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Advancements in Cartography

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Jacob Redland

on 16 December 2013

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Transcript of Advancements in Cartography

The Evolution of Cartography
the Classical Age
As the Greek Empire waned and eventually became part of the Roman Empire, advances continued to be made in the field of cartography, such as the first accurate estimates of the Earth's circumference, and the establishment of parallels and meridians, all of which came from the geographer and philosopher Eratosthenes.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the Eurasian landmass, the Chinese and Indians were making great strides in the field of cartography. The earliest Chinese maps can be traced back to 400 BC, a notable feature of Chinese maps during this time period being the grid system they implemented, which improved map accuracy. The first Indian maps can be traced to structural blueprints and star charts, and the first maps of large or notable terrestrial areas date from around 200-400 AD.
Another advancement in the field of cartography was the introduction of new surveying equipment, most notably the
a new surveying tool introduced by the Greeks and Mesopotamians to the Romans, who implemented it on a widespread basis and used it as a quintessential tool for building and mapping out their empire.
Early Maps
The first maps were often be drawn from a horizontal or slanting viewpoint, and could often be not of the earth, but of the night sky. The earliest top-down view map
is of the ancient Turkish city of Çatalhöyük around 6,000 BC.
Enlightenment - 19th Century
In 1569, Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator revolutionized cartography by inventing the new Mercator projection of maps. Based on mathematics, the Mercator projection was quickly adopted for nautical purposes, and a variant of the Mercator projection remains the standard in map projection for world maps today.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, maps of the New World and Africa continued to become more detailed, and it could be considered that advancements in cartography throughout this time period were fueled by the colonization of the New World and the need to understand these hitherto unknown lands.
Also, maps became easier to reproduce. Formerly hindered by the time-consuming, laborious nature of map production and reproduction, innovations such as the printing press and advances in paper technology (paper once being a scarce resource) have made maps both easier to produce and more resistant to wear.
Middle Ages and Renaissance
As the world entered the Middle Ages, European maps became less concerned with being navigational aides and moreso with being "teaching aides" for theories such as those that divided the world into three 'climate zones', those three zones being Europe, Africa, and Asia. Such maps differed greatly from those of modern times in that they placed the east or south at the top of the map, rather than the north. One exception to the "climate maps" of this period is the 1086
Domesday Book
, which in essence was a great atlas of every shire in England, containing maps, information on land owners, the economic activities conducted upon and the value of the land, among other things.
Introduction & Table of Contents
In this presentation, you will discover how cartography has evolved throughout the ages by focusing on major innovations in that field.
by Jacob Redland
December 6, 2013
Slide No. | Slide Title
1. Opening Slide
2. Introduction & Table of Contents
3. Early Maps
4. The Classical Age
5. Middle Ages & Renaissance
6. Enlightenment - 19th Century
7. The Modern Era
8. Works Cited
A map which roughly depicts the world
known to the Greek historian Herodotus
around the 4th century BC. [1]
This innovation made maps more than just drawings or cave paintings, and allowed them to depict larger areas.
However, while a number of philosophers had proposed that the earth was spherical in nature, the consensus view at this time was that the earth was a flat disk surrounded by the oceans. Proving the theory that the Earth is round can be credited to Aristotle, who cited the fact that ships look like they are sinking as they move away as proof that the earth is round.
Ptolemy's map of the world in 150 AD, from his atlas, Geographia. [2]
A groma.
However, the discovery of the Americas in 1492 and the colonization that followed rekindled interest in accurate, precise maps meant to be navigational aides. North came to be the established "top" of the map, and in 1492, the first globe of the world (Erdapfel) was created by Martin Behaim. By this time, modern compasses had also begun to appear and were used for navigation both on land and at sea.
In Asia, cartography flourished in this period. Great, elaborate, accurate maps of the Chinese world came from this time. These maps were usually carved from stone and could be thirty feet in diameter.
In 971, a massive overhaul of Chinese maps occurred. Ordered by the Song Emperor Taizu and carried out by Lu Duoson, topographical, economic, and social information was gathered on the Song Chinese realm in a project that would last nearly forty years and was similar to the
Domesday Book
project that would follow a century later in England.
Similarly, the Mongols would four centuries later take painstaking effort to map out their realms, which led to the ergonomic placement of
, Mongol relay stations, which greatly eased and accelerated communications throughout the enormous Mongol Empire.
The Hereford Map, a 1300 map located in the Hereford Cathedral in England. Note that east is at the top of this map. [4]
The Mercator map of 1569. [5]
The Modern Era and Cartography's Effects
A modern world map. [6]
In the modern era, maps are now made
with the assistance of satellites and computers, and are accessible within a few footsteps or keystrokes. However, a map can never by wholly accurate. No amount of mathematics can make a map perfectly display the world, as they all have to have distortions somewhere. The only completely accurate method of projecting the world is a globe, though the globe's increased size, cost of manufacture, and reduced ease of accessibility from computers ensures that maps remain more commonplace.
Throughout history, cartography has allowed humanity to communicate, trade, and develop with greater ease. In modern times, everyone can access a map, and everyone can easily discover more about the world around them, for free, thanks to the internet. Unsurprisingly, there are ethical issues that can arise out of cartography. Documents such as the Domesday Book collected copious amounts of information about the land owners, and was essentially the NSA database of its time. Your life and those of your descendants could be ruined with the information in the Domesday Book. Furthermore, maps can be used to exploit resources, wage war, and to do harm. Did advances in cartography bring about periods of imperial and colonial struggle such as the Race for Africa and the Great Game?
Works Cited
[1] public domain
[2] public domain
[3] Matthias Kabel, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Groma.jpg
[4] public domain
[5] public domain
[6] public domain
[7] The Web and Ethics in Cartography, Peterson (~2000, 1) http://maps.unomaha.edu/mp/Articles/WebEthics/Ethics.html
[8] Tony Campbell, http://www.maphistory.info
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cartography
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercator_projection
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