Author Archives: Catherine Dye

Catherine Dye is an M.S. student in Geospatial Information Sciences at the University of Maryland. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from St. Mary's College of Maryland and spent four years working as an archaeologist in Maryland and Virginia prior to entering the M.S. program.
A restored section of Swedish Archbishop, writer, and cartographer Olaus Magnus' map of Scandanavia. The map features red buildings dotting the land, a ship caught in a whirlpool, and a sea serpent attacking a ship, among other mythical land and sea creatures.

Maps as Cultural Objects

In the Digital Age, maps are closer to us than ever before—a quick tap on a smartphone and you’re off to the nearest Starbucks for a quick coffee stop. Like other popular technologies, maps are critical tools that we use to interact with and understand the world around us. They are simplified depictions of our surroundings, crafted from human experience and made for a purpose. Maps cannot be disconnected from the minds and cultures that decide what to depict, where, and how. Purely factual tools of navigation on the surface, maps transmit and reinforce cultural understandings of our place in the world. (read more...)