What is a map? Cartography, or mapmaking, is the practice of recording spatial information to aid in visualization. Knowing the visual language of maps can make it easier to read and understand them. Realizing that mapping technology and techniques have changed throughout the ages allows you to consider a map as a historical artifact.

Would you recognize this object as a map?

What evidence do you have about the purpose it was intended to serve when it was created?

Mouse over the image to explore some features of this object.

back side of the object

This is the other side of this three-dimensional object.

The pattern of deep notches along the edge of this object resembles the coast of Greenland with its many fjords and islands.

Coast of Greenland

NASA, NASA SATELLITE PHOTO OF SOUTHERN COAST OF GREENLAND, AUGUST 1997 (1997) Courtesy of NASA.

This object is made of driftwood, a material that is durable, soft enough to carve easily, and buoyant.