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The history of accuracy in world maps [OC] : MapPorn

The history of accuracy in world maps [OC] : MapPorn

I may elaborate a bit on this (I taught cartography and a bit of its history for a while):

Some people have mentioned they have no idea what happened in the 1050 map. What is really interesting about this, is earlier maps (especially the ones from greece) are fairly accurate. They used mathematics and scientific methods to get as close to the real dimensions as possible (they were quite capable of doing so, see for example Eratosthenes and how he calculated the earth circumference from what they knew about earths shape)

The 150 AD map is an example for this (and there exist many more). What the graphic fails to display, how for couple hundred years afterwards, all the scientific approaches were thrown overboard and instead a kind of cultic/religious map making took over. They weren’t interested in real life distances and accuracy, but rather to depict the world as they believed it existed.

That 1050 map is an example of many of these so called “T and O maps” or sometimes called “Wheelmaps”. These typically have east on top, Jerusalem in its center, and often several religious “sites” like the “Garden of Eden” and stuff alike.

And while you might think, well that 1154 map doesnt look that bad either, look at the text. This was made by al-Idrisi, an Arabic scholar who was only working at the time in Italy. Only very slowly, somewhere during the 15th century when Europa began expanding and actually needed accurate maps, you can see a kind of explosion or rediscovery in the art of mapmaking, that was actually necessary to for navigation (and of course charting and claiming new land)