The History of Maps
December 3, 2004 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Another good map history link
posted by Doohickie at 12:42 PM on December 3, 2004

And another.
posted by mcwetboy at 12:54 PM on December 3, 2004

Also, mcwetboy has a great map weblog that all map-lovers should check out.
posted by vacapinta at 12:59 PM on December 3, 2004

Maps are cool. Good link.
posted by nixerman at 1:33 PM on December 3, 2004

I'm a pretty big fan of maps (which I blame on my dual loves of visual art and history), and this is definitely some interesting stuff.

I always liked those older maps made during the exploration of the Americas, when things were just all over the place. Cool links.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 3:40 PM on December 3, 2004

Anyone familiar with the Piri Reis map?

The most puzzling however is not so much how Piri Reis managed to draw such an accurate map of the Antarctic region 300 years before it was discovered, but that the map shows the coastline under the ice. Geological evidence confirms that the latest date Queen Maud Land could have been charted in an ice-free state is 4000 BC.

And in 4000 B.C. no one (supposedly) had the skills and knowledge to make such an accurate map. You know, spheroid trigonometry and such.

Piri Reis admitted (written on the map itself) that he had compiled the map from other sources, possibly very old sources...
posted by Specklet at 4:06 PM on December 3, 2004

My dad worked with maps all while I was growing up. I have a love of them because of it. Currently I'm graphic designer and I have maps to thank for inspiring me into this career. Recently McWetboy listed a bunch of maps from the USSR I'd recommend you check them out. they're pretty amazing. I have a few from photos I took at the Toronto Reference library (aka Fort Book).
posted by joelf at 4:18 PM on December 3, 2004

Specklet: The "Modern Medieval Map Myths" link mentions Piri Reis, disputing Hapgood's claims.

The medieval cartographer, when faced with blank space, chose to fill it up with legendary islands or randomly-shaped landmasses. That the Piri Reis and Oronteus Finaeus maps have a large landmass across the southern hemisphere is completely in line with the thinking of the time: such a landmass was required to "balance" the landmasses in the north. Whether or not anyone had seen the landmass made no difference at all: cartographers inserted a squiggly shape just the same.
posted by cmonkey at 4:35 PM on December 3, 2004


Hapgood rotated the Fine depiction significantly, drastically altered its scale (Fine’s Terra Australis is 900 percent larger than Antarctica!), changed the position of Fine’s South Pole by 1,000 miles, omitted the 900-mile-long Antarctic (or Palmer) Peninsula, and resequenced whole sections of the Fine depiction. After these “corrections” were made, Hapgood was able to claim that the Fine map “matched” the actual configuration of Antarctica.

Shoot, I really liked the idea that it matched. Hapgood may have been a bit looney, but there are other (undisputed) things about the map that make it pretty dern interesting...
posted by Specklet at 5:43 PM on December 3, 2004


In Physics Lab, we used to call that "fudging the data".
posted by Doohickie at 5:57 PM on December 3, 2004

The Piri Reis map is clearly proof of the existence of Atlantis. I mean, how much more evidence do you need?
posted by sour cream at 12:41 AM on December 4, 2004

" much more evidence do you need?"

"My Parents went to Atlantis and all I got was his crappy T-shirt", t-shirt
In depth article on what Altantean girls are like in bed and where to score some of that Hyperborean grass in one of those mens magazines

If it doesn't have a thriving tourist industry it doesn't exist to me!
posted by thatwhichfalls at 12:49 AM on December 4, 2004

Piri Reis thread. I'm not sure whether to be sad or amused at how eager people are to cling to "mysterious" documents that can, if you hold them sideways, squint, and use your imagination, be taken to suggest that our distant ancestors knew the secrets of geography/cosmology/aliens and somehow forgot to mention it in ways perceptible to actual historians. But of course historians are all part of the conspiracy!
posted by languagehat at 6:28 AM on December 4, 2004

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