The area told as a story
: An inquiry into the relationship between verbal and map-based expressions of geographical information

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In the struggle every creator of expressions goes through, the re-strictions of the media being used are there, to be obeyed or to be questioned. In this thesis I will show how maps and verbal texts are different media, and how these differences have consequences not only for how things are said, but also for what can be said at all using these two media. A text contains too much and too little information to make a map. This means that there are things—for example, negation and disjunction—which can be expressed easily in texts, but which are difficult to put on maps. Further, a map needs a level of specificity in the input data in order to be created. Such specificity is rarely if ever found in texts. In the thesis, experiments are described in which this is studied in detail. Based on the results from these experiments, an inventory of types of information that are incom¬patible is presented, along with a discussion of the degree to which each of them is incompatible. Even if the experimental results are based on just one specific text, it is also argued that they are examples of a much more general feature, applicable to most if not all texts. The latter claim is sustained through a study of the literature in the scholarly tradition of comparing different arts arid different media. It turns out that the findings from the experiments are in line with traditional as well as recent views in this area. It is explained why this is so, and what consequences this may have for how maps and texts are treated, in academia as well as beyond.
Date of Award1 Feb 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorWillard McCarty (Supervisor) & John Lavagnino (Supervisor)

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