Reading a Map or GlobeTypes the Terrestrial MapsHistory that Maps and GlobesCreative, Mythological, and also Imaginary Maps


A map is a graphical representation, normally in 2 dimensions, of earth’s surface, an ocean floor, a night sky, or another big area. Part three-dimensional models and diagrams of complex topics, flows, and changes gradually are also called maps (for example, a hereditary map). Conceptions that the bigger world and also a person’s location in it, including sketches of the civilization as a human imagines it, may be referred to as mental or cognitive maps.

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Because human being maps are drawn on a flat surface, lock cannot show Earth’s curved surface ar without far-ranging distortions. Globes help to respond to that problem. A globe is a spherical depiction of a planet’s surface ar or another huge area. The is usually an installed on one axle that enables for rotation. A globe can display a planet without distortion since of that rounded shape, back Earth—as fine as most other planets—is no a perfect sphere yet bulges a little bit at the Equator. However, people use globes less regularly than maps due to the fact that of your bulk and greater cost.



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Maps and also globes room tools because that planning trips, learning around faraway locales, and studying activities of people, goods, and also information. Maps can be misleading, however; their fresh lines, glowing colors, and labels may not constantly represent the truth. In reality, all maps and also globes have some distortions, deletions, and also simplifications linked with the intended use of the map, the makers’ biases, political influences, and economic factors.

A map come in a selection of forms and may be labeled in various terms. For example, a home or little area is mapped together a site arrangement or floor plan, a surveyed residential property in a plat survey. A navigation map (for sailing or flying) is a chart. The sky is mapped in star charts and in star, stellar, or planetary maps and also on zodiac globes, celestial globes, and models of stellar movement referred to as armillary spheres.

Cartography, the research of maps and also the art and also science of do them, is a subdiscipline that geography, however many other disciplines, particularly in the social sciences, also have mapmakers. In addition, amateurs attract maps every day, from driving directions on napkins to imaginary landscapes in sandboxes.

Reading a Map or Globe

Map styles and also symbols vary throughout cultures, but most released maps share details in common. Maps should present a day of compilation or publishing to provide the user a framework of reference. They may encompass place surname (labels), a range (to to compare sizes), a network (to uncover locations), a guide to symbols, and also an arrowhead pointing phibìc or a compass climbed (showing the four cardinal directions).

Intuitive Searches and basic Grids

One strategy for reading a map is come look very first for familiar shapes or outlines (the Florida peninsula, the Horn the Africa, the boot of Italy), oceans and inlets (the lengthy Red Sea or the shorter Persian Gulf), the telltale arcs of hills (the Andes as the spine of south America; the Himalayas phibìc of India, spanning Nepal and Bhutan), or the blue swoops that rivers and fanning deltas. It might be advantageous to uncover a acquainted city, road, or other landmark. After ~ obtaining a basic overview the the map, more complicated symbols and information deserve to be explored.


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Basic map grids place letters throughout the peak (A, B, C, etc.) and also numbers on the next (1, 2, 3, etc.), or vice versa. If an index lists a website as B4, for example, a person deserve to trace down from the B and throughout from the 4 to uncover the sought-after destination. Many tourist maps and also road maps usage this sort of straightforward grid.

Latitude and Longitude

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World maps present the latitude and longitude works with of Earth. Present of longitude, or meridians, are attracted from the north Pole come the southern Pole and also show distances east or west native the element meridian (0 degrees longitude, running through Greenwich, England). Currently of latitude, which intersect meridians at ideal angles, are called parallels because they parallel the Equator (0 levels latitude), from which they measure up north or south.

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There are 360 levels in a circle, and also longitude measures to 180 levels east or west (180 + 180 = 360) until arriving at a allude in the mid-Pacific Ocean, on or close to the International date Line (the imaginary line running between the north Pole and the southern Pole and distinguishing each calendar day from the next). Likewise, latitude runs to the north Pole (90 degrees north) and the south Pole (90 levels south)—adding approximately 360 degrees if we check out a globe in cross section (90 + 90 on one side, 90 + 90 ~ above the other). Each level is split into 60 minutes, each minute 60 seconds. Computers can present these together decimals: for example, 21 degrees and 45 minute is 21.75 degrees, due to the fact that 45 minutes is three-fourths that a degree, or 0.75 as a decimal.


A range is a mathematics relationship, or ratio, in between actual sizes and the sizes shown on a map. If one centimeter ~ above the map equates to 10 actual kilometers, the ratio deserve to be written 1:1,000,000 (there space 1 million centimeters in 10 kilometers) or it might be displayed as a line marked with distances. There is no right map scale. It is a compromise between two conflict aims—the desire to show details while extending as much area as possible. Massive maps cover smaller sized areas, simply as cameras with big zoom lenses administer close-ups, vice versa, small-scale maps show broader areas with much less detail.

