The potential of maps to ‘mislead’ is flagged as an ethical issue in the academic literature and beyond. This potential resurfaced in discussions around Covid-19 mapping practices. Using Alvesson and Sandberg’s (2020) problematising review framework, we explore what assumptions are made about the map user and map engagement context when a disease map, or mapping or distribution practice is labelled as misleading, and how this conceptualization can be both a help and a hindrance for studying (engagement with) public health maps. We argue that further empirical research and theoretical development are needed to better understand map-based misleadingness in the context of public health crises, and that the label of misleadingness should be used with caution.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Cartographic Journal
Publication statusAcceptance date - 6 Jun 2024


  • Covid-19 maps
  • Map ethics
  • Cartography ethics
  • Problematising review
  • Map use

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