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Maps as Tools: Globalism, Regionalism, and the Erosion of Universal Cartography, 1940–1965

Maps as Tools: Globalism, Regionalism, and the Erosion of Universal Cartography, 1940–1965

Chapter:
(p.65) Chapter Two Maps as Tools: Globalism, Regionalism, and the Erosion of Universal Cartography, 1940–1965
Source:
After the Map
Author(s):
William Rankin
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226339535.003.0002

The International Map of the World was effectively dormant during World War II, and not long after its postwar revival under the umbrella of the United Nations it was drastically reconceived in the 1960s. The UN eventually discontinued its support altogether in 1986. This chapter uses the wartime and postwar history of the International Map to trace the shifting fortunes of representational mapping in general. It highlights the intense competition between the IMW and the World Aeronautical Chart, which was created by the US during the war but was then adopted by ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization. It also discusses related projects like the World Land Use Survey, the World Population Map, the Carte Internationale du Tapis Végétal, the International Map of the Roman Empire, and map-design research by the US military. The overall trajectory connects the decline of the IMW to the rise of cartographic regionalism, a new understanding of maps as tools rather than objective repositories of geographic fact, and the “critical” cartographic scholarship of the 1980s – all of which signal a rejection of the kind of epistemic authority that once anchored international mapping.

Keywords:   International Map of the World, cartography, representation, regionalism, World Aeronautical Chart, International Civil Aviation Organization, World Land Use Survey, World Population Map, Carte Internationale du Tapis Végétal, International Map of the Roman Empire

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