Map and also Globe Orientation

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People often assume that the peak of a map should allude north; however, map orientation is a choice, no a natural law, and also it is subject to political, economic, religious, and also aesthetic desires. Muslim mapmakers such together 12th-century geographer ash-Sharif al-Idrisi often placed southern at the optimal of their works. Many medieval europe maps to be oriented towards the east, out of the id that the holy Land and the biblical Garden that Eden to be the many important areas in the world. The word orient (as in “map orientation”) derives indigenous the Latin oriens (“east”), so to orient oneself when meant to challenge east or to place eastern at the top.

Nothing is naturally wrong v a map topped by the south Pole or Chile, yet it seems odd to numerous people. Meanwhile, north-oriented maps reinforce notions of European and also North American power, of being on optimal of the world. Video clip games and GPS (global positioning systems) in phones or in cars enable the user to readjust map orientations and to see landscapes at oblique angles. “You are Here” maps (in shopping malls, at traveler sites, in ~ festivals, etc.) space most useful when oriented by line-of-sight, quite than through compass points.

Map Symbols

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Some map icons are easily understood, but others require a legend (key or table of contents of symbols) due to the fact that they differ by culture, mapping custom, and individual choice. Indigenous Americans, for example, once supplied cross-shapes to indicate stars, when Spanish conquistadors supplied them to represent churches and also towns. Blue present were supplied in mid-20th-century American road maps for earlier roads, made famous in take trip writer William least Heat-Moon’s publication Blue Highways: A Journey into America (1982).

On traditional maps, black color lines usually indicate roads, tick-marked lines space railroads, one or stars space cities, and shading or dark lines are contours (lines that suggest elevations). Green and also brown might shade real-world features (green forests, brown deserts), yet colors sometimes show elevations. This color may cause confusion where, because that example, green shading (indicating low elevation) consist of a hot, dry, brown desert.

Advantages the Globes and also Atlases

Although globes are unwieldy and more expensive than maps, they display how planet is tilted (about 23.5 degrees) and also how this relates to day lengths and also the seasons. Because that example, once in a dark room, a person can shine a flashlight (representing the Sun) top top one side of a world to show how sunlight reaches fifty percent the tilted earth while leaving the remainder in shadow, follow to the season. Globes additionally show shapes, sizes, and lines there is no distortions.

Globes can aid people arrangement long-distance travel routes. If a person pulls a string between two cities on its curved surface, the string will certainly follow the shortest path, dubbed a an excellent circle route. On together a route, airplanes from the United states to Europe paris north-northeast rather than directly east, though on a map it is easy to plot—mistakenly—the east route.

Globes often screen an analemma, a figure-eight-shaped diagram showing the subsolar allude (the latitude where the sun reaches that highest, 90-degree edge in the sky and is straight overhead) top top each date of the year. Other globes suggest the subsolar point by marking days on a line the undulates from tropic to tropic and also crosses the Equator. Images

Computer maps and computerized atlases sell multimedia games, rapid searches, and also simulated 3-D globes and maps, however print atlases stay popular. Both print and also electronic atlases are created by teams of experienced writers, editors, cartographers, and artists. With a medley of recommendation data, indexes, maps, photos, and also diagrams, they market enough selection for repeat reading and browsing.

Types of Terrestrial Maps

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The most famous maps are road maps, political maps (showing countries, states, or counties), physical maps (of mountains, rivers, etc.), and also thematic maps (focusing on one or two themes, such as income, livestock, or wellness insurance). General reference maps incorporate a mixture of information, as do many road, political, and also physical maps.

Transportation Maps

Road maps, dubbed street maps or street to plan in a town, mix political and physical data. GPS and also Web-based aids such as Google Maps and MapQuest encompass them as base maps. As soon as these are outdated, however, mistakes have the right to occur, such as environment-friendly fields showing up where malls have been built and also streets continuing where they display up together dead ends. As a general practitioners is moved, the plots satellite collaborates on the basic map, and the display shows a shifting, transforming icon to offer the illusion that the map is being produced on the run.

Some maps room designed for cyclists, tourists, or hikers. Aviation charts mark air courses and significant obstacles or features on the ground. Shipping charts perform the same for marine traffic. Since at the very least the early 1900s, commuters have actually used transit maps on metropolitan buses, trains, and also subways. Simplified transit maps, dubbed diagrammatic maps, were introduced in 1933 in London, England. Seldom much more than list of stations follow me a line, these omit or abbreviate street names, directions, and landmarks helpful for orientation. Return diagrammatic maps have the right to be useful, their absence of information may it is in confusing to numerous passengers each year.

Political Maps

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Countries, provinces, and also counties room the focus of political maps. Your bright colors and crisp borderlines encourage geographical literacy yet are deceptively simple: they tell just partial truths around nations and borders that are shifting or arbitrary. These maps carry out not show, for example, that many borders are not also lined by wall surfaces or fences. Moreover, castle eventually readjust as nations disintegrate (such as the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia), room renamed (Zaire/Congo and Myanmar/Burma), or reunify (Germany).

Physical Maps

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Rivers, lakes, mountains, hills, deserts, vegetation, and also other natural attributes are on physics maps. Beyond Earth’s surface, this maps may detail seafloors, ocean and also air currents, and subterranean resources. Topographic maps represent relief v dark shading or hachure and also rill point out (short currently indicating slope). Some present elevations v contours (lines of progressively higher height, such as 50, 60, and also 70 feet). Contours attracted close together indicate steeper slopes (grades, or gradients).

