Just like in journalism, the first thing one learns in a cartography class is that good maps tell stories. This semester, I’m taking cartography and journalism simultaneously, and I’ve realized that the constructions I’ve learned for how to think about making maps actually make me a better writer.

I wrote an essay on the relationship between cartography and science journalism that appeared on Scientific American’s Guest blog yesterday. You should check it out here.  I wrote about how the framework for making map design decisions, including how to think about what content to include and what to leave out, and how that I’ve started to use that same thought process when I am writing.

I heard some great feedback from the cartography community, with people both excited that I wrote about how maps tell stories, and that I reminded readers that maps have authors, just like stories, and they are never perfectly accurate and objective. Now, I have to stop writing about maps (temporarily) and work on finishing my final project for my cartography class!

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