Geography needs cartography

 

I am a former archaeologist and currently a professional geographer, so I especially enjoyed the recent feature article “Following Ancient Footsteps” (HCN, 10/2/17). Among the many highlights was the small but effective map that put the whole story into a geographic perspective. 

Unfortunately, I have found that maps in feature stories are the exception. I have read numerous features that don’t include a map of the area, most recently “A Weird and Perfect Wilderness,” “Los Promotores” and “The Elwha, Unleashed.” As Westerners, we are defined by our geography, and our geography is illustrated in maps. 

Every one of HCN’s excellent stories is rooted in a place, whether small or large.  Why not include a map for each one? The photography of people and places is always powerful, but even a small map can add context to an already engaging story. Maps tell and distill stories. When you add a map to a story, it paints a picture and helps put the reader in that (or those) places.   

Chris Wayne
Chiloquin, Oregon