Older maps depict highlands with idealized sketches of molehills or snowcapped peaks rather than with comprehensive sketches the mountains and plateaus. Some maps and also globes are made with raised bumps along mountain ranges. An entertaining and also useful memory tool, this kind of upright exaggeration nevertheless offers a misleading sense of elevation, since Earth’s diameter is virtually 8,000 miles (12,875 kilometers) while hills rise much less than 5.5 miles (9 kilometers).

Thematic Maps

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If a map concentrates on the symbolic screen of statistics, or themes, that is referred to as a subject map. This maps may emphasis on language, religion, income, populace density, or any type of other sort of measurable data. Part depict processes such as toxicity spills, seismicity, or the geologic background of continental drift. The most common types use shading, line patterns, or dots to indicate various measures. Flow maps often use arrows to indicate change or movement. Choropleth maps usage shades of color to represent various measures or values. Because that example, U.S. Claims with greater rates the imprisonment might be shaded brown while those with lower incarceration rates could be shaded blue or white.

Thematic maps can be misleading since they get rid of marginal statistics and minority views. An election (suffrage) map, for instance, could shade a state red if 50.1 percent the its voters opt because that a Republican candidate; however, overgeneralizing by calling this a “red state” (as news media regularly do) unfair ignores the other 49.9 percent of the electorate there.


Courtesy, mark Newman, room of Physics and Center for the research of complex Systems, college of Michigan

Another statistical mapping machine is the cartogram, i m sorry is sometimes referred to as a committed thematic map. Cartograms involve an ext artwork than common maps, together they freely distort shapes, directions, and also areas beyond normal ranges to illustrate or define statistics. A cartogram “weights” the sizes of states, provinces, or nations to reflect values: a big number swells one area if a tiny number shrinks it. Because that example, a to compare of tools exports by nation would present a bloated United says (the world’s top arms exporter) as would certainly cartograms of prison populations, net users, or miles driven. A population cartogram would bloat the outlines the India and also China.

Extraterrestrial Maps: stellar Cartography

Earth maps are terrestrial maps (the Latin indigenous terra way Earth, together in terrain or territory), so extraterrestrial maps look beyond Earth. Maps that objects in the sky are dubbed star charts, star maps, or stellar maps. Stars and also constellations were portrayed on maps and celestial globes centuries before most soil surfaces were mapped, and travelers provided this classic knowledge to overview them across distant lands and seas. Sun and star positions were included into the style of sextants, astrolabes, and other navigational aids.

Powerful telescopes, radar, and also spacecraft have expanded cartography’s with from earth to the Moon (lunar charts/maps), the sun (solar charts of the virtually fluid photosphere and shifting sunspots), the solar system, and beyond. When earth was very first photographed from room in 1959, world envisioned worldwide connections like never before. Because then, photos and also scans by satellites and an are explorers have actually increased planet map accuracy.

NASA/Lunar Planetary Institute

The Moon has been featured in the myths of virtually every person culture, but it has actually been mapped closely only because the 1500s as soon as Italian astronomer Galileo turned among the world’s very first telescopes top top it. He offered geometry to recognize the heights the lunar mountains by measure shadows, however he can not check out the Moon well sufficient to avoid calling that darker, smoother locations seas. Lunar maps boosted with better telescopes, and astronauts in the late 1960s and also ’70s to be the first to see and chart the pockmarked far side that the Moon (the side the is no visible indigenous Earth).

Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter scientific research Team

Experts combine a series of photos from spacecraft, Earth-based radar, and also the Hubble space Telescope to develop maps of planets, moons, and also other bodies. Satellites and robotic explorers have actually mapped Mars and also the veiled surface of Venus, and also from 2011 come 2015 the Messenger spacecraft charted Mercury. These maps incur distinct problems, such as the absence of sea level (standard on planet maps) and also the require to pick a element meridian (since it is no a organic line). Astronomers currently have evidence of huge planets orbiting hundreds of remote stars, and artists develop enticing (though fictitious) renderings that them because they have actually not yet been glimpsed (nor mapped) by person eyes. The surface mapping of these distant planets will not be possible without greatly amplified telescopes or room probes.

Map Projections: necessary Distortions

All maps make selective omissions and distortions, beginning when picture is transferred from a globe. If earth were flat, it can easily be displayed; however, that is spherical shape cannot be flattened without distorting distances (areas), shapes, or directions. Professionals now usage mathematical formulae to aid make maps; together renderings are called map projections due to the fact that they were initially made by shining a lamp within a transparent world to map projected photos on a screen. The image shifted follow to the placement of the lamp and screen. Every projection has pros and cons and may be questioned for political, academic, and aesthetic motives. Return an infinite variety of projections have the right to be created, the more popular space cylindrical, conic, planar, equal-area, and “compromise” projections.

