First X, Then Y, Now Z : Landmark Thematic Maps and Their Makers
January 11, 2016 7:55 AM   Subscribe

This section reads as would a biblical genealogy of sorts: Alexander von Humboldt (wiki) taught Heinrich Berghaus (short wiki bio)and influenced Alexander Keith Johnston; Berghaus taught August Petermann (wiki); and Petermann collaborated with Berghaus and Johnston. More accurately, it reflects the passing on of the thematic torch lit by Humboldt. There were isolated “ignitions” throughout Europe before him—he, of course, was not the first to construct a thematic map or even to think of how one might do it—but every science needs a founding figure. More than anyone who preceded him, Humboldt provided that role.
Landmark Thematic Atlases, from Princeton University Library's Historic Maps Collection website of Landmark Thematic Maps.
posted by filthy light thief (2 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
That landmark page is a really lovely collection of thematic maps. I'm a fan of this kind of visualization but don't recognize many of these, lots of fun stuff. Fourteen thematic maps of Paris, data on top of the same base map! From 1828!

I'm particularly enthralled by this 1870 visualization of churches. It's strikingly modern in its abstraction. There's a few other similar works by Walker in the 1870 US census.
posted by Nelson at 8:37 AM on January 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am quite fond of Matthew Maury's 1851 chart of Sperm and Right whales. Mentioned in Moby Dick:
So assured, indeed is the fact concerning the periodicalness of the sperm whale’s resorting to given waters, that many hunters believe that, could he be closely observed and studied throughout the world; were the logs for one voyage of the entire whale fleet carefully collated, then the migrations of the sperm whale would be found to correspond in invariability to those of the herring-shoals or the flights of swallows. On this hint, attempts have been made to construct elaborate migratory charts of the sperm whale.*

*Since the above was written, the statement is happily borne out by an official circular, issued by Lieutenant Maury, of the National Observatory, Washington, April 16th, 1851.
posted by one_bean at 12:45 PM on January 11, 2016

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