Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Uses and limitations of paper maps


  1. Maps have been used since time immemorial for navigation and military purposes.
  2. Maps are used to organise geographic data. 
    1. Ex: Topography, 
    2. Natural resources (thematic maps contain information about a specific theme - geology, soils, roads, ecology, hydrology, etc)
    3. Political (Abstract boundaries for public, private, national and international levels)
    4. Information types - Qualitative (Ex: land use classes) and Quantitative (Ex: depth to bedrock)
    5. Map types - Choropleth (areas of equal area separated by boundaries (landuse)) and isolines (or contours)
  1. Maps have to be genaralised to make them readable. Important details may be lost for site specific analysis.
  2. Small scale maps representing large areas must be represented on a large number of map sheets making viewing and analysis difficult
  3. Data retrieval is difficult
  4. Printed maps are ""static
  5. Combining different thematic maps for land suitability or spatial analysis is very difficult
  6. Map updation is a tedious process
  7. New technologies for gathering information are better accommodated in digital systems
  8. Complexity of urban and natural resource problems increases the need for sophisticated analysis techniques.
  9. With the availability of low cost digital computers and greater access to data, the shortcomings of paper maps can be overcome easily using a digital GIS.