Definition of cartography in US English:



  • The science or practice of drawing maps.

    • ‘It is a remarkable scientific document which contains his work on mathematics, music, astronomy, calendars, cartography, geology, optics and medicine.’
    • ‘Critical cartographers urge a profound revision of traditional cartography as taught in academic Geography.’
    • ‘First, he knew very little about either geography, astronomy, or cartography.’
    • ‘Mercator had studied geography, cartography and mathematics at the University of Louvain in Belgium.’
    • ‘Thus it was, in a round about way, that I became, latterly, the first woman Keeper of Public Records, while remaining a practising historian of the history of cartography.’
    • ‘The history of mathematics had always interested Rey Pastor and late in his career his interests in historical topics extended to cartography.’
    • ‘The historian of cartography James Welu has shown all of these to be actual contemporary printed maps.’
    • ‘In the historical development of cartography, when a new type or style of map appears on the scene, it is normally derived from earlier forms in some evolutionary process.’
    • ‘In the history of cartography the territory being mapped changed very little.’
    • ‘So there is good reason to say that during the war, military geography and military cartography emerged as full-fledged sciences in their own right.’
    • ‘Unlike most explorers, these two leaders had no Aboriginal guides to help them, no skill in geography, cartography, or living off the land.’
    • ‘Other disciplines have been brought to bear on the subject, including archaeology, cartography, and historical geography.’
    • ‘As Harley points out, much of the scientific rhetoric of post-Enlightenment cartography was used to maintain systems of state and imperial domination.’
    • ‘Cosmographia provided a layman's introduction to such subjects as astronomy, geography, cartography, surveying, navigation and mathematical instruments.’
    • ‘Mercator made many new maps and globes, but his greatest contribution to cartography must be the Mercator projection.’
    • ‘As a Dominican he continued to study philosophy and theology but he became increasingly interested in the study of mathematics, astronomy, and cartography.’
    • ‘Regarding his importance for the history of cartography, he is compared to Ptolemy, the ancient scholar from Alexandria in Egypt.’
    • ‘These in turn led to advances in geography and cartography and the colonization of new lands.’
    • ‘Bonnet also published on cartography, algebra, rational mechanics and mathematical physics.’
    • ‘As well as mathematics, Ozanam was also interested in cartography and military engineering.’


Mid 19th century: from French cartographie, from carte ‘map, card’ (see card) + -graphie (see -graphy).