Geographers have long understood the relevance of scale to the discernment of pattern and the derivation of meaning from geographic data. The power of the map lies in its ability to abstract space. It plays a critical role in identifying and interpreting process. Their variety reflects the breadth of application, now made broader by advances in database technology and media. Traditionally the human cartographer was tasked with selecting and symbolizing some abstracted subset of reality. But technological developments in the capture, management, and visualization of geographic information have created a paradigm shift in how we create, utilize, and interact with maps. This technology shift has required us to precisely examine the art and science of cartography and explore innovative ways of modeling cartographic design in the context of geographical information science and interactive techniques. The process of democratization of geographic information raises exciting challenges and opportunities for those working in this field.