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Maps as the Formation of Concepts and Generalizations


Vincent Youngbauer

on 7 November 2013

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Transcript of Maps as the Formation of Concepts and Generalizations

using maps to understand the
world around us

Types of maps
Other Maps
Mental Maps
One of the very famous studies using mental maps
is “The Image of the City,” by Kevin Lynch,
about how users perceive and organize spatial information
as they navigate through cities.
It was carried out over five years and summarized in his 1960 book.
Lynch used three disparate cities as examples (Boston, Jersey City, and Los Angeles). He reported that users understood their surroundings in consistent and predictable ways, forming mental maps with five elements:
On a blank piece of paper, create your own mental map of the Mercer campus, Macon Area, the state of Georgia.
Examples of mental maps
So, how can we use maps in our own classrooms?
Types of maps.
We can use different types of maps (Cartograms, mental maps, etc) to help us understand the world around us.
Explain the concept of mental maps. What are the rules? What are non examples?
What generalizations can be made about mental maps? Talk this over at your table and be prepared to share.
NB: Lynch found that, generally speaking, afluence and education affect an individual's mental map more than any other factors.
Give general information about the climate
and precipitation (rain and snow)
of a region.
Cartographers, or mapmakers, use colors to show different climate or
precipitation zones.
Economic or resource maps
Feature the type of natural resources or
economic activity that dominates an area.
Cartographers use symbols to show the locations
of natural resources or economic activities.
For example, oranges on a map of Florida
tell you that oranges are grown there.
Physical maps
Illustrate the physical features of an area,
such as the mountains, rivers and lakes.
The water is usually shown in blue.
Colors are used to show relief—
differences in land elevations.
Green is typically used at lower elevations,
and orange or brown indicate higher elevations.
Political maps
Do not show physical features.
Instead, they indicate state and
national boundaries and
capital and major cities.
A capital city is usually marked
with a star within a circle.
Road maps
Show major—some minor highways—and roads,
airports, railroad tracks, cities and
other points of interest in an area.
People use road maps to plan trips
and for driving directions.
Topographic maps
Include contour lines to show the shape
and elevation of an area.
Lines that are close together
indicate steep terrain, and lines
that are far apart indicate flat terrain.
Lynch says: “Every citizen has had long associations with some parts of his city, and his image is soaked in memories and meanings.” (Lynch, 1960, p 1) This expresses that there is some knowledge and meaning in each one of us about the environment we live in and have to navigate through.
It is something that is not about North or South, exact distance measurements or overarching; objective descriptions, but rather, it is about personal experience, judgment and what is psychically important to the subject.
Lynch said, “Most often our perception of the city is not sustained, but rather partial, fragmentary, mixed with other concerns. Nearly every sense is in operation, and the image is the composite of them all.” (Lynch, 1960, p 2)
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