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The History of Cartography, the “Most Ambitious Overview of Map Making Ever,” Is Free Online

Open Culture: “The University of Chicago Press has made available online — at no cost –five volumes of The History of Cartography. Or what Edward Rothstein, of The New York Times, called “the most ambitious overview of map making ever undertaken.” He continues:

People come to know the world the way they come to map it—through their perceptions of how its elements are connected and of how they should move among them. This is precisely what the series is attempting by situating the map at the heart of cultural life and revealing its relationship to society, science, and religion…. It is trying to define a new set of relationships between maps and the physical world that involve more than geometric correspondence. It is in essence a new map of human attempts to chart the world.

If you head over to this page, you will see links (in the left margin) to five volumes available in a free PDF format. The image above, appearing in Vol. 2, dates back to 1534. Created by Oronce Fine, the first chair of mathematics in the Collège Royal (aka the Collège de France), the map features the world drawn in the shape of a heart. A pretty beautiful design. Below you can find links to the individual volumes available online.”

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