The Mapmakers

Front Cover
A.A. Knopf, 2000 - History - 507 pages
They are among the world's great pioneers and adventurers: the mapmakers who for centuries have been expanding our knowledge of who and where we are and where we want to go. "The Mapmakers" is a thrilling account of their exploits.

John Noble Wilford tells the story in its full historical sweep, beginning with the surprisingly accurate silk maps prepared by Chinese cartographers in the second century B.C. and the achievements of the ancient Greeks who first measured the size and shape of Earth. You'll read about medieval mapmakers who believed they had fixed the location of paradise; the great Renaissance seafarers whose exploits for the first time joined exploration and mapmaking; the Cassini family, who spent more than a century mapping the whole of France; and the daring explorers, from Lewis and Clark on, who mapped the American West. In three new chapters Wilford brings the story up to date, as he shows the impact of cutting-edge technologies that have revolutionized mapmaking and made it possible for cartographers to go where no one has been before, from the deepest reaches of the universe (where astronomers are mapping time as well as space) to the inside of the human brain.

It's a grand adventure, and Wilford captures it in all its excitement.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dypaloh -

John Wilford Noble’s The Mapmakers is a terrific source of stories and information about famous mapmakers and the mapping techniques of the past. A good deal of the history is related through ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - librisissimo -

Contains lots of interesting information, more than I really needed about cartographic and surveying techniques. The early-age historical chapters were very informative, and the later modern-age ones ... Read full review


Prologue at Dana Butte
two The Librarian Who Measured Earth
three First Principles by Ptolemy

10 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2000)

John Noble Wilford is a science correspondent for "The New York Times. "He lives in New York.

Bibliographic information