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

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

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by Mark Monmonier
     
 

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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… See more details below

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

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226534046
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
09/15/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
7 MB

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