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Cylindrical projections are among the most generally used, partly due to the fact that navigators like their directly north-south present (meridians the longitude). To do this projection, a cylinder is inserted over the globe. Its sides touch only along the Equator, the just latitude whereby sizes are shown accurately. After the resource of light is applied and also the lines native the globe are moved to the cylinder, the cylinder is cut and rolled out flat.

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The most famous cylindrical projection, the Mercator—devised by Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator in the 16th century—remains highly controversial. In the 1800s that is popularity to be unequaled. Some individuals liked just how it make British (and other European) lands show up larger 보다 they were. It continued to be popular during the Cold War, once its exaggeration the the size of the Soviet Union highlighted fears of Communist aggression. Amongst other distortions, it provides Greenland seem bigger than south America, although that is just one-eighth that size.

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Conic projections are made through projecting irradiate to document rolled right into a cone shape. The political parties of the cone touch the globe at one or two parallels that latitude, while the cone’s pointer usually hovers end the phibìc or southern Pole. The parallels of latitude v which the cone passes room the only undistorted areas on the map, i beg your pardon is why cartographers regularly use them for comprehensive east-west locations such as those that Canada or Russia.

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Planar (plane, or azimuthal) projections room transferred ~ above a flat plane (such as a piece of paper) poignant the globe at one spot. Common species of planar projections are the polar, gnomonic, and also orthographic. A polar forecast touches the phibìc or south Pole and is frequently used come map Antarctica or the Arctic. A gnomonic projection is created from the center of the globe, so, just like the planar projection, a directly line indigenous its focal suggest follows true north or south. Any type of such directly line top top a gnomonic projection is a great circle route. The orthographic projection originates from the globe’s the opposite side and resembles picture taken indigenous space. All planar projections progressively distort sizes and shapes close to the map edges due to the fact that of the globe’s curved surface.

Equal-area projections present correct sizes while distorting shapes and directions. These maps are helpful for comparing geographical statistics. In 1772 Swiss German mathematician Johann Heinrich Lambert proposed an equal-area projection as an alternative to the Mercator, and also in the 1800s Scottish clergyman and also mapmaker James bitterly devised a similar view by extending landmasses north-south. Together nontraditional views of the world remained unpopular until the 1970s, when German historian Arno Peters lobbied to change the Mercator with “a brand-new geography—based on the equal standing of peoples.” in spite of aesthetic and professional criticisms—for example, American geographer Arthur H. Robinson derided Peters’s elongated landmasses together “reminiscent the wet, ragged, lengthy winter underwear hung out to dry on the Arctic Circle”—the civilization Council that Churches, UNESCO, UNICEF, and several nongovernmental institutions endorsed the Peters projection.

Robinson arisen his very own compromise, or composite, projection by attempting come balance different distortions. His effort resulted in an attractive, general-purpose map with much less exaggeration in ~ high latitudes. This map to be featured in countless National Geographic issues and was widely used in classrooms and textbooks.

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Other composite projections include sinusoidal maps and the Goode’s Interrupted Homolosine. These part up the people (usually v the oceans) choose a peeled orange. Castle limit shape distortions while additionally serving as equal-area maps helpful for statistics comparisons. Many world find them more attractive than the Peters projection; however, together “peeled” Earths can be confusing due to the fact that they cut up seas (complicating the mapping of currents and wind patterns) and they curve the meridians of longitude in various ways, bending them from the west in part sections and eastward in others.

Other species of Map Distortions

Maps are not mirrors or clear “windows on the world” yet rather imperfect models, the way a model airplane is an imperfect streamlined version of one airplane, no a magically miniaturized airplane. Flat maps can not adequately re-create a three-dimensional world. In addition, maps might simplify, generalize, reconfigure, and delete details content. Mapmakers and also users (of atlases and computer maps v toggling features) pick what they desire to see, mirroring some details but omitting others.

Courtesy that the royal Geographical Society, London; photograph, man Webb

Map omissions have frequently abetted conquest. When the young joined States increased westward, the ignored native American land claims, and also the empty spaces top top its maps fed the legend of an unoccupied wilderness. Native peoples short map proof for their later land insurance claims just together they short “legal” documents. Mapping methods have frequently reflected the interests of powerful classes and also corporations, yet sometimes they aid the underdog, as when geographers document indigenous insurance claims to help people defend themselves in court.

Cartographers must shot to go past being just accurate due to the fact that of the historic abuses and also struggles attached with mapmaking. Several national atlases, for instance, problem overlapping slices the Antarctica; moreover, several likewise claim the Spratly Islands; and Venezuela’s atlas insurance claims two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. Cartographers wishing to be impartial will struggle with these matters, just as they will certainly choose between various varieties and assignment of ar names. What the Japanese contact the Sea of Japan the Koreans call the eastern Sea. To use just one name is to danger offending millions. Indian maps brand Kashmir together a region belonging to India, vice versa, Pakistani maps have it belonging come Pakistan. India has actually strict censorship laws, and also its federal government has blocked importation that maps and also books that do not support its map claims.

