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Waldseemüller map (wikipedia.org)
39 points by dalek2point3 on May 16, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 24 comments

If you like maps like this, you will also like the globe produced by Martin Behaim in 1491, which (obviously) doesn't show the americas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erdapfel

Why obviously? How was America missed in earlier maps?

Because Europe didn't know about America until 1492.

Or more accurately, as that wikipedia page mentions, March 1493- when Columbus got back.

Columbus discovered America in 1492.

Arguable, some think that Viking explores like Leif Erikson discovered America first.


Yes - I didn't mean to imply Columbus was the first one, but regarding the question of why America was not on maps before, Columbus' discovery is the relevant one.

Possibly Polynesians might have landed in California earlier than the Vikings:


There was a documentary about this too which raised some interesting points.

There is one more potential location they would have sailed to - Chile in South America:


And the Native Americans arrived thousands of years earlier. But it's kinda irrelevant to the question of why European map makers didn't have the Americas on their globes until post-1493.

i hope it was a joke :) Upvoted you back base on such hope :)

I'd love to see this map projected onto a current map (or even satellite imagery) to see what sort of accuracy they were able to achieve back then. It is quite a feat to gather all that information and compile it into a single (large) image!

There are a couple of projects which try to make that really easy by allowing you to georeference a map by matching some common places:

http://www.oldmapsonline.org/ http://www.georeferencer.org/ http://maps.nypl.org/warper/

If you want a desktop app (handy with e.g. massive high-res scans) there's a fairly polished QGIS plugin: https://www.qgis.org/en/docs/user_manual/plugins/plugins_geo...

Once you've georeferenced something it's a fairly straight-forward process to either export as KMZ for Google Earth, etc. or export tiles which can be used with something like LeafletJS. I've used a master -> QGIS -> GeoTIFF -> gdal2tiles -> mbutil path with fairly low hassle.

I used this awhile back on http://www.wdl.org/en/item/2589/ and it was pretty interesting to see how the 1827 map was fairly accurate for the western part of the Russian empire but got significantly inaccurate as you headed to the northern or eastern frontiers.

very interesting. I've been meaning to do a study where I track maps over time to get a visual picture of how the world was "discovered". Have you seen anyone else that has done something similar or any references?

I've certainly heard interest in that sort of thing but I don't follow it closely. It'd be a great project, particularly if it involved something like georeferencing TIFFs on the Wikimedia Commons.

I don't know if it has this map, but at one point, google earth allowed you to layer the satellite imagery with old historic maps.

This is one of many interesting things hiding in the stacks of the maps division of the LOC, if you ever get an opportunity for a private tour - though I'm not sure if every one of those dips into the vault.

My strongest memory is of the WW2 Normandy beaches invasion map, done as an architectural model. Also, in the reading room, they keep a personal presidential globe - http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/churchill/interactive/_html/wc00...

It amazes me how maps like this were made... I presume it was using navigation tools to determine the place on the globe? I just can't imagine how to draw a map when having nothing but navigation tools.

You could do a pretty good job with latitude, between noon observations of the sun and Polaris at night. But it was the 1700s before anybody could work out accurate longitudes. So I suppose you worked with latitudes and compass routes when you mapped a coast.

The Original Size image is crashing my Chrome: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c0/Waldseemu...

Anyone know a good source for getting a high quality print of this image? Saw a few sources googling but not sure if I should trust them for print resolution/quality.

another installment of slightlyinterestingwikipediaarticles.ycombinator.com

TIL America used to be tiny!

What with california being an island off its west coast: http://www.businessinsider.com/people-used-to-think-californ...

Loooove these old maps.

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