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CARTOGRAPHICA
2010

Essential, Illustrative, or ... Just Propaganda? Rethinking John Snow's Broad Street Map

13 years 2 months ago
Essential, Illustrative, or ... Just Propaganda? Rethinking John Snow's Broad Street Map
For more than a century John Snow's iconic map of an 1854 cholera outbreak in the Broad Street area of Soho, London, has been the very definition of how to discover the source of a disease. Some now argue, however, that the map was merely an illustrative and not very imaginative graphic. Here we argue that this position is incorrect. Snow's mapping of the Broad Street outbreak produced a spatial argument that was a critical evidentiary statement. This position requires us to ask, If that is true, is the map in part responsible for Snow's inability to convince contemporaries of his argument that cholera was water-borne and not airborne? In doing so, we use mid-nineteenth-century methodologies to demonstrate that the problem was not in the map but in Snow's handling of the data. This review of a seminal study in the history of disease studies not only informs historical perspective but, in its conclusions, speaks to the utility of medical mapping in contemporary dise...
Tom Koch, Ken Denike
Added 28 Feb 2011
Updated 28 Feb 2011
Type Journal
Year 2010
Where CARTOGRAPHICA
Authors Tom Koch, Ken Denike
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