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Maps include numerous kinds the borders. Geometric borders are lines follow me a degree of latitude or longitude that overlook physical or cultural barriers, such together the 49th parallel ~ above the U.S.-Canada border. When slicing up maps the Africa, Europeans attracted arbitrary geometric limits through the lands of numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, without regard because that those native Africans’ wishes.

Ethnographic borders are attempts come divide areas with different social traits (such together language, ethnic heritage, or religion). These may be make the efforts to develop nation-states just as European boundaries were drawn after human being War I. When boundaries are shifted, people may flee through the millions come avoid coming to be ethnic minorities, but, despite attempts to attract ethnographic borders, over there are just a grasp of true nation-states in the world—that is, nations (such as Japan or Serbia) whose citizens pertain virtually exclusively come one nationwide group. Instead, the civilization has an abundance of multinational and also multiethnic states, consisting of Russia, Canada, the unified States, Mexico, France, and China.

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Map boundaries might disclose nationalistic biases, yet even natural lines space blurred. ~ above maps that vegetation and also climate regions, because that example, clear splitting lines space designated. In reality, however, these are typical numbers—not absolutes yet compromises at the scale. The Sahara is shifting and growing, however a border drawn around the desert can ignore its spreading dunes and also delineate instead a region dozens or hundreds of miles wide, wherein rainfall averages 10 customs (35 millimeters) per year.

Other map decision are based on expediency, tradition, and also hidden (often unintentional) biases. Most people maps display place names for oceans and also seas, but there are few ways to decision on boundaries in between them. Even the 7 continents that plenty of American children learn around in college (some countries teach the five- or six-continent model) are questioned by some geographers as the “myth the continents.” they argue that the arbitrary departments of landmasses are based an ext on social traditions than on physics evidence.

History that Maps and Globes

Maps have been developed for thousands of years with different intentions, materials, and also results. Over there is no single background of mapmaking, yet even the faster maps were attached with religious and society (political) power. Increasingly, maps have been offered to case lands, note borders, setup military actions, and also assist in mining, farming, and exploration.


Ancient societies knew small of earth’s surface and also mapped much less of it, but they habitually offered celestial navigation, fixed (in the north Hemisphere) ~ above Polaris—the phibìc Star. Few knew the zodiac indicators of the old Greeks, no one did they need to, since they already knew their own constellations. These at an early stage peoples traced the sky with maps, sundials, temples, herbal markers, and also interactive models such together England’s stone structures in ~ Stonehenge and also Avebury. Some celestial maps and diagrams illustrated religious myths, hero journeys, and guides for or paths of the dead.

It is unclear as soon as people very first made maps in the dirt or as trends of sticks, stones, and shells. Absent (petroglyph) maps date from around 40,000 years ago, when Venus statuettes and also cave paintings came to be widespread. Maps sculpted in rock were most likely socially and also emotionally significant, provided the effort needed to develop them. Ski-borne hunters in Karelia, Russia, do a rock map of an elk path between 3000 and also 1000 bc. About 2,000 years back in the French-Italian Alps, stone maps verified villages and farmlands. Clearly, rock was no the only material used. Among the oldest surviving clay maps (the Gasur, or Nuzi, map found near Kirkuk, Iraq, in the 1930s) days from around 2300 bc.

Early Mesopotamian and Mediterranean Maps

By the moment of the very first towns and cities, old maps focused on farms, canals, and other properties. A clay tablet computer from Nippur (an old city that Mesopotamia, now in southeastern Iraq) from about 1500 bc mirrors irrigated estates; it may be one of the first city plans drawn to scale. A papyrus map native the same duration shows Egyptian yellow mines, roads, and also buildings near the Red Sea. Around 1300 bc the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II led land surveys because the Nile flow flooded annually and also eroded landmarks in the densely inhabited floodplain.

In the 7th century bc, the ancient Babylonians created maps of the urban of Babylon and also Madakta. A map that the world (in a very conceptualized form) was depicted on a Babylonian clay tablet computer in the 5th century bc. The Babylonians divided the arc the the sky into 360 degrees, a an easy tenet the geometry the is still in usage for arcs and also globes.

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The ancient Greeks imagined a circular river or sea bordering the world. Homer’s 8th-century bc epic city on the Trojan War, the Iliad, defines an idealized civilization map top top the shield of Achilles, special a city at war, a city at peace, and also farms. In the 500s bc, thinker Anaximander the Miletus produced a globe and a civilization map, and around 501 bc, chronicler Hecateus the Miletus compiled a people geography. These events were followed in the mid-400s bc by the worldwide narrative history produced by Herodotus.

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Geography permeated Greek thought: mathematician and also philosopher Pythagoras referred to the human being as a sphere, and maps even appeared on Greek coins about 330 bc. About 200 bc the librarian the Alexandria, Eratosthenes that Cyrene, approximated the world’s circumference by measuring shadows along the exact same meridian. About ad 127–150, Egyptian geographer and astronomer Ptolemy made his own—albeit inaccurate—estimate and also compiled a gazetteer dubbed the Geographia. (A considerably respected conventional of cartography, it to be revised several times end the adhering to centuries.) The Romans developed updated maps the the world as they knew it as well as detailed city maps, and several mosaic and fresco maps of the oriental Empire quiet survive.

