Google Maps: Isn’t it exciting to take a look back and see that, despite the fuss and the mess, we can sometimes represent, as a society, we have grown up? Intellectually, technologically, and even physically.
It’s the simple things. How funny it would have been to see Christopher Columbus with a GPS instead of a compass, and then Rodrigo de Triana tweeting “#EARTH” matched with some emojis over his social networks after seeing a piece of America’s land for the first time, ha!
While the important thing is not necessarily where we come from, but where we go now; understanding and becoming aware of our ancestors could be the key for the next big tech-step. What is the recent Google news in a matter of digital cartography? Dive through this Map Timeline to find out!
The Evolution of Maps Timeline
It seems that the ability and need to make maps —not only for Google— is universal. Plus, each plan can be considered the expression of the geographical knowledge of the time. According to Mercator, “maps are the eyes of history.” However, it wasn’t that simple, and still, ironically, it still isn’t. Enjoy this selection and get an idea of the evolution of maps.
600 B.C. — A World View, From Babylon
It is believed that the oldest map in existance was made by the Babylonians around 2300 B.C. carved in clay slabs and consisted mostly of land measurements was made to collect taxes.
Nonetheless, the first worldwide vision map was discovered in the city of Sippar (Iraq), representing the world as known by the Babylonians. As an overview: the center is Babylon, the tiny circles are its seven cities, the big circle is the ending of firm land and represents the ocean, and finally the triangles are the islands.
590 B.C. — First Scaled Map
Thanks to a following description of Herodotus, we know that Anaximander of Miletus, a pioneer in trying to establish spatial relations more or less, probably elaborated the first scaled map. From around 500 years before, colors started to have meaning and was used among cartographic representations.
194 B.C. — Parallels and Meridians
Eratosthenes of Cyrene, the pioneer in measuring circumference, was the first to use parallels and meridians in a grid.
150 A.D. — Latitudes and Longitudes
The boom in Greco-Roman mapping was thanks to the first world map of Claudius Ptolemy with representations of latitudes and longitudes, that were relatively accurate on the countries and cities of the empire —But of course, it did have a deformed view of the world, particularly in Africa and India.
1500 A.D. — Old and New World
Lost for more than three centuries and found in Paris in 1832, is the first representation to show the discoveries of Columbus, elaborated by Juan de la Cosa, the pilot of the Santa Maria caravel.
Then a few years later, Waldseemüller created the first world map where the new world is called America, based on the trips of Americo Vespucio. It seems that a hundred copies were created —Thanks, Gutenberg, otherwise we’ve never arrived at Google!
1569 A.D. — Framing the Circle
Modern cartography! Who was responsible? No other than the Dutch Gerardus Mercator. He simply wanted to create a useful navigational map and ended up adopting it in a universal cylindrical way.
1998 A.D. — National Geographic Map
The 1921 Oswald Winkel‘s Winkel-Tripel projection, adopted by National Geographic, is a representation with less distortion by the cylindrical shape. There are hardly any distance or surface errors, but the polar regions are quite distorted. One of the most used maps today!
2005 A.D. — Virtual World, Google Earth
Created in 2001 under the name of EarthViewer 3D, it is the most popular virtual global map on the planet. It is based on overlaying data from geographