When was it made?
- Drawn or composed
Who made the map?
- Sponsoring group or agency
What are its features?
- Physical topography – mountains, rivers, forest, etc.
- Human use – settlements, transportation routes, territorial boundaries, etc.
How is it organized and designed?
- Spatial extent and scale
- Symbology, legends, colors
- Marginalia, pictures, and accompanying text
- Empty space
What is the overall theme or purposes of the map? (Ex. way-finding, military, promotional, scientific, political)
Who is the audience, both intended and unintended? (Ex. travelers, settlers, government officials, academics)
What are the map’s arguments, both explicit and hidden?
Who is privileged or excluded from the map? What are the power dynamics at play?
How does the map fit within a larger cartographic context? (Ex. other maps by the same cartographer/agency, of the same subject matter, or in the same genre, market competition)
What is the broader social, political, economic, and geographic context within which the map was produced?