Magazine article Geographical

Old World Pictures

Magazine article Geographical

Old World Pictures

Article excerpt

In addition to reflecting the science and art of cartography and the extent of knowledge about the world at any given point in history, maps can reveal a great deal about the opinions and motives of those who created them, as well as those for whom they were intended. This month we take a privileged peek into the map library at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

From the earliest Mediterranean sailor's Portolan chart to modern-day tourist guides, maps have accompanied humans in their endeavours and travels for thousands of years. Throughout the history of cartography, the scope in both the methods used and reasons for their creation suggests that the evolution of map-making has occurred independently in different parts of the world.

Initially, maps were created for practical reasons--for example, to aid navigation and orientation, to illustrate the movement of herds of livestock or to show the positions of rivers and settlement sites. Over the years, they have also come to represent the great achievements of exploration and invention, not to mention territorial ownership. Many are even regarded as artistic masterpieces.

Due to the varied nature of maps and their potential relevance to all people and places worldwide, they have long been collected and treasured. …

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