Cloth $55.00 ISBN: 9780226339368 Published July 2016
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After the Map

Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century

William Rankin

After the Map

William Rankin

416 pages | 13 color plates, 144 halftones | 7 x 10 | © 2016
Cloth $55.00 ISBN: 9780226339368 Published July 2016
E-book $10.00 to $55.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226339535 Published July 2016
For most of the twentieth century, maps were indispensable. They were how governments understood, managed, and defended their territory, and during the two world wars they were produced by the hundreds of millions. Cartographers and journalists predicted the dawning of a “map-minded age,” where increasingly state-of-the-art maps would become everyday tools. By the century’s end, however, there had been decisive shift in mapping practices, as the dominant methods of land surveying and print publication were increasingly displaced by electronic navigation systems.
In After the Map, William Rankin argues that although this shift did not render traditional maps obsolete, it did radically change our experience of geographic knowledge, from the God’s-eye view of the map to the embedded subjectivity of GPS. Likewise, older concerns with geographic truth and objectivity have been upstaged by a new emphasis on simplicity, reliability, and convenience. After the Map shows how this change in geographic perspective is ultimately a transformation of the nature of territory, both social and political.
Possibly Ambiguous Terms

Introduction Territory and the Mapping Sciences

Part I The International Map of the World and the Logic of Representation

Chapter 1 The Authority of Representation
A Single Map for All Countries, 1891–1939

Chapter 2 Maps as Tools
Globalism, Regionalism, and the Erosion of Universal Cartography, 1940–1965

Part II: Cartographic Grids and New Territories of Calculation

Chapter 3 Aiming Guns, Recording Land, and Stitching Map to Territory
The Invention of Cartographic Grid Systems, 1914–1939

Chapter 4 Territoriality without Borders
Global Grids and the Universal Transverse Mercator, 1940–1965

Part III: Electronic Navigation and Territorial Pointillism

Chapter 5 Inhabiting the Grid
Radionavigation and Electronic Coordinates, 1920–1965

Chapter 6 The Politics of Global Coverage
The Navy, NASA, and GPS, 1960–2010

Conclusion The Politics in My Pocket

Acronyms and Codenames
Review Quotes
"This ambitious and detailed book, elegantly written and illustrated, offers a history of the mapping sciences—or, more precisely, "geographic tools" and "geo-epistemology"—in the 20th century. Moving across cartography, geodesy, and navigation, cartographer Rankin traces a gradual but significant shift in the "nature of territory" from a world of cartographic representation firmly tied to the space of the nation-state to very different understandings premised on the coordinates of the global positioning system (GPS). Alongside detailed historical excavation, the text’s strength is its serious, even unprecedented, attempt to draw together scholarship in cartography and historical geography with the history of science—and with a dose of diplomatic or international history, too. Rankin clearly possesses a formidable understanding of his subject, and approaches maps and related technologies with a delightful precision."
Peter Galison, Harvard University
“In this tour de force study, Rankin maps mapping, demonstrating just how radically the global map evolved over the long twentieth century. He brings us from the 1890s, when treaties produced the first true global map system, through the military grids that marked every spot for building, digging, and targeting. Finally, Rankin displays, in a fresh new way, how we have come to move in a pointillist, instrument-ready GPS world—the third great moment of modern world mapping. Map may not be territory, but with After the Map, Rankin shows us how mapping has remade contemporary territory and reconfigured the political geography of space itself.”
David Kaiser, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“How do we place ourselves in space? Do we imagine large, contiguous territories or isolated points on a grid? Rankin traces three waves of geographic knowledge-making over the twentieth century. Forged or foiled by wars and treaties, technological capabilities, navigational imperatives, and cartographic imaginations, each mapping scheme reflected shifting notions of how best to find our place in the world. After the Map is profoundly researched and utterly fascinating.”
Daniel Kevles, Yale University
After the Map is as prodigiously capacious and ground-breaking as the successive representations of the world that it recounts. It not only traces the progression since the late nineteenth century from terrain-based maps, through location by latitude-and-longitude-free grids, to orientation by points in GPS space, but it also convincingly analyzes what drove these cartographic shifts, spotlighting the dynamic interplay among technical knowledge and practices, military and navigational needs, and changing ideas of territory and sovereignty. Deeply researched and lucidly written, After the Map is an important, eye-opening, and compelling work.”
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