Cartography is the field of study devoted to maps and mapping. It includes any activity in which the creation, presentation, and use of maps is of basic concern. Cartographers deal with the collection and compilation of geographical data for a map, along with the design and production of all types of maps, including charts, plans, atlases, and globes.
In a broader sense, cartography encompasses studying how people use and gain knowledge from maps, teaching the skills of map use, investigating the history of cartography, and maintaining map collections. The graphic representation of the spatial environment that we call a map is the intellectual object that unites these aspects of cartography.
Cartographers are concerned with portraying a selective and simplified representation of an area on the earth or another celestial body visually as a map. Maps are reductions of geographic space, since maps are smaller in size than the areas they represent. But a map is far more than a photo like representation of space: It is a carefully designed graphic that we can use to observe, calculate, analyze, and thereby come to understand the spatial relationships among features in the environment. The many types of maps we see today share the same basic objective of communicating spatial locations and geographical relationships graphically.