People have been drawing maps for thousands of years. A grouping of dots on the walls of thein southern France, for example, is thought to be a prehistoric map of the night sky. As mapmaking evolved, new forms of representation came about and cartographers started highlighting different features of the landscape. These shifts are charted in the 300 presented in the book . Here are a few of our favourites.
Dymaxion Airocean World Map
Faithfully representing the world on a flat surface has always been a struggle. US inventortackled the problem by projecting Earth’s surface onto a 20-sided polyhedron, then unfolding it. This approach resulted in countries with more accurate proportions than the standard Mercator map still used today. The map above, drawn in 1954, highlights Earth’s temperature zones, with the coldest areas in blue and green and the warmest in red.
(Image: The Fuller Projection Map design is a trademark of the Buckminster Fuller Institute. © 1938, 1967 & 1992 All rights reserved. Dymaxion Airocean World, 1954, R. Buckminster Fuller. Printed paper, 24 x 39 cm / 9 1/2 x 15 1⁄3 in., Buckminster Fuller Institute, Brooklyn, New York)
“The moon is no copy of the Earth,” concluded astronomer Johann Heinrich von Mädler after spending 600 nights peering through a refracting telescope alongside Wilhelm Beer. Together they produced this map of the moon – the most detailed one ever at the time. It was first published in four volumes before appearing in their book, Der Mond, in 1838. The south pole appears at the top, replicating the inverted view that appeared through the telescope.
(Image: Courtesy of Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps)
A Map of Vesuvius
No, it’s not theor a . This map of Mount Vesuvius in Italy uses colourful streaks to represent 27 lava flows that occurred between 1631 and 1831. Created by geologist John Auldjo, its ribbons depict the location and extent of the lava’s trajectory. Auldjo’s subsequent work based on this map earned him Fellowships at the Royal Society and Royal Geographical Society in the UK.
(Image: University of Otago, New Zealand)
Hurricane Katrina Flooding Estimated Depths and Extent
The ability of satellites to look at Earth from afar has revolutionised mapmaking. This image ofincorporates satellite estimates of water depth just five days after hurricane Katrina inundated the city. The green areas are the most heavily flooded – water here is 3 metres deep – while red regions are 0.3 metres deep. Such detailed satellite maps can help authorities respond to disasters.
(Image: NOAA Central Library Historical Collection/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce)
Human Mobility and the Spread of Ebola in West Africa
Our phones knows where we are, so data from them increasingly gets used to map places during a crisis. This image of people’s travelling habits was created in 2014 during thein West Africa by overlaying information from 150,000 cellphones captured the year before. It was put together in an attempt to understand the spread of the virus, but it was tough to draw conclusions from it because behaviour often changes during an outbreak.
(Image: Flowminder Foundation and WorldPop project)
Willamette River, Oregon
Lasers can make beautiful images. In this one, they are also revealing geological history. This segment of the Willamette river in Oregon, between Albany and Monmouth, was scanned with lasers to accurately measure the elevation of the ground. The technique, known as lidar, determines the distance travelled by the laser beam. High ground is shown in dark blue while the lowest areas are in white, revealing how the river and its tributaries have meandered across a relatively flat landscape.
(Image: Daniel E. Coe, courtesy of Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries)
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