UNESCO Courier

Articles from June

A Bit off the Map
'MAPS and plans that are a secret for the country's population are an absurdity, a torch kept extinguished," wrote the Soviet geologist A.P. Gerasimov sventy years ago. Unfortunately this was the case for years in the USSR, where the achievements...
Atlases, Ways and Provinces
IT is very difficult to form a value judgement of the Arab maps produced in the Middle Ages since, despite all the searches made, only a very small number of originals have been found. The maps constructed by al-Khwarizimi (the planisphere drawn at...
Celestial Cartography
FROM very early times, the stars in the firmament have held a strong fascination for man. In the movements of the stars the Ancients saw the operation of supernatural forces which could influence human destiny. Believing that there were portents...
Copyright Is Everybody's Business
* Why is UNESCO concerned with copyright? - Copyright, the legal framework for the protection of literary, artistic and scientific works, is a human right and as such is recognized in Article 27(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which...
Imagining the World
IMAGINATION has played a key role in the history of cartography. Long before the fifth century BC, when Greek scholars found the Earth to be a globe, and in far corners of the Earth never touched by their learning, people imagined the shape of the...
Jorge Lavelli
* What, in your view, is theatre? -- Whenever you have one or more people performing in front of an audience, you have theatre. Wherever this takes place, it constitutes a theatrical act in the strict sense. If, for instance, at this precise moment,...
The Earth from Every Angle
In the earth sciences, the maps produced by UNESCO are mainly geological, tectonic, metallogenic or metamorphic. These maps generally show a continent in its entirety, hence their small scale -- usually 1:5,000,000 or 1:2,500,000. GEOLOGICAL...
The New History of Cartography
IN the beginning there were maps. There has always been a mapping impulse in individual consciousness. The sensing of space and the development of cognitive structures to understand it can be traced from the earliest societies to the present. It...
The Pathfinders
EXTRAORDINARY developments in geography took place in Ancient Greece and the Hellenistic world. The work of Claudius Ptolemy, the Greek mathematician and geographer who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, in the second century AD, was a major landmark in...
The Perspective from Space
CARTOGGRAPHY is a very ancient art. As long ago as the time of the Pharaohs, surveyors were drawing up plans of plots of cultivated land in order to re-establish property boundaries or replace cornerstones buried under the silt brought down by the...
The Treasures of Montezuma
AMONG the gifts that Hernan Cortes, the Spanish conqueror of Mexico, sent to the emperor Charles V in 1522 were two maps of the lands he was then engaged in conquering in the name of Spain. The maps had been painted by Indians on cotton fabric. ...
The Universal Copyright Convention
The Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) is an international instrument which was drawn up in 1952 under the auspices of UNESCO. If it were to be as universal as its title claims, the Convention not only had to recognize copyright as a human right...
When Mapping Became a Science
DURING the eighteenth century, France became the leader in topographic or general mapping. The foundations of this achievement were laid in the preceding century when the astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625-1712) came from Bologna to the newly-founded...
Zheng He's Sailing Chart
THE earliest surviving Chinese sea map is the celebrated sailing chart of Admiral Zheng He, which has made in the mid-fifteenth century. A script map measuring 20.5 cm by 560 cm, it portrays the voyage between the Chinese city of Nanking and Jazireh...
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