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

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Overview

In the next century, sea levels are predicted to rise at unprecedented rates, causing flooding around the world, from the islands of Malaysia and the canals of Venice to the coasts of Florida and California. These rising water levels pose serious challenges to all aspects of coastal existence?chiefly economic, residential, and environmental?as well as to the cartographic definition and mapping of coasts. It is this facet of coastal life that Mark Monmonier tackles in Coast Lines. Setting sail on a journey across ...

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

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Overview

In the next century, sea levels are predicted to rise at unprecedented rates, causing flooding around the world, from the islands of Malaysia and the canals of Venice to the coasts of Florida and California. These rising water levels pose serious challenges to all aspects of coastal existence—chiefly economic, residential, and environmental—as well as to the cartographic definition and mapping of coasts. It is this facet of coastal life that Mark Monmonier tackles in Coast Lines. Setting sail on a journey across shifting landscapes, cartographic technology, and climate change, Monmonier reveals that coastlines are as much a set of ideas, assumptions, and societal beliefs as they are solid black lines on maps.
Whether for sailing charts or property maps, Monmonier shows, coastlines challenge mapmakers to capture on paper a highly irregular land-water boundary perturbed by tides and storms and complicated by rocks, wrecks, and shoals. Coast Lines is peppered with captivating anecdotes about the frustrating effort to expunge fictitious islands from nautical charts, the tricky measurement of a coastline’s length, and the contentious notions of beachfront property and public access.

Combing maritime history and the history of technology, Coast Lines charts the historical progression from offshore sketches to satellite images and explores the societal impact of coastal cartography on everything from global warming to homeland security. Returning to the form of his celebrated Air Apparent, Monmonier ably renders the topic of coastal cartography accessible to both general readers and historians of science, technology, and maritime studies. In the post-Katrina era, when the map of entire regions can be redrawn by a single natural event, the issues he raises are more important than ever.

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Editorial Reviews

The Globe

"By using coast lines on maps as examples, the book provides an interesting overview of some of the most fundamental problems faced by all cartographers in map construction. In this sense the book is thought-provoking. The book is written in a very readable style and should be of wide appeal, irrespective of one's degree of technical expertise or familiarity of maps."

— Colin V. Murray-Wallace

Imago Mundi

"[Coast Lines] provides an excellent grounding for a full understanding of the complexity of all factors involved with the historical and current mapping and charting of the world's coastlines. . . . This was an enjoyable read."

— Charles A, Burroughs

Weatherwise

"A very useful (and fairly quick) read on the topic of changing coastlines. . . . Anyone interested in an informative and entertaining read on climate change via the science of cartography and map-making should peruse Monmonier's geographic treatise on coastlines."—Randy Cerveny, Weatherwise

— Randy Cerveny

The Journal of the Australian Map Circle

An interesting overview of some of the most fundamental problems faced by all cartographers in map construction.... I highly recommend the work."—Colin V. Marray-Wallace, The Journal of the Australian Map Circle

— Colin V. Marray-Wallace

H-Net

"Coastlines is no exception to what we have come to expect from this exceptional scholar: well researched and referenced, captivating and engaging, with detailed stories set in a broader context of inderstanding, and a balance between scholarly thought and nontechnical writing for a public audience. His books are simply a delight to read."

— Sally Hermansen

Technology & Culture

"Mark Monmonier is a cartographer, distinguished professor, and writer extraordinaire. . . . This volume, on mapping shorelines, is yet another excellent contribution."

— Klaus J. Meyer-Arendt

Christopher Hallowell

"Coastlines take on a completely different meaning after reading Mark Monmonier’s five-century-long odyssey on the challenges and tricks that mapmakers have used to tell us where land and sea meet. That line is far from obvious, it turns out. With the prospect of rising global sea levels, the technique of mapping changing bays, estuaries, and deltas requires imagination as much as mathematics.  By using history and humor, Monmonier’s fascination with mapping our coastlines is highly infectious."

Weatherwise - Randy Cerveny

"A very useful (and fairly quick) read on the topic of changing coastlines. . . . Anyone interested in an informative and entertaining read on climate change via the science of cartography and map-making should peruse Monmonier's geographic treatise on coastlines."
The Journal of the Australian Map Circle - Colin V. Marray-Wallace

An interesting overview of some of the most fundamental problems faced by all cartographers in map construction.... I highly recommend the work."
H-Net - Sally Hermansen

"Coastlines is no exception to what we have come to expect from this exceptional scholar: well researched and referenced, captivating and engaging, with detailed stories set in a broader context of understanding, and a balance between scholarly thought and nontechnical writing for a public audience. His books are simply a delight to read."
Technology & Culture - Klaus J. Meyer-Arendt

"Mark Monmonier is a cartographer, distinguished professor, and writer extraordinaire. . . . This volume, on mapping shorelines, is yet another excellent contribution."
Imago Mundi - Charles A

"[Coast Lines] provides an excellent grounding for a full understanding of the complexity of all factors involved with the historical and current mapping and charting of the world's coastlines. . . . This was an enjoyable read."
The Globe - Colin V. Murray-Wallace

"By using coast lines on maps as examples, the book provides an interesting overview of some of the most fundamental problems faced by all cartographers in map construction. In this sense the book is thought-provoking. The book is written in a very readable style and should be of wide appeal, irrespective of one's degree of technical expertise or familiarity of maps."
Library Journal

Monmonier (geography, Syracuse Univ.; How To Lie with Maps), the author of over 15 books on mapping, cartographic presentation, interpretation, and environmental analysis, has written an interesting commentary on how mapmakers represent the changing nature of nautical coastlines. Writing in nontechnical language aimed at a general or undergraduate readership, the author extensively uses maps, figures, charts, footnotes, and diagrams to illustrate effectively how cartographers and mapmakers depict historical and time-series data on the evolving nature of beaches, navigation charts, and maritime zones. Via the use of mainly American examples, Monmonier tackles the theme of dealing with the assumptions, ideas, and beliefs arising from coastal ecology, flooding, rising sea levels, and the effects of global warming on the land-sea divide. The text is rich in historical content and includes a bibliography with scholarly articles, books, web sites, and government publications. Recommended for undergraduate and larger public library environmental and geography collections.
—Ian D. Gordon

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226534039
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,329,803
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Monmonier is distinguished professor of geography at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the author of many books, including most recently, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Table of Contents

                        Preface and Acknowledgments            
      
            1          Depiction and Measurement
            2          Definitions and Delineations
            3          New Worlds and Fictitious Islands
            4          Triangles and Topography
            5          Overhead Imaging
            6          Electronic Charts and Precise Positioning
            7          Global Shorelines
            8          Baselines and Offshore Borders
            9          Calibrating Catastrophe
            10        Rising Seas, Eroding Surge
            11        Close-ups and Complexity
            12        Epilogue

                        Notes
                        Bibliography

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

    Leaders den

    This is ices dej

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