Mapping the world: an illustrated history of cartography

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National Geographic, 2006 - History - 256 pages
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Mapping the World is a one-of-a-kind collection of cartographic treasures spanning thousands of years and many cultures, from an ancient Babylonian map of the world etched on clay to the latest high-tech maps of the earth, the seas, and the skies above. With more than one hundred maps and other illustrations and an introduction and commentary by Ralph E. Ehrenberg, former Chief of the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, this book tells a fascinating story of geographic discovery, scientific invention, the art of mapmaking, and the efforts of mapmakers everywhere to render our shape-shifting world in ever more innovative and meaningful ways.

The book draws from the finest map collections in the world, including the libraries of the National Geographic Society, the Library of Congress, and the British Library, and is organized into several chronological sections. Each section includes a brief introduction that places the maps in their historical context, followed by a gallery of cartographic masterpieces from different parts of the world, giving readers a unique comparative perspective on the state of geographic knowledge and mapmaking during different historical periods. Special "portfolios" within each section feature key cartographic innovators and maps of exceptional artistic quality or significance, such as the Waldseemuller Map, the first to use the name America; or the life and work of a groundbreaking cartographer, such as Gerardus Mercator, who gave us the Mercator projection; or the latest computer-generated maps that open new windows on the cosmos. In addition to including examples of all the world's most prized and famous maps of exploration and discovery, the book features many other examples of maps that rarely get the attention they deserve---geological maps, road maps, prisoner escape maps, tourist maps, city maps, military situation maps, mental maps, and much more.

With its broad historical and cultural range, unmatched variety of maps from many of the finest map collections in the world, more than one hundred illustrations, and a fresh and authoritative perspective on the history of cartography, Mapping the World will delight everyone with an interest in maps and mapmaking like no other book on the subject.

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Read this book yesterday, some sections only read in detail and others, just scanned, at my local University Library campus. It is classed as a Rare Book, dont know why, however I digress- My opinion is that it is one of the very best illustrated History books on Mapping I have seen in my lifetime and I am sixty years old. I am a former commercial pilot, teacher, library technician and a student of Archives and History. There is excellent background on the 200AD genius cartographer, the Greco-Egyptian, Claudius Ptolemy. He was a visionary, genius and his material on latitude and longitude serve to this day. There is also a great illustration of some of the original compasses and how they were used by ancient mariners ! Then to skip to the end, a fantastic seismic and thermal map of Mars, which I did not know had been done already! I am going to see if I can find a used copy of this book by Ehrenberg for my library at home. Fantastic and I highly recommend it. Great illustrations and facts throughout. Easy reading. NCB. Canada.  


Discovery and ExjJorat
Maps for Royally

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About the author (2006)

Ralph E. Ehrenberg is a former chief of the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress and a former director and assistant director of the Center for Cartographic and Architectural Archives, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. He has lectured and consulted widely on cartographic and geographic resources, the history of cartography, and management of cartographic collections.

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