PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (6): 1097-1108.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2022.06.012

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Mapping and “cartographicality”: Progress review of critical cartography and critical GIS

WANG Tao1,2(), LIU Yungang2,3,*()   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2. School of Geography & the Center for Asian Geographical Studies, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    3. Beidou Research Institute, South China Normal University, Foshan 528225, Guangdong, China
  • Received:2021-06-03 Revised:2022-03-22 Online:2022-06-28 Published:2022-08-28
  • Contact: LIU Yungang;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42142028);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42071187)


Maps are the basic language of geography and an indispensable tool for spatial analysis. But maps have long been seen as an objective, neutral scientific product. Inspired by critical geography, critical cartography/GIS emerged with the goal of elucidating the nature of discourse, power relations, and even the physical environment embedded in cartographic practice and challenging the untested but taken for granted assumptions in cartographic representation. After nearly 40 years of debates, this field of research has been gradually defined, and a blueprint of "hybrid geographies" has gradually emerged. Through the combination of various geographical methodologies, critical cartography/GIS has generally formed two research directions. The deconstruction approaches mainly start from the identity of cartographers and the production process of map knowledge, and analyze the inseparable relationship between "cartographicality" and national governance as well as the inherent mechanism of power. The construction approaches mainly explore the new production and representation of maps by means of collaborative mapping and counter-mapping. The research of critical cartography/GIS in China has just started, so it is necessary to continue to draw on the achievements of critical geography to carry out the deconstruction research of different types of maps in different historical periods, strengthen the convergence of construction path and deconstruction path, and actively participate in the social applications of research results.

Key words: critical cartography, GIS, power, knowledge production, collaborative mapping, counter-mapping