Saturday, October 26, 2013

Earth Maps

Maps help define, explain, and navigate Earth. Charting Earth has been around for at least 8,200 years. The graphical representations of one's perception is recognized as an acquired skill that predates all forms of written communication.
"Maps codify the miracle of existence."
― Nicholas Crane, Mercator: The Man Who Mapped the Planet
Evidence of early maps include cave paintings and later the ancient maps of Babylon, Greece, and Asia.

The Cantino Planisphere
Completed by an unknown Portuguese cartographer in 1502.
Charting Earth grew rapidly during the Age of Discovery in the early 15th century through the 17th century.
"I believe in such cartography – to be marked by nature, not just label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. ... All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps."
― Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

New Providence, New Jersey 1905.
NW corner of the Plainfield Quadrangle (USGS)
Advances in global-positioning and digital mapping continue to be made as we move into the 21st century.

Flat, three-dimensional, or virtual, maps are symbolic and metaphoric representations of space that are adopted as a sort of world language in accordance with our perception.
"A labyrinth is a symbolic journey . . . but it is a map we can really walk on, blurring the difference between map and world."
― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
Maps offer a finger-hold on the meaning of space both empty and occupied.