An Introduction to Critical Cartography


  • Jeremy W. Crampton Department of Geography, Georgia State University
  • John Krygier Geography and Geography, Ohio Wesleyan University



critical cartography, cartography, mapping practices


This paper provides a brief introduction to critical cartography. We define critical cartography as a one-two punch of new mapping practices and theoretical critique. Critical cartography challenges academic cartography by linking geographic knowledge with power, and thus is political. Although contemporary critical cartography rose to prominence in the 1990s, we argue that it can only be understood in the historical context of the development of the cartographic discipline more generally. We sketch some of the history of this development, and show that critiques have continually accompanied the discipline. In the post-war period cartography underwent a significant solidification as a science, while at the same time other mapping practices (particularly artistic experimentation with spatial representation) were occurring. Coupled with the resurgence of theoretical critiques during the 1990s, these developments serve to question the relevance of the discipline of cartography at a time when mapping is increasingly prevalent and vital.


How to Cite

Crampton, J. W., & Krygier, J. (2015). An Introduction to Critical Cartography. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 4(1), 11–33.



Special Issue - Critical Cartographies