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Mapmakers: The Story of the Great Pioneers in Cartography - From Antiquity to the Space Age - John Noble Wilford

Mapmakers: The Story of the Great Pioneers in Cartography - From Antiquity to the Space Age

Author: John Noble Wilford
Book title: Mapmakers: The Story of the Great Pioneers in Cartography - From Antiquity to the Space Age
ISBN: 0862450411
ISBN13: 978-0862450410
Publisher: Imprint unknown; First Edition edition (October 24, 1981)
Language: English
Category: Astronomy & Space Science
Rating: 4.9/5
Votes: 676
Pages: 415 pages
More formats: doc mobi lrf rtf

Reviews: (7)
This book is a history of map making, and hence a history of the world. Starting with the earliest known maps in Iraq in -2300 BCE, both the history of discovery of the world and the cartographic principles are traced. For those of us that were taught that Columbus discovered the world is round, the calculation of the earths diameter in 300 BC shows this was widely known. Ptolemy's first cartographic principles are presented. Past the middle ages and their mythical maps, we are introduced to Mercator's projection, a measurement of degrees, and John Harrison's lifetime quest for measuring longitude (readers of this will enjoy Dava Sobel's book Longitude). Three chapters are devoted to the mapping of America (there is more than just Lewis and Clark).

The final two parts of the book discuss some of the newer mapping techniques including aerial and radar mapping; geologic and seismic mapping, Antarctica, and Oceanic sea floor. Although large expanses, some of these area have just been mapped in the 20th century. The final part discusses Global Position Systems, and mapping of the moon, mars, and the cosmos. For those of us working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) this book provides a nice antidote to thinking that mapping starting with the computer.

The book is well illustrated, but some of the pictures could really have improved with a little color. The book does really well at presenting a background of the people involved, and realizing their own personal quests. Some of the underlying cartographic principles are also presented.
If you can only get one book on maps/mapping/map-making, this is the one to get. Couldn't put it down.
This book is excellent. It describes in amazing detail what it took to map our world. Read this book if your a fan of maps, interested in geography or are interested in some fascinating historical figures that risked their lives to map our world.
This is a great resource to give an entertaining and insightful look into the history of cartography. I highly recommend it.
A great book for history buffs
it's a wordy novel for real enthisiasts
Having read Longitude by Nava Sobel, and having a long interest in maps and atlases, and reading some very favorable reviews, I decided to read The Mapmakers. It started out in a very interesting way, tracing the history of maps...but the book's two biggest flaws quickly became apparent: (1) It is woefully dated; (2) the photos (what few there are, rather astonishing in a book about maps) are fuzzy, hard to view...and entirely in black and white. This is a book that calls out for frequent illustrations if ever a book did, making the lack a major stumbling block to enjoyment--if only there were a single picture of a theodolite, or a plane table, or any other of the many tools mentioned, it would have made comprehension so much easier. Regarding the first flaw, it made the reading of successive chapters more and more painful...reading quotes from scientists about they doubt there's a real market out there for personal handheld GPS devices. Obviously that idea made sense to them at the time, given what they knew, but standing on the other side of history (and being a regular user of Waze), it just shows how much the book needs updating in order to appreciate the vast changes in cartography that occurred since 2001 (when this 'revised' version came out).

I enjoyed reading about the Cassini family, about westward discovery in the United States, and about mapping the oceans...topics I knew something about but not nearly. But it was a long slog to finish, and I did so just to say I'd done so (and for my 2017 self-imposed book challenge).
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