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Saturday, 19 March 2016


The oldest known map is carved on a clay tablet that dates to about 2300 BC and now resides in the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Excavated at Nuzi in northern Iraq during the early 1920s, the clay map portrays the river Euphrates flowing through northern Mesopotamia.

The Babylonian Imago Mundi, commonly dated to the 6th century BC is the earliest known map of the world. It shows Babylon on the Euphrates, surrounded by a circular land mass showing Assyria, Urartu (Armenia) and several cities, in turn surrounded by a "bitter river" (Oceanus), with seven islands arranged around it so as to form a seven-pointed star.
Imago Mundi Babylonian map

Anaximander (611-547 BC) was probably the first Greek to map the whole known world. He visualized the Earth as poised in space (which was a new idea at the time)

Egyptian scholar Ptolemy (c. AD 100 – c. 170) included in his treatise Geography the first maps to use a mathematically correct form. He also provided instructions on how to create maps both of the whole inhabited world (oikoumen√®) and of the Roman provinces.

The Ptolemy world map,

Leonardo da Vinci published a world map in which eight octants of the earth were projected onto eight Reuleaux triangles.

The first meteorological map, An Historical Account Of The Trade Winds, And Monsoons, was drawn up in 1686 by astronomer Edmund Halley.

British painter and writer Phyllis Pearsall created London's first popular indexed street map. The work involved walking 3,000 miles to check the names of the 23,000 streets of England's capital city, waking up at 5am every day, and not going to bed until after an 18-hour working day. Her atlas of London was published on April 21, 1936.

The cover of the Authentic Map of London from 1957

The 1939 Michelin Guide to France was reprinted in 1944 for Allied military use, as its maps of the country were regarded as the best and most up-to-date of all available.

During the Cold War, the USSR mapped the entire world to precise detail. The U.S State Department still uses the maps today due to their accuracy.

Cartographers protect their intellectual property by slipping fake streets, or even entire towns, into their maps. If the street/town shows up on another map, they know it was stolen.

The "You are here" arrow on a map is called the IDEO locator.

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