Producer Field Guide

Producer Field Guide

Maps and mapping are the subject of the art and science known as cartography—creating two-dimensional representations of our three-dimensional Earth. These representations were once hand-drawn with paper and pen. But now, map production is largely automated—and the final output is not always paper. The capabilities of a computer system are invaluable to map users, who often need to know much more about an area than can be reproduced on paper, no matter how large that piece of paper is or how small the annotation is. Maps stored on a computer can be queried, analyzed, and updated quickly.

As the veteran GIS and image processing authority, Roger F. Tomlinson, said: "Mapped and related statistical data do form the greatest storehouse of knowledge about the condition of the living space of mankind." With this thought in mind, it only makes sense that maps be created as accurately as possible and be as accessible as possible.

In the past, map making was carried out by mapping agencies who took the analyst’s (that is, surveyors, photogrammetrists, or drafters) information and created a map to illustrate that information. But today, in many cases, the analyst is the cartographer and can design his maps to best suit the data and the end user.

This chapter defines some basic cartographic terms and explains how maps are created within the ERDAS IMAGINE environment.

Use the Map View to create hard-copy and soft-copy maps and presentation graphics.

This chapter concentrates on the production of digital maps. See Hardcopy Output for information about printing hardcopy maps.