Chinese and South oriental Maps

Maps were component of a lengthy seagoing heritage in south Asia and along the shores of the Indian Ocean, but few of those maps endure today. Spiritual and geographic imagery were merged on some maps, consisting of on a 15th-century people map connected with the tranquil Jain religion in India.

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China’s early on maps concentrated on myth and astronomy as much as elsewhere. One Chinese tomb consisted of a bronze-engraved map the a mausoleum from about 400 bc. By the third century ad, scholar Pei Xion do maps using scales, precise distances, elevations, and also gradients. The Chinese provided wood, paper, silk, and bamboo for federal government maps, but couple of have made it through apart from those sculpted in stone. A notable exemption is the Da Ming hunyi tu, or the Amalgamated Map of the an excellent Ming Empire. Painted top top silk around 1389, that is the oldest known map to show the overview of the entire continent of Africa. In the 600s ad, Chinese bookmaking technologies made atlases an ext available; an atlas by Chu Ssu-pen indigenous the late 13th or early on 14th century showed most of China and located the Indian Ocean and also the Congo and also Nile rivers.

In the early 1400s the Pacific and also Indian ocean voyages that admiral and diplomat Zheng the greatly expanded Chinese knowledge. Yet even together European exploration started to spread out throughout the world, the Chinese curtailed and also then outlawed far-flung expeditions, to focus only on regional and local maps. For example, in 1579 cartographer Luo Hongxian’s Guang yutu atlas depicted write-up offices, forts, roads, cities, and also waterways. The Chinese had long supplied grids, however they upgraded come latitude and longitude ~ a visit from the europe Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci (1552–1610).

Maps in the ancient Americas

Civilizations in the ancient Americas reflect different social concerns and also perceptions than Europeans. At an early stage maps were carved as petroglyphs and additionally appeared top top ceramic amulets, pots, and textiles. Many combined stylized art and also maps to show physical landscapes as well as mythical an are and time.

Among the idealized maps the the cosmos in southern America were the Bennett stela in Tiwanaku (present-day Bolivia), the Tello obelisk of the old Chavín de Huántar website (Peru), and also gourds and amulets indigenous Paracas (Peru). Together works illustrated calendars, myths, one underworld replete through spiritual labyrinths, and the Milky method as a river or a an excellent caiman. Ceramic models the houses showed up in ancient Moche (Peru) and Paracas, and others showed deities emerging native caves. The Nazca present in southern Peru may have mapped water sources, trip routes, boundaries, or mystical pathways. The Incas sculpted plans of cities into vast stones. Dancers, priests, rulers, and also even captives acted out virtual maps at religious festivals.

No southern American maps were made that paper, however in Mesoamerica (Mexico and main America) document and paperlike materials were offered for booklike codices. Aztec and Maya codices and also maps consisted of hieroglyphics representing major sites and rulers, stylized rivers and also caves, and also footprints reflecting where kings, heroes, or gods traveled.

North American Indians likewise made and also used maps, though couple of have survived. In 1683 aboriginal mapmakers listed a Susquehanna flow map to an English trader, and also in 1804–06 maps to be sketched to help explorers Meriwether Lewis and also William Clark—along through Sacagawea—find their way westward.

Maps, Dark Ages, and also “Discovery”

Before the contemporary age, european maps were no far better (and often worse) than maps elsewhere. Medieval Europeans printed idealized “T-O” or “T-in-O” world maps. Based on religion fairly than exploration, these maps to be topped by the eastern (Oriens) and Asia, where medieval Europeans thought Earthly sky (the Garden that Eden) could be found. Europe and Africa were labeled ~ above either side of a (vertical) Mediterranean Sea, topped by another body of water linking the black color Sea and also the Red Sea and also forming a “T” in the map’s center. An outer watery one (a flow or ocean called the Mare Oceanus) gave the map an “O” outline. The Hereford Mappa Mundi (circa advertisement 1300) is a T-O map displaying biblical stories, battles, and monsters.

Although european mapmaking slowed in the Dark Ages, Arabic libraries guarded the understanding of Greece and of new maps, consisting of shipping charts. Al-Idrisi do a people map and also 70 local maps mirroring the Mediterranean and the Indian s coast, and Moroccan traveler Ibn Battutah charted 75,000 mile of Asia, Africa, and the Indian s in the 1300s.

Geography and Map Division/The Library that Congress, Washington, D.C. (Digital file Number: g3200 ct000725)

In the so late 1400s, people navigator Christopher Columbus obtained Ptolemy’s (inaccurate) calculation for the dimension of Earth, which to be one-third as well small. Had actually he instead used the more-accurate estimate by Eratosthenes of Cyrene, he could not have dared to make his voyage over such a great distance come uncharted lands. Quite than specify name these new lands Columbia, after Columbus, the German cartographer martin Waldseemüller placed the name America on a 1507 map in honor of Italian explorer-navigator Amerigo Vespucci’s trips to the brand-new World. Beforehand maps the the Americas had bizarre miscalculations, however these maps nevertheless aided spread the regeneration of arts and sciences.

