The Mapmakers

The Mapmakers Who hasn t been fascinated by the names on a map or stopped a spinning globe with their finger Humans still long to discover what maps can tell us about ourselves and the potential they hold to tell

  • Title: The Mapmakers
  • Author: John Noble Wilford Simon Garfield
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 167
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Who hasn t been fascinated by the names on a map, or stopped a spinning globe with their finger Humans still long to discover what maps can tell us about ourselves, and the potential they hold to tell us about the rest of the universe.In a new introduction Simon Garfield, bestselling author of On the Map Why the World Looks the Way it Does, describes The Mapmakers as a Who hasn t been fascinated by the names on a map, or stopped a spinning globe with their finger Humans still long to discover what maps can tell us about ourselves, and the potential they hold to tell us about the rest of the universe.In a new introduction Simon Garfield, bestselling author of On the Map Why the World Looks the Way it Does, describes The Mapmakers as a magisterial sweep of cartographic wonders , and speaks of the joy John Noble Wilford takes in these stories of discovery.

    One thought on “The Mapmakers”

    1. This is a fascinating book on the history of cartography, and written at exactly the right level for an interested layperson with a decent general education. The information is dense without being impenetrable.I learned a ton of interesting facts, was frequently surprised by the order in which things happened and how much technology had been developed at certain time periods, and it explains some concepts of cartography that I vaguely remembered from elementary school so that I finally understoo [...]

    2. Although I'd read many books about explorers and exploration of the earth, I'd never read anything before specifically about cartography, i.e. the mapping of the planet. This book, arranged chronologically and thematically, handles it all, from the ancient Sumerians to the initial charting of Mars. The author, a science editor, nests his discussion within some description of his own experiences in mapping the Grand Canyon. Although treating of the mathematics and technologies behind cartography, [...]

    3. This book is a detailed overview of the history of cartography from its earliest known origins to the space exploration days. The maps included were beautiful, and the writing style was straightforward and accessible to the layman for a somewhat niche topic.

    4. I'm kind of nerdy about maps. I just think they're cool. Reading about the evolution of cartography and the often harrowing ordeals mapmakers went through to greater understand our world was a joy.

    5. Wow, I cannot believe that I finally finished this one! Full review to come - overall decent book, although it had its weaknesses.

    6. More reviews available at my blog, Beauty and the Bookworm.I picked The Mapmakers up probably a year and a half ago while perusing the gift shop at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum; I'm pretty sure I was there to watch Interstellar on the IMAX screen. I'm not a big Air and Space fan (I favor the American and Natural History museums) but this book and a seemingly-related one in topic, A History of the World in 12 Maps, caught my eye, so I picked them up while I was there. And they have langui [...]

    7. A totally fascinating read about mapmakers and cartography that really opened my eyes to all the possibilities of mapmaking. I had never heard of some stuff, and other stuff I had never really had explained. Some of the history reads like adventure stories. It bogs down a little when it gets really technical or jargon-heavy, but there is so much good material to work with. It makes me like maps ever more.

    8. This was a fascinating book explaining the history of map making. It really makes one appreciate maps and the wonder of GPS today

    9. A fascinating book that makes the history of mapmaking and geography interesting. You don't have to be a geography major to enjoy this book.

    10. He takes the awesome stories of adventurers and explorers, includes the dry stuff of science and mathematics, and somehow it comes out all together even better than either one!

    11. One might think that the story and concept of mapmaking might be dull, by Mr Wilford makes it come alive. From the beginnings in ancient times in Egypt and China, to the present mappng of Mars and the Moon, he tells the story clearly, which is always important in scientific tales. He starts with the concept of maps, and then precedes from the mapping of sea routes and the determination of the circumference of the world to the mapping of the whole world. The methods used were ingenious and the ma [...]

    12. I read a few chapters closely. Skimmed the rest. The book is well written and comprehensive. You'll learn a lot about cartography. The history is, well, poor. The analysis is unabashedly presentist. The historical protagonists are categorized into the modern rational good guys and superstitious, irrational fools. If you want good historical analysis that explores the context for why people believed what they did about the world, you'll not find it here. Read with a grain of salt and a critical e [...]

    13. Thanks alisa! One of the best nonfiction books.learned a lot about surveying, cartography, and historyfabulous.jt made me want to get a sextant and quadrant and start plotting stars, mts. and borders. great stuff. A bit dense, but read at least a chapter a day.

    14. "The Mapmakers" takes almost 500 pages to describe 3,000 years of mapmaking history and technology, but the story author John Noble Wilford tells is engaging enough to keep your interest until the end. He clearly explains the geometry and trigonometry of mapmaking, from its primitive beginnings to today's technological wizardry allowing Earth to be mapped from space. However, my favorite parts of the book are the colorful stories of the pioneers of mapmaking, such as Gerardus Mercator, who devel [...]

    15. The best part of this book was actually due to when it was written - pre-google maps where anyone can pull up ultra high quality satellite photometry + GPS + Road Atlas + more. The point of view is priceless -- Wilford reminds us that c.a. 1980 we ere still in a different era and showed the steps out.Otherwise it was, as I've seen a few other point out, an excellent read for someone who wants a good Survey of the history of cartography but without it being totally dumbed down.The only reason I 4 [...]

    16. This one took me a while to get through, but it was an absolutely fantastic read! The book spanned the history of cartography, and the end explored mapping beyond the Earth. I particularly enjoyed the first sections about mapping in antiquity. I also agreed with the authors discussion of the ‘completeness’ of mapmaking. It’s so odd to think that we don’t have perfect, accurate maps of the world yet. Although the book was published before Google maps! Regardless, I loved the breadth of th [...]

    17. I read this and I read 'Maps and Civilisation'. I like learning about cartography, but with both books I stopped reading when they got to about the 1940s as I'm more interested in the older developments, so I can't vouch for the last quarter of either book, but what I read was interesting. Just yesterday I threw a trivial cartographical factoid into a conversation so that was time well spent.

    18. Mapmakers is nothing short of amazing. From the very beginning, you sense the authors skill at storytelling historical facts. Somewhat akin to "Brief History of Nearly Everything" yet this details how maps are created. In every sense of the words.

    19. I love the early days of map-making. The India Survey was entrancing what with the secret agents and specialized tools for surreptitious measurements. When mapping became the work of satellites and machines, an exciting age ended.

    20. I really liked the classical map-making part, when it was seriously hard work with theodolites and temporary wooden towers. That's the first 2/3 of the book. The modern stuff with satellites and GPS just seems less romantic and challenging, but I just love the historical stuff.

    21. I like geography, and maps, and atlas', and this historical book did not disappoint me. The book is also about topography, and surveying and historical leaders of what evolved to today's maps. The book is dry, interesting, but you must be very fond of this topic.

    22. John Noble Wilford does a wonderful job of making what would seem to be a very dry subject an entertaining read

    23. I have to remember not to pick up books that look interesting without researching them. I wanted to like this so badbut it's totally boring.

    24. absolutely fascinating. i have to admit i didn't realize there had been so many mars missions prior to the rovers.

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