Maps and the 20th Century Drawing the Line – Review

In the 20th century politician  renewed the use of maps in order to understand and manage more broadly many aspets of society.

The Exhibition Maps open until the 1s of March at the British Library displays the history of maps within the past century by a subdivision into maps of war, peace, market and movement, therefore also drawing the history of the 20th century.

In each sections the art of carthography explored through technical perspectives, design, representation and innovation. The visitor dwells in a  space of constructions that deconstruct movement paths and references alternative juxtapositions of elements.

Cartography making has deeply changed from the advent in the early 90′ of Gps, thta has not only paved the way to a new extened employ of geography, but has also revealed how inaccurate territorial maps were when used to trace the signs of humanity on earth.

During wartime, there was an increased interest in maps as infographic tools, strategic devices as well as images of contemplation for the nation with colonial expanision and military occupation aims. Map for war, are rich of symbolism and allegories that depict the stereotypes which supported the renewed wave of nationalism.

The section on peace, collects maps of the post-war period, which deal mostly with hope for the future, utopia of reconstruction and tourism. The maps show greater sophistication in data representation but also an increased fashion for representing ”atlas’ of culture.

As the world got reconstructed and converted to the goods economy, maps began to be employed to syntetize socio-economic data from census and income as well as showing the complication of city centers with he development of shopping areas and international interests.

The final sections shows how the world is marked by human movent. In this final room elements of early carthography are combined with the latest technologies which are able to record the tranfer of other species than the human one, but also a final social reaction to the confinement of constructed path in the name of rediscovery of unconstrained journey.

References (2017). Map Projection Transitions. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Feb. 2017].


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