Two Thousand Years of Map Projections
Author: John P. Snyder
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
View: 9133As long as there have been maps, cartographers have grappled with the impossibility of portraying the earth in two dimensions. To solve this problem mapmakers have created hundreds of map projections - mathematical methods for drawing the round earth on a flat surface. Yet of the hundreds of existing projections, and the infinite number that are theoretically possible, none is perfectly accurate. Any projection inevitably distorts the geography it portrays. Flattening the Earth is the first detailed history of map projections since 1863. John P. Snyder discusses and illustrates the hundreds of known projections from before 500 B.C. to the present, emphasizing developments since the Renaissance - when the concept of a round earth gained acceptance - as mapmakers used increasingly sophisticated mathematical techniques to create ever more accurate projections. He closes with a look at the variety of projections, simple and complex, made possible today by the speed and power of computers. This book includes 170 illustrations, including outline maps from original sources and modern computerized reconstructions. The text is not mathematically based and is accessible to non-specialists, but a few equations are included to permit the more technical reader to plot some projections. Snyder also provides tables summarizing the features of nearly 200 different projections and listing those used in nineteenth- and twentieth-century atlases. As a survey of most known map projections, a discussion of cartographic technique, and a historical analysis of the development of map projections, this book will be an important resource for cartographers, geographers, and historians.