Cartography or mapmaking is the study and practice of making maps. Map making involves the application of both scientific and artistic elements, combining graphic talents and specialised knowledge of compilation and design principles with available techniques for product generation. Maps function as visualization tools for spatial data. Spatial data is stored in a database and extracted for a variety of purposes. The traditional analog methods of map making have been replaced by digital systems capable of producing dynamic interactive maps that can be manipulated digitally.
Modern Cartography like many other fields of "information technology" has undergone rapid changes in the last decade. Rather than merely drawing maps the cartographic process is concerned with data manipulation, data capture, image processing and visual display. Cartographic representations may appear in printed form or as dynamic images generated on a computer display screen. Computer assisted mapping systems have added a new and exciting dimension to cartographic techniques and traditional methodologies have to be augmented with new skills. The fundamental nature of cartography has changed with the evolving technologies, providing cartographers with new methods for visualization and communication of spatial information.