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1. Introduction to Digital Mapping > 1.1. The Power of Digital Maps

The Power of Digital Maps

When you contrast the methods of conventional and digital mapping, the power of digital mapping becomes evident. The process of conventional mapping includes hand-drawn observations of the real world, transposed onto paper. If a feature changes, moves, or is drawn incorrectly, a new map needs to be created to reflect that change. Likewise if a map shows the extent of a city and that city grows, the extent of the map will need to be changed and the map will need to be completely recreated.

These problems are reduced with digital mapping. Because features are stored as distinct layers in a computer file, you can modify a map without starting from scratch. Once a feature is modified, the computer-based map instantly reflects the change the next time the feature is viewed. Interactive maps allow the user to view the precise area they are interested in, rather than be confined by the dimensions of a printed page. The user can also choose to view only certain pieces of content. The mapmaker doesn’t have to guess which information the viewer wants to see but can make it possible for the reader to choose.


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