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How to Lie with Maps Paperback – May 1 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226534219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226534213
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #76,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Library Journal

Monmonier (geography, Syracuse Univ.) reveals how and why maps "lie." He explains the methods cartographers must use to distort reality in representing a complex, three-dimensional world on a flat sheet or screen, and how they exclude information and geographic features in order to create a readable and understandable map. In addition to explaining the "white lies" told by every competent mapmaker and the errors caused by "cartographic carelessness," Monmonier explores the use of maps for advertising and propaganda, and the deliberate errors employed to confuse potential enemies or to trap copiers. Valuable for both students of cartography or geography and interested laypersons, this is recommended for academic and larger public libraries.
- Peter B. Kutner, Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mark Monmonier is distinguished professor of geography at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mostrander on Jan. 19 2012
Format: Paperback
Mark Monmonier''s "'How to Lie with Maps"' gives a comprehensive approach to understanding how maps distort reality. Monmonier explains that maps must necessarily tell white lies, because they are only a representation of reality and cannot replicate the world exactly. However, through specific examples, he shows the differences between necessary, unintentional, and deliberate 'lies' that maps make, stressing that the viewer must use a certain level of skepticism when evaluating a map.

Monmonier's book is helpful both for cartographers and a general audience. He explains the elements of the map (scale, projection, and symbolization), giving specific examples to illustrate how all parts of the map introduce varying degrees of distortion. The maps integrated into the text make for an easy read. When discussing deliberate map falsification, Monmonier includes a wide variety of maps to show the viewer how many different authors can manipulate maps. Including such diverse examples as political, advertising, and development maps gave me a better idea of what to look for when analyzing a new map. Though maps are often deliberately manipulated, Monmonier also highlights the challenges that well-intentioned cartographers face when attempting to produce fair map representations. Ultimately, however, it is usually better to have more than one map in order to gain different perspectives.

The book as a whole, with its many examples, puts the reader in a mindset to examine maps more critically. It is difficult to come up with specific principles or rules of determining map bias, but perhaps Monmonier could have compiled some general guidelines for evaluating maps, particularly for viewers without specialized cartographic training.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John A. Dodds on July 11 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is about maps in general, which must, as a matter of necessity, reduce the level of detail from the reality they represent. So all maps "lie" in that regard. This book then explains how maps can be made that distort the perception of reality through a variety of methods, both unintentional and otherwise. Along the way, the reader will learn about many different types of maps and the kinds of problems to look out for when using maps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 9 2000
Format: Paperback
Although this book teaches how to manipulate maps in order to mislead an audience, it is more valuable as a reference to avoid having others do the same to you. Also of interest is the fact that mistakes are often responsible for the lie. This is a good buy for those who are involved with the creation of GIS maps (and those who view them!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Rogers on Jan. 20 2003
Format: Paperback
I originally bought this book for a GIS class, but blew through it before I even knew what our reading assignments were, just because it was so interesting. Its generally matter-of-fact tone and abundance of illustrations make it rewarding for cartography specialists and laypersons alike.
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