Articles | Volume 5
30 May 2024
 | 30 May 2024

Explore maps as you read a comic book

Bérénice Le Mao and Guillaume Touya

Keywords: cartography, multi-scale, progressiveness, comics, music, cinema

Abstract. While maps have been evolving towards more interactivity and pan-scalar display, their design did not change this much, lacking progressiveness between the numerous maps at different zoom levels. Drawing inspiration from the well-established theories of comics and cinema, this article explores the essential mechanics of these mediums, particularly focusing on the common challenge of progressiveness in their panoptic design. Progressiveness, defined using terms from comics, cinema, and music, becomes a pivotal concept in pan-scalar map design, emphasizing consistency, comfort in reading, and the absence of breaks. The goal is to elucidate the elements within the cartographer’s control during the pan-scalar design process, akin to film editors manipulating semantic, syntactic, and rhythmic functions. This article not only conceptualizes progressiveness but also proposes initial measures to enhance it in pan-scalar maps, thereby expanding the understanding of the design space and the diverse choices available to cartographers.