New Paradigm

The new paradigm is built on the third or organic view of space, under which space is neither lifeless nor neutral but a living structure capable of being more living or less living. Living structure is conceived as a physical phenomenon and defined as a mathematical concept, with the inherent hierarchy of far more small substructures than large ones. Living structure is governed by the two fundamental laws – scaling law and Tobler’s law – respectively available at all hierarchical levels and on each level of the hierarchy. Applying the living structure view to the Earth’s surface, there are far more small things than large ones across all levels of the hierarchy (spatial heterogeneity), whereas things are more or less similar on each level of the hierarchy (spatial homogeneity). Not only the territory but also the map is a living structure. In essence, it is the living structure that makes maps and mapping possible. Under the new paradigm, all small-scale maps can be automatically derived from the single large-scale map or database, implying that a map is an iterative system, being the map of the map of the map and so on.

Jiang B. and Slocum T. (2020), A map is a living structure with the recurring notion of far more smalls than larges, ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 9(6), 388,, Reprinted as the cover story in the magazine Coordinates, August issue, 6–17, 2020.

Jiang B. (2019), New paradigm in mapping: A critique on Cartography and GIS, Cartographica, 54(3), 183–205. Reprinted in the magazine Coordinates, October issue, 9–21.