Library of conference Geography and Map Division, Washington, D.C. (2005634035)

As the Middle ages gave means to the Renaissance, more utilitarian maps appeared, such together portolan charts, which were navigational aids made for sailors indigenous the 14th come the 16th centuries. This traced many coasts accurately and also showed rhumb lines, or loxodromes (lines the radiate native the facility in the direction of wind or compass points), which sailors lined up through their compass readings to command a directly course. (The nautical compass had actually long been among the most beneficial technologies for navigators.)

As exploration ongoing in the 1600s, so did mapmaking. Netherlands cartographer Hendrik Hondius’s Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula (1630) was a revision of among Gerardus Mercator’s maps of the world. Hondius had lands the were newly recognized to Europeans, such as the northern coastline of Australia. In what is now the U.S. Southwest and also northern Mexico, Jesuit missionary Eusebio Kino made few of the an initial European maps the the brand-new World, extending thousands of miles of territory. The Spanish and Portuguese empires guarded your maps as military secrets, however, so the French, British, and also other powers ongoing to make an easy cartographic errors: through the 1800s, for example, numerous British maps still showed California as an island.

Australian and also Early Pacific Maps

Dixson Library, State Library of new South Wales, Sydney (a1549088)

Australia was settled about 50,000 year ago, however Polynesia not until the last couple of thousand years. Mixing actual landscapes and creation myths, aboriginal maps helped information the relationship between people and also Earth and also thus preserve links across a continent. Rudimentary sand and stone maps provided circles to depict camps, water holes, and also other sites. Polynesians and Micronesians crossed hundreds of miles of s in dugout canoes guided by charts do from palm leaves, seashells, or other resilient materials, which were far more suited come water and rain 보다 modern-day document maps and also computers. Couple of Europeans understood this traditional form of mapping, but at the inquiry of British traveler Captain James cook in the late 1700s, a indigenous sailor of Tahiti drew a map representing 3,000 miles of ocean.

Maps in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Longitude to be not brand-new to maps in the 1700s, however it can not be calculated accurately at sea. Seafarers tried to estimate longitude through dead reckoning (by rolling a knot rope ~ the delivery to calculation speed and also distance), but errors in this rough technique often resulted in shipwrecks. In 1759 English inventor man Harrison’s sea clock, or chronometer, resolved the problem. Because Earth transforms 15 levels (of longitude) every hour, longitude have the right to be calculate by subtracting the time at a person’s new location from the time at a person’s residence port. (In contrast, latitude requires just sky observations.) although English physicist and also mathematician Isaac Newton and also other scientific leaders originally scoffed at Harrison’s brand-new technology, the chronometer revolutionized naval navigation by allowing accurate timekeeping over long voyages.

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Nutrition additionally quickened the speed of worldwide exploration and with it an ext accurate mapmaking. When forcing his crew to increase their diet (vitamin intake), Captain cook boldly traveled throughout previously uncharted parts of the Pacific Ocean. Shortly afterward, in 1795, the brothers Admiralty fought scurvy by offering citrus to its sailors.

South America entered a brand-new mapping era when German traveler Alexander von Humboldt scientifically surveyed the climate zones and vegetation that the Andes Mountains. Land-based surveying advanced through the ameri as inhabitants spread onto (or fought for) native lands. Following the Hudson flow steamship experiments of American inventor and engineer Robert Fulton in 1807, the need developed for much more accurate maps through the spread of steamships, telegraph lines, and also railroads. In British-controlled India, surveyors functioned for 50 year to triangulate native India’s coastlines inland—all the means to mountain Everest; their last calculation of its elevation was remarkable accurate, as presented by 21st-century gps measurements in ~ the peak.

Encyclopædia, Inc.

The adventurers, merchants, and missionaries of the late 1800s seek to overcome the unknown regions shown on royal maps. Navigating remained difficult because countries tended to basic the element meridian on their own resources cities. In 1871, however, an worldwide assembly voted to usage the Greenwich prime meridian, since Britain was then the world’s top naval power. By 1884 this prime meridian ended up being a worldwide standard, and also that exact same year Canadian technician Sandford Fleming propose a device of time zones through the 360-degree world divided into 24 zones of 15 degrees (longitude) each.

Mapmaking requires knowledge about the world and techniques because that gathering, analyzing, and also displaying information. Accessibility to these procedures has accelerated with more rapid ships, trains, and automobiles. In the early 20th century, zeppelins and airplanes increased the accuracy the maps through the formerly unexpected details of aerial photography.

Rise of computer Mapping

In the 1960s, as computer was in its infancy, mapmakers began to develop databases and mapping software. Initially, programming was slow and cumbersome, requiring large stacks of punch cards, and that era’s room-sized computer systems were even much more unwieldy. Supercomputers and also mainframe systems came to be faster and a little smaller in the 1970s.

