torsdag den 10. juni 2010

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

Mange linjer dele denne verdens regioner ind i mange dele men ingen linjer deler verden på en så dramatisk måde som kystlinjer ...

So many lines divide the world into separate regions but no lines divide the world like coast lines ... A line has been drawn in the sand ...

She sells seashells on the seashore
The shells she sells are seashells, I'm sure
So if she sells seashells on the seashore
Then I'm sure she sells seashore shells.

Terry Sullivan

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.

Five Islands, Maine, as shown on the U.S. Geological Survey's Boothbay Harbor 7.5-minute topographic map, published in 1979. Topographic maps emphasize features on land.

Five Islands, Maine, as shown on U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey chart 238, Kennebec and Sheepscot River Entrances,published in 1970. Coastal charts emphasize shoreline features and hazards to navigation.


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