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history of maps

June 08 2009 | 1 comment
Categories: Publishing

I've got a project in history titled "history of maps-tracing the changes in the methods over years".
I would like to get your help.I've got information about history of maps but I would like to get on the changes in mapmaking.

Mapping Center Answer:

You might check out the History of Cartography Project from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is one of the richest sources of information on the "history of cartography" and "historical cartography".

Below is an excerpt from Jon Kimerling’s "Cartography" chapter in the Geography in America book by Gary Gaile and Cort Willmott that explains the difference between these two terms:

"Historical cartography is based on viewing maps as a rich source of geographic information to be used in reconstructing past events. The geographic content of maps is of prime concern. Determining the geographical accuracy of features shown on historic maps is an important aspect of this focus on maps content. In contrast, the history of cartography involves studying how maps were made and who made them in different historical periods. Maps are viewed as physical artifacts whose physical form reflects an underlying technical process of creation. A historian of cartography would carefully examine a map and try to determine such things as the data sources used to create it, if it was drawn by pen and ink or engraved on copperplates, how colors were added to areas, and how it was printed or otherwise reproduced."

For a synopsis of changes in map making techniques, check out Chapter 3 (History of Cartography) in Elements of Cartography by Robinson, et al.

Additional Resource posted by Janel Day on Jun 9 2009 9:47AM
The Brief History of Maps and Cartography webpage ( is another good resource. The "Maps and mapmakers" link at the bottom of the page takes you to an interesting site.

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