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Mapping Uncertainty. Early Modern Global Cartography, 21st Century Discussions

KNIR Colloquium
How to present uncertain knowledge? What did, and what do, mapmakers do when they are not sure? This posed a large problem in early modern times, the so-called ‘age of exploration’. Where and how to insert whole new continents, disputed discoveries, questionable coastlines, and islands beyond the imagination? What if the experiences of explorers contradicted age-old narratives? And how to present the yet unexplored parts of the world? The issue of visualizing uncertain information on a map, however, is not just an early modern issue. 21st-century scholars making maps, for example with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) face comparable problems. How to state ‘maybe’ or ‘I don’t know’ with only ones and zeros at your disposal? Where to draw the line? How to demonstrate (or hide) your uncertainty? [more]
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