Doctor's Theses (authored and supervised):
"The Polysemy of Map Signs: An Exploration of the Connotative Meanings of Cartographic Point Symbols ";
Supervisor, Reviewer: G. Gartner, M. Peterson, A. Griffin;
Department für Geodäsie und Geoinformation 120-06,
oral examination: 2021-06-10.
Maps are a means of communication. Through the use of signs and symbols, maps communicate about the geographic world. As such, they enable us to relate to spatial phenomena from viewpoints beyond direct experience.
Cartography is, therefore, deeply concerned with the use of map signs and their meanings. Semiotic theory generally emphasizes two meaning dimensions of any sign, i.e., the dimension of reference and the dimension of sense (Nöth, 1995). These two dimensions are also referred to as explicit and implicit meanings, as denotation and connotation, as meanings in maps and meanings of maps (MacEachren, 1995). So far, cartographic semiotics has mainly focused on the explicit, denotative meanings in maps. The implicit, connotative meanings of maps and their effects on map users have, yet, largely been disregarded.
This dissertation was, thus, devoted to exploring the dimension of connotation in cartographic communication. Four empirical user studies were carried out to examine the implicit, connotative meanings of abstract cartographic point symbols. The studies revealed that cartographic signs connote on multiple levels, i.e., visually, associatively, and affectively. The findings further disclosed the cognitive relatedness of cartographic point symbols, revealed their affective qualities, identified symbol‐content congruences, and demonstrated that the connotative meanings associated with abstract shapes influence how people judge geospatial events.
With these findings combined, this dissertation contributes a diverse empirical basis of the potential connotative meanings of cartographic point symbols. It demonstrates the significance of the visual sign in cartographic communication. It also emphasizes the polysemy of cartographic signs and the need to consider their connotative meanings with more attention in cartographic research and practice.
Semiotics, Connotation, Cartographic Point Symbols, Thematic Maps, Visual Communication
Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.