I love maps!
The field of cartography fascinates me and what a single map can tell you is hypnotizing.
“Maps encourage boldness. They’re like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible.” ―Mark Jenkins
Maps are windows into new worlds, new paradigms, different ways and customs of looking at the world.
“The map is one of the oldest forms of nonverbal communication. Humans were probably drawing maps long before they were writing texts. Mapmaking may even predate formal language. As far as historians and geographers can determine, every culture in every part of the world uses and makes maps. This deep lineage reflects the descriptive usefulness of a map – a map is one of the best proofs that a “Picture is worth a thousand words.”” – Joni Seager, University of Vermont http://chnm.gmu.edu/worldhistorysources/unpacking/mapsmain.html
People use maps to define, explain and navigate through their world. Any map you look at will inform you not only of place, but what was of the greatest importance to the cartographer whether it be religion, politics, art, utilitarianism, or cultural bias.
“I have an existential map; it has ‘you are here’ written all over it”– Stephen Wright
I love people and understanding “where they are coming from”. A map can answer that and more.
“There are maps through your bones and skin, to the way you’ve felt and the way you’ve been” – Testy McTesterson
There’s a map of the sky in the Lascaux caves, there are maps on clay tablets from Mesopotamia, and maps on mosaic tiles from the ancient Mediterranean.
Ancient maps and descriptions of lost maps are recorded from Homer (who may or may not have existed and may or may not have described a map) to the earliest reference to a map from China in the 3rd century BC.
Since maps come from all over the world and the various cultures of the world, the best way to study maps is to pick a specific area of interest whether it be place, time or culture and go from there.
“One of the challenges in this mission is the British maps are different from our maps, so it took some time to get use to them” – William Rush
Besides cartography there are maps of life, psyche, plans, and being.
What are your favorite types of maps? How do you map out your life? What do all your maps tell you about yourself?
“To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
My favorite map site so far: http://www.besthistorysites.net/index.php/maps
A great site and fun for browsing and learning about maps: http://www.davidrumsey.com/
History of Maps: http://www.maphistory.info/
An interactive political map from the Ancient History Encyclopedia offers a large-scale overview of the ancient world across all time periods: http://www.ancient.eu.com/mapselect/
Timeline maps: http://www.timemaps.com/history/