The Importance of Maps: An Analysis of the Main Techniques Used in Creating an Effective Map

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Over thousands of years, maps have developed from two-dimensional cave art depicting the constellations to Christian-centered “T and O” maps depicting Jerusalem at the center of the map, to sophisticated three-dimensional views of earth. According to James S. Aber, a professor of Geology at Emporia State University, the first known maps were made in approximately 2300 B.C. on clay tablets. As time passed philosophers developed more knowledge about Earth, and by the time that Claudius Ptolemaeus, or "Ptolemy," was born people understood the concept of a spherical earth rather than a flat earth. Ptolemy’s map “depicted the Old World from about 60°N to 30°S latitudes”(James S.Aber). After Ptolemaeus, came the Medieval Era. During the Medieval Era land on maps expanded and people drew T-O maps, maps that have “Jerusalem… at the center and east… oriented toward the map top” (James S. Aber). Like Ptolemy, cartographers in the Middle Ages greatly impacted the development of maps. According to “The History of: Maps and Mapmaking” powerpoint, “Ptolemy’s maps drew a sense of curiosity to the people of Europe, and prompted new exploration” (San Jose Unified School District). The curiosity in Europe influenced two explorers to venture into unknown territory and make life-changing discoveries. The first of the two explorers, Christopher Columbus, journeyed in 1492 to find a trade route from Spain to Asia. According to the powerpoint Columbus used “Ptolemy’s inaccurate maps,” and as a result of getting lost made one of history’s best discoveries, the New World (SJUSD). The second explorer that greatly changed our world was Ferdinand Magellan. Magellan, like Columbus, was sent to find a trade route from Spain to Asia, but in contrast to Colum... ... middle of paper ... ...not be able to be created. Although maps have developed from simple maps with east at the top to maps with depictions of different elevations, all throughout history the main goal of maps was to help further peoples understanding of a topic. Works Cited Aber, James S. “History of Maps and Cartography.” History of Maps and Cartography. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014 San Jose Unified School District"The History Of: Maps and Mapmaking." San Jose Unified School District, n.d. PowerPoint. 03 Apr. 2014. Gruver, Adrienne. "Part I: Types of Maps." Geography 486. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014. "Political Map." Dictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2014. "Topographic Map." Dictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2014. "Physical Map." World Atlas. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014. "Types of Thematic Maps." Types of Thematic Maps. Slippery Rock University, n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.

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