Lesson Plan: The Grim Side of Thematic Mapping

Examines various kinds of thematic maps from the 19th century, including fire insurance maps, disease mpas, and war maps. This lesson asks several questions: Why were these maps produced? How have they been used? What conditions in the 19th century manufactured demand for these maps? In the second part of the lesson, students are given a map of a fictional town plagued by an epidemic. By mapping the cases on a provided map, they must determine how the disease is being spread. After the activity, the presentation continues with a discussion of disease mapping since John Snow's famous 1854 "cholera map" which proved that Cholera is spread through contaminated water and not through "miasmas" as previously thought.



Further Reading

  • Koch, Tom. Disease Maps: Epidemics on the Ground. 2011.