The History of Topographical Maps

The history of Topographical Maps – P.D.A. Harvey. Thames and Hudson Publishing House

A topographical map illustrates the shapes and patterns of a landscape on a much larger scale that a traditional map. It acts to give more of a vague impression of an environment and is more often than not a lot more difficult to decipher due to the amount of information concerning points of reference that is located over the course of the image. Main roads and pathways are typically not included but monasteries, churches and other points of interest such as these may commonly be found.


Second Century Geographer Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus) Distinguishes between ‘geographic maps’ of the whole world, which shoes features by lines and dots, and ‘chorographic maps’ of smaller area, which make use of some pictorial elements.” Pg. 9

“To Ptolemy the difference between these (geographic, chorographic and also cadastral maps) was fundamental.”  Cadastral maps – official map drawn to serve the basis for taxation. Pg. 9

Map of the Black Forest, facing south by Johann Georg Tibianus. Published 1578 and reissued 1603. Pictures take the place of conventional signs except for the abbot’s crozier marking monesteries. Pg 10 – 11


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