In the 1980s, an individual computers accelerated map work, but few computers created large, high-resolution photos cheaply or easily, therefore maps ongoing to it is in handmade and also then reprinted or photocopied for many publications, consisting of atlases and also encyclopedias. Even the maps featured in video clip games left lot to it is in desired. Most were heavily pixilated, and some were basic outlines (aids because that in-game navigation) only, although some turn-based military strategy gamings were built around increasingly interaction maps. In the 1990s, advances in graphics, memory, and computing speeds carried fictitious maps come the forefront, specifically in fantasy and also strategy games.

The 1990s witnessed rapid breakthroughs in computer programming and the distribution of maps top top CDs and, increasingly, the Internet. Data from previously independent sources (such as air-quality surveys, website traffic data, and also residential maps) to be compiled into geographical information systems (GIS), which permitted geographers come discover brand-new connections while producing dynamic, innovative maps. Web-based mapping emerged rapidly native its 1990s origins, when also publishers and also government agencies had struggled to develop attractive, advantageous maps that could be download or regarded without significant delays. Multimedia, including video clip and animations, ended up being common functions on web-based maps, together applications because that the compiling, analysis, and publishing the maps spread. Although people would constantly find factors to sketch rapid maps because that driving or hiking directions, the preeminence of handmade maps was ending.

21st-Century Mapmaking

In the 2000s, Web-based maps matched—and often surpassed—the CDs and also DVDs native a few years previous. Interaction maps became an important parts that educational, commercial, and also nonprofit websites, censuses, and also other main reports. Maps for entertainment in video games often led the way in regards to interactivity and also complexity. Meanwhile, high-resolution satellite photos became accessible and affordable.

Internet mashups (maps of mixed data formats, projections, and also styles) listed by Google Maps and MapQuest supplied these technical advances to offer alternatives for mirroring either a road map, a satellite view, or a linked view. Mashup satellite views deserve to be helpful, yet sometimes their high level of information is confusing. In stimulate to industry these together interactive road, tourist, and also consumer maps, mashups need to work to upgrade their basic maps generally with cars specifically outfitted to carry digital cameras and GPS units.

The Internet has actually grown radically due to the fact that the 1990s, and also it transforms daily. Researcher at the Opte Project have actually attempted to map every network on the net on any given day. However even these images are of small use there is no an accurate an interpretation of what specifically is being mapped. Other questions needing to be answered around the project encompass whether streaming videos that cartoons and movies (which require high bandwidth) should be measured alongside operation of essential scientific data (which might need just low bandwidth). Everything the technology or medium, all maps distort and also conceal.

Creative, Mythological, and Imaginary Maps

Maps space pragmatic devices that deserve to have spiritual, emotional, and also sometimes miracle meaning. Scholar warn that people imbue maps through undue superordinary power when they naively trust in them, forgetting biases and also limitations. Also when civilization hold a healthy distrust for maps, they look come them as they seek new pathways come knowledge, imagination, and also cosmic truths and definition in the universe. After all, world are preoccupied with discovering where lock are, imagining wherein they would choose to be, and also feeling a feeling of control over whereby they could imagine being.

Cognitive or psychological Maps

Cognitive maps, additionally called mental maps, are occasionally narrowly characterized as the ways people remember, imagine, and sort your surroundings so they deserve to move around. These inner maps are selective and also partial: landmarks or directions significant to one person may it is in meaningless to another. In a narrow sense, psychological maps are critical for people and for animals with navigational an abilities far remarkable to humans. However, the psychological maps of humans work differently from those of various other animals. Human being think abstractly in a culturally complex, very symbolic world, for this reason their psychological maps have to be an ext than aids to movement and also boundary-marking.

People relocate rapidly, physically and also mentally traveling through their surroundings through cars, planes, and also virtual (electronic) operation of ideas, images, and also possibilities. An international citizens need psychological maps capable of managing this flux. However not everyone have the right to or will certainly be comfortable in such an environment. For some, modernity feels as well chaotic, together if the world were directionless. Their mental maps are unsuccessful amid a overwhelming of new connections and also abstractions, for this reason they shrink indigenous the world, joining a cult or isolated ar or becoming a shut-in. Some react violent by joining militaristic teams seeking to eliminate ethnic, religious, or racial minorities native their countries or neighborhoods.

The social sciences reinforce and broaden people’s cognitive maps, help them uncover a location in a multinational, multiethnic, and also partly virtual world. This mental work involves complicated questions addressing issues such as just how the people can it is in shared and also why modern times might feel threatening. People might also ask whereby a ethical compass is an alleged to lead them.

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When students room asked come sketch facets of their psychological maps, unaided, castle may display their very own state or nation in detail, complied with by inaccurate outlines farther away from home. Building on this propensity toward distortion, satirists make quasi-cognitive map cartoons of stereotypes and attitudes, such together Ernest Dudley chase “The United claims as viewed by California (Very Unofficial)”; his map has other claims obscured through clouds, ice, and also cobwebs. Part pseudo-mental maps satirize society institutions; because that example, one variation of the Map that Matrimony consists of such waypoints as the Isle the Hope, Gulf that Flirtation, Paymoney Point, and also Land of Tattlers.