Impressionist Landscape Cartography
Cartography helps to show us the world in which we reside by providing us a framework to explore space. We can select myriad themes to represent what is relevant to our lives: physical characteristics, human behaviors, hazards, opportunities. Themes are represented on a continuum between real-world images and pure abstractions. How we define cartography and what we expect from it changes with society and technology. We are now inundated with data but we still struggle with expressing our personal geographic experiences through cartography. In this age of information we have become more cognizant of our individual experience of place and our need to determine our own paths and therefore create our own maps. In order to reflect our journey we can add individual details to cartographic products or generalize information to concentrate on what is meaningful to us. Since time and space are interrelated we experience geography by viewing the landscape as changing scenes over time. This experience is both spatial and temporal since we experience geography by moving through space. Experiencing each scene is a separate event. This paper expands the personalization of maps to include our impressions of the travel experience. Rather than add art to cartography it provides geographic reference to art. It explores the use of a series of quick sketches drawn while traveling along roads using a single drawing pad to produce a time series of interpreted landscapes. With the use of geographic time stamps from global positioning systems these sketches are converted from a drawing to a map documenting the path of movement. Although the map scale varies between sketch entries each scene impression can be linked to one or more maps of consistent scale. The result is an artistic piece that expresses a dynamic geographic experience that can be viewed in conjunction with more traditional maps. Unlike mental maps which are constructed from memory, these maps reflect our direct impressions of the landscape. The use of art can help us convey our experience.