A provocation to reflect on how interdisciplinary work can encourage environmentally sustainable action on the Great Barrier Reef
I never got to meet Marie Tharp, one of my mapping heroes who died in 2006. She left seventy two boxes filled with maps, letters, photographs and sketches (along with her house!) to the Library of Congress in Washington DC. I recently had a look at some of this material. The North Atlantic Ocean floor…
We were recently lucky to be visited by Dr Alistair Sponsel from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Alistair gave a talk in which he described Darwin’s debt to marine science. This debt took the form of an amphibious approach to natural history that shaped his approach to theoretical reasoning and which was developed by working closely with hydrographic surveyors during…
Tobler’s First Law of Geography states: “Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things” (Tobler, 1970). This is a feature of most phenomena because the world is spatially structured. When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. But don’t think about it too much, or else you will start to interpret everything in relation to this Law (an affliction I have had for several years now, and one that I have passed on to many of the students I teach).
I was reminded of this Law when I recently completed a map of the countries I have visited. Low and behold, the distribution of those countries was spatially structured. This makes sense because some of them I will have visited by travelling over the border from the neighbouring country; I dropped in because I was in the area. For the same reason, I have never visited the Chagos Islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean, or Antarctica. Never seemed to find myself in the area (although I have definitely wanted to!). There are lots of spatially structured processes and patterns in the world: disease, competition, rainfall, gossip, predation, fashion, the way light penetrates the ocean. Tobler’s Law is everywhere when you look for it. Have a go at your own map here and see whether your travel behaviour is also spatially structured.
shamylto has been to: Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba, Brazil, Canada, Cocos Islands, Cyprus, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Jordan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Reunion, Saint Barthélemy, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican. Get your own travel map from Matador Network.
University of Wollongong video about the Capricorn-Bunker fieldwork
All in all, I am happy to chalk up this trip as a rousing success. This unique survey represents the largest high-resolution satellite mapping campaign undertaken to characterise the seafloor on the Great Barrier Reef.
Last year I spent some time in San Francisco. I was lucky enough to catch up with David Stoddart while I was there, who invited me over to lunch. While I was at his house, he dug out an old folder full of maps he had made during the 1973 Royal Society and Universities of…
The internal power of maps is realised in the actions taken by cartographers themselves when making maps, while the external power of maps is both realised by the patrons of cartography and wielded through the use of cartographic products as agents for natural resource management
Talking to Professor Ken Caldeira about research at One Tree Island