Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cartographia: Mapping Civlizations

I know this book as been noted elsewhere, but I finally had an opportunity to go through it in detail when my library recieved its copy.

Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations by Vincent Virga and The Library of Congress. This gorgeous coffee table-sized book attempts to represent a broad range of maps and mapping, from the earliest times to the present, as well as eastern and western traditions. Most of the maps come from the collections of the Library of Congress.

From the flyleaf:
More than 200 maps, selected from the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress — the largest cartographic collection in the world — are reproduced in this sumptuous volume. Some of the rarest and most spectacular maps ever made are featured here, including:
  • The Waldseemüller Map of the World from 1507, the first to include the designation "America"
  • Pages from Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of 1570, considered the first modern atlas
  • Rare maps from Africa, Asia, and Oceania that challenge traditional Western perspectives
  • William Faulkner's hand-drawn 1936 map of the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi
  • A 2001 map of the human genome
With their accompanying stories, the vivid color plates in Cartographia introduce the reader to an exciting new way of reading maps as travelogues—as living histories from the earliest imaginings about planet Earth to our current attempts at charting cyberspace, the latest of our “last frontiers.”
Here is a very ancient map, in cuneiform, from ancient Mesopotamia.

Below is a very Japanese map of Japan on porcelain.

As an example of modern maps, and the different ways they can present information, the authors also included Gastner, Shalizi, and Newman's 2004 presidential election cartograms.

A worthy addition to any cartophile's book collection.

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