car·​tog·​ra·​phy kär-ˈtä-grə-fē How to pronounce cartography (audio)
: the science or art of making maps
cartographic adjective
or less commonly cartographical
cartographically adverb

Example Sentences

She studied cartography in college.
Recent Examples on the Web Maps, by Rose Mitchell and Andrew Janes: Too many scholarly works on cartography skimp on the maps themselves, but this gorgeous book is full of them. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 27 Aug. 2014 Tracing circuits in the brain is such delicate work that it is still done by hand, and some of the most exciting new imaging methods focus on making clearer and deeper pictures of neurons for use in such cartography. Veronique Greenwood, Discover Magazine, 31 Aug. 2011 The second-century Greek mathematician, astronomer and geographer Claudius Ptolemy founded the Western science of cartography. Julie Rehmeyer, Discover Magazine, 7 Nov. 2018 The philosophical inspiration behind Tully’s cosmic cartography comes from a multitude of mapmakers, but the scientific inspiration can be traced back to a single person: German astronomer and mathematician Friedrich Bessel. Corey S. Powell, Discover Magazine, 20 Feb. 2015 In 1988, the people of Artsakh voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to dissolve Moscow’s artificial cartography, secede from Soviet Azerbaijan and assert their Armenian identity. Time, 12 Jan. 2023 In this way, the diction of the poem mirrors the precise (but historically incorrect) and cold grammar of cartography. Laura Da’ Victoria Chang, New York Times, 1 Sep. 2022 Betsy Mason is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area who specializes in science and cartography. Betsy Mason, Discover Magazine, 5 June 2020 Through snowy stargazing, flirting with guys on dating apps, taking ketamine (or not), and watching YouTube lecture videos, outer and inner space collapse – to draw a warped cartography of desire and distance. Peter Debruge, Variety, 13 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cartography.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French cartographie, from carte card, map + -graphie -graphy — more at card entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1847, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cartography was circa 1847

Dictionary Entries Near cartography

Cite this Entry

“Cartography.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


car·​tog·​ra·​phy kär-ˈtäg-rə-fē How to pronounce cartography (audio)
: the making of maps
cartographic adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on cartography

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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