Cartographic Grounds

Projecting the Landscape Imaginary

Jill Desimini, Charles Waldheim


     8;5 × 10.5 in (12.7 × 26.7 cm)
272 pages
200 color illustrations
Publication date: 06/14/2016
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781616893293

Mapping has been one of the most fertile areas of exploration for architecture and landscape in the past few decades. While documenting this shift in representation from the material and physical description toward the dpiction of the unseen and often immaterial, Cartographic Grounds takes a critical view toward the current use of data mapping and visualization and calls for a return to traditional cartographic to reimagine the manifestation and manipulation of the ground itself.
Each of the ten chapters focuses on a single cartographic technique---sounding/spot elevation, isobath/contour, hachure/hatch, shaded relief, land classi cation, figure-ground, stratigraphic column, cross-section, line symbol, conventional sign---and illustrates it through beautiful maps and plans from notable designers and cartographers throughout history, from Leonardo da Vinci to James Corner Field Operations. Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, introduces the book.

Jill Desimini and Charles Waldheim are professors of landscape architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune, Printers Row:

"The elegantly designed Cartographic Grounds looks in depth at 10 map-making strategies from a scholarly perspective and tracks their evolution through the centuries."

Harvard Magazine:

"A technically advanced book that lay users will find breathtakingly beautiful and mind-expanding, as it sweeps from historical examples to data visualization."

Library Journal :

"Succinct, well-written notes on mapping basics, and the gorgeous examples employed make this a must for academic geography, cartography, and design collections."


"One of the most visually stunning books I have had the pleasure of reading this year. "

Spacing :

"Cartographic Grounds: Projecting the Landscape Imaginary is a must-have for all designers, architects, and cartographers interested in mapping as both a speculative tool and descriptive form of representation."


"A compendium of centuries-old hand-drawn and page-long satellite maps, Cartographic Grounds plots the transformation of the ancient art form of mapmaking into a type of modern graphic design."

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