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Geographica Helvetica
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Volume 72, issue 3
Geogr. Helv., 72, 377-387, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-72-377-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Geogr. Helv., 72, 377-387, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-72-377-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Standard article 07 Sep 2017

Standard article | 07 Sep 2017

Pre-Thinking GIS – Zur Visuellen Politik der frühen quantitativ-theoretischen Geographie

Boris Michel Boris Michel
  • Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institut für Geographie, Wetterkreuz 15, 91058 Erlangen, Germany

Abstract. This paper examines questions of how issues of visual representation and vision have changed with the the quantitative and theoretical thinking in 1950s and early 1960s Anglophone geography. If the quantitative revolution in geography is understood as a scientific revolution, one should also expect a revolution of the ways in which geography made use of visualizations. At the center of this essay is William Bunge's “Theoretical Geography”, one of the founding text of this new geographical thought. This book forms the starting point for a discussion of the changed roles and changed forms of visualization in the production of geographical knowledge. Following Fred Schaefer's attack on Richard Harthorne, Bunge placed the search for morphological laws at the center of a geography that is strongly oriented towards geometry. In this paper, the text of Bunge serves as a starting point into the field of early analytical cartography and the first consideration of what later, become geographic information systems and their new visual language. In this paper this history of GIS is largely told without a history of technology a well as without its political context of the cold war and the Fordist state.

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