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Maps are involved as soon as one decides to understand spatial relationships and patterns. Most maps limit themselves to a single snapshot in time. However, the study of geographical processes cannot be successful without considering time as well, because these events only happen as time passes. When maps have to depict events, an inventive design approach is required to keep them clear and understandable. A classic example is the Minard map from 1861 showing Napoleon's ad ventures in Russia (Robinson 1967). Maps displaying events that stretch over time tend to become rather complex. The solution is to split the "master" map into a set of maps to be read as a comic. The maps in the set are less cluttered, but the reader needs greater skills to combine the information they provide into a event, especially when that event is a process (Kousoulakou and Kraak 1992).
With advancing technology, animation seems to be the solution. To understand the process represented by animation the viewer should have interface tools available, for instance, to go back and forward, pause and stop. Without these tools the animation is even more limited then the set of maps where the reader has freedom to move from one image to another to retrieve information. Considerable (cartographic) research has been done on the application of animation to display time (DiBiase et al. 1992; Peterson 1995; Ormeling 1996; Dransch 1997).
The new cartographic techniques do not stand isolated. Their development and use is an integral process of …