Given Robert Cribb’s long involvement with map-making, we thought it would be interesting to hear his thoughts and experience on the subject. To this purpose, we first interviewed him in December 2009 but sadly the film quality was not ideal. The interview was remade in March 2011 but is not complete due to lost material and other glitches. Accordingly, we have inserted a few clips from the original interview.
Because the interview is lengthy and covers a lot of ‘territory’, we have broken it down into a series of short film clips grouped under three topics.
Robert Cribb describes how he first became involved in map-making.
He describes the shift from traditional to digital cartography, the decline in cartography services for authors at universities, and the increasing power and sophistication of mapping software.
He explains why he is a great proponent of digital cartography.
Robert Cribb describes the challenges he faces as a map-maker.
He admits that he is well known as a cartographer but is also an historian. That said, have the maps taken over?
The Case for Maps
Robert Cribb describes what it is that maps offer as an adjunct to prose, and discusses their main strengths and weaknesses.
He admits to being an empirical historian and responds to the concern of some that maps do not as such depict reality but rather create new realities.
Robert Cribb describes what a scholar needs to begin making maps. He considers not simply the physical requirements but much more.
He sets out the key benefits of using vector-based mapping/illustration software (like CorelDraw and Illustrator) and the shortcomings of image-editing software like PC Paint and Photoshop.
Robert Cribb looks at what copyright issues there might be if you base your map on someone else’s work.
He discusses how to depict uncertain, fictitious or disputed borders on a map.
He describes map projections and explains how the size and shape of the land areas they depict can differ wildly (especially at the poles). He also warns that map projections may have political implications.
Robert Cribb looks at geographic information systems and explains why he doesn’t use them for his map-making.
He regrets the lack of good reference works on map-making.