Mapping the World
Written by Sylvia A. Johnson
Maps show us how to get from one place to another, but they have other stories to tell. By looking at a map, we can see which aspects of the world were most important to people in a particular time and place. The earliest maps from ancient Mesopotamia picture a small world made up only of neighboring kingdoms. During the Middle Ages, when Christianity was a powerful influence, maps often showed the location of the Garden of Eden and other places mentioned in the Bible. In a later period of trade and exploration, mapmakers produced sea charts based on compass readings to guide sailors as they navigated unknown seas. With the discovery of new lands and new peoples, the known world was transformed, and maps reveal the different stages of this great change.
Today, cartographers use computers, satellites, and other tools of modern science to map the most remote regions of the earth, create maps of the ocean floor, and even explore distant planets. This partnership between science and cartography has provided a broader perspective on our place in the universe. The world is much larger and more complicated than people of the past could ever have imagined.
Through a fascinating collection of colorful maps and an informative, engaging text, Mapping the World encourages readers to think about how views of the world have changed over time. After reading it, budding cartographers might even be inspired to create maps of their own.