The impact of digital geo-iconography. Limits and potentialities of the use of online sources for the history of cartography research

Marco Petrella


This paper is a step of a research project aiming at analyzing in an empirical, user-oriented perspective the perception of how online geographical tools impact on geographical research. In details, the article focuses on recently developed web tools in the field of history of cartography and outlines the implications, in terms of limits and potentialities, of digital cartography for research purposes at an academical level. In such analysis, the paper also dwells on participatory tools and digital earth models as tools for history of cartography research.. For this purpose, the paper analyses the results of a survey conducted by asking academic scholars in history of cartography their perception of the limits and potentialities of recently developed tools. What emerges from the research is a widespread perception of a series of potentialities and at the same time a consciousness of many critical issues, especially for what concerns participative tools and GeoWeb resources. Digital tools have profoundly modified academic research, becoming in some aspects tools for its enhancement. Nevertheless, their undisputed merit is that they have drawn the attention of a wider public, albeit through messages that are sometimes misleading, to the map as a means of communication.



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