Evolution of the world map
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Evolution of the World Map. A Antiquity. B Middle Ages. C Age of Discovery. D Modern Era ... Creation of the first accurate world maps. Central America, 1514 ...

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Evolution of the world map l.jpg


Joseph Naumann -- UMSL

Evolution of the World Map

A – Antiquity

B – Middle Ages

C – Age of Discovery

D – Modern Era

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  • Herodotus (circa 450 BC)

    • Inspired by Pythagoras (530 BC) and his geometry.

    • Father of geography.

    • Basic physical and human geography.

    • Exploration and travel instead of geometry.

    • Coined the terms Europe, Asia and Africa (Libya).

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  • Aristotle (circa 350 BC)

    • Considered physical elements such as the temperature and winds as factors of the human habitat.

    • Division of the world in 3 climatic zones.

    • Relationships between the environment (temperature) and human habitat.

    • One of the first physical geographer.




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  • Eratosthenes (circa 250 BC)

    • Formally assumed the earth was round.

    • Calculated the circumference of the earth.

    • 40,572 km versus the exact figure of 40,091 km.

    • Developed the concepts of parallel and meridian.

    • Consequently introduced the concept of geographical location.

    • Created modern cartography (cartographic plane).

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  • Ptolemy (circa 150 AD)

    • Refined the coordinate system.

    • Inventory of population and resources.

    • Describing the world.

    • 8,000 entries.

    • Relationships between the physical and human elements.

    • Created map projections.

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Middle Ages

  • Period of decline

    • The cartographic and regional approach was lost in Europe.

    • Representation of the world was “Christianized”.

    • Orthodoxy replaced objective observation and analysis.

    • “T and O” Maps.

    • Greek and Roman knowledge kept by the Byzantine Empire and by the Arabs.

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Age of Discovery

  • Exploration and innovation

    • The 15th and 16th centuries were characterized by numerous maritime explorations.

    • A commercial expansion of European nations.

    • Several technical innovations.

      • The compass, more precise maps.

      • Larger ships (they passed from 200 to 600 tons during the sixteenth century), better ship structures and the rudder.

      • Insure a safe, fast and therefore profitable maritime navigation.

    • Creation of the first accurate world maps.

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Modern Era

  • A complete world map

    • Early 20th century.

    • Complete and accurate view of the world.

    • Coordinate systems.

    • National inventories of resources.

  • Information technologies

    • Use of remote sensing (aerial photographs and remote sensing).

    • G.I.S. & Digital maps.

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Problem of Distortion

  • All maps, by their very nature contain some type of distortion.

    • Converting a 3-dimensional spherical surface to a 2-dimensional “flat” surface.

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Essentials of a good map

  • Title – view knows what to expect

  • Grid – allows for easy, accurate locating

  • Direction arrow or compass rose – to orient the map to reality

  • Scale – to allow one to relate distances on the map to the actual distances on the earth.

  • Key or Legend – so the viewer can understand what the symbols and colors represent.