Geodesy and Geoinformation: What's that?



Kartography is dealing with the organization and presentation of spatial information. It is a science with a long history, which has nevertheless kept being up-to-date.

There was always the need to map the Earth surface or parts of it for special purposes, e.g. onto paper. Think e.g. about road maps and sea maps, proof of land ownership or to display the various types of land use. Since the Earth is not flat, in first approximation a sphere, an unbiased projection into a plane (e.g. a piece of paper) is impossible. Thus the classical problem is to find a kartographic projection suited for the special purpose. For navigator e.g. conformal maps are of advantage, while for land ownership equal-area maps should be used. The respective mathematical projections are a main topic of kartography.

In addition kartography deals with the proper ways to depict objects depending on the intended usage of the maps. An important part here is the generalisation in maps, which is always necessary when spatial information has to be visualized most realistic but also descriptive and readable within the limited space of a map.

The long prevailing map on the paper medium is slowly but steadily superseded by the collection and arrangement of all kartography relevant data in the computer or a data base respectively, and this with an arbitrary, normally best possible resolution and accuracy. The access to this information can be filtered according to the user's interest. For the data output varoius media are available nowadays: beside the traditional map on paper the visualization on the screen with variable scale (think e.g. on rout planner in the internet) has emerged to an important alternative. For navigation systems the visual presentation is most of the time enhanced by a language support. For the visualisation for three-dimensional informationen in a vivid way the methods of “Augmented Reality” have found application in kartography in the last years.

Thus kartography forms a complex science with the main task to enable a neutral and most realistic view on our world. This is achieved by linking the traditional knowledge with the modern methods of information technology.