Coast Lines: How Mapmakers Frame the World and Chart by Mark Monmonier

By Mark Monmonier

Within the subsequent century, sea degrees are estimated to upward push at exceptional premiums, inflicting flooding world wide, from the islands of Malaysia and the canals of Venice to the coasts of Florida and California. those emerging water degrees pose severe demanding situations to all elements of coastal existence—chiefly monetary, residential, and environmental—as good as to the cartographic definition and mapping of coasts. it's this part of coastal existence that Mark Monmonier tackles in Coast traces. atmosphere sail on a trip throughout moving landscapes, cartographic know-how, and weather swap, Monmonier finds that coastlines are as a lot a collection of rules, assumptions, and societal ideals as they're strong black traces on maps.Whether for crusing charts or estate maps, Monmonier indicates, coastlines problem mapmakers to catch on paper a hugely abnormal land-water boundary perturbed by way of tides and storms and complex through rocks, wrecks, and shoals. Coast strains is peppered with beautiful anecdotes concerning the difficult attempt to expunge fictitious islands from nautical charts, the difficult dimension of a coastline’s size, and the contentious notions of beachfront estate and public access.Combing maritime historical past and the background of expertise, Coast traces charts the ancient development from offshore sketches to satellite tv for pc photos and explores the societal impression of coastal cartography on every thing from worldwide warming to fatherland defense. Returning to the shape of his celebrated Air obvious, Monmonier ably renders the subject of coastal cartography available to either normal readers and historians of technological know-how, know-how, and maritime reports. within the post-Katrina period, whilst the map of whole areas should be redrawn through a unmarried typical occasion, the problems he increases are extra vital than ever.

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Extra resources for Coast Lines: How Mapmakers Frame the World and Chart Environmental Change

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The key component was a geodetic survey based on a chain of triangles extended along the coast. 2, the network included lines of sight between control stations roughly thirty miles apart and two precisely measured baselines, about eight miles long on comparatively level land at far ends of the chain. At each control point a field observer would carefully measure the angles between converging lines of sight. Working outward from the baselines, an office assistant skilled in computation could then calculate a length for each of the network’s other links using trigonometric tables describing constant, carefully computed numerical relationships among the sides and angles of triangles.

1. Portion of lower-left panel of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map with the name “America” in the approximate location of present-day Paraguay. gov/ammem/. half feet tall and eight feet wide, a little bigger than a panel of sheet rock from Home Depot. Eager to share their new acquisition more widely, library officials placed a high-resolution image of the original on their American Memories Web site, where it could be downloaded as a twenty-seven-megabyte file by anyone with a highspeed Internet connection or a great deal of patience.

28 Subtle differences between American charts and those of other nations arise as well, for example, where bridges or power lines span navigable waterways. 29 Tide prediction and the various legal and cartographic shorelines share a common database, collected over a nineteen-year period hydrographers call a tidal epoch. 1, for instance, are based on data collected from 1983 through 2001, the same epoch used to calculate water-level averages for the three stations shown. 30 Where reliable data are available, estimates of sea-level change are based on much longer periods.

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