surveyor completes the work on the ground, revealing the barely visible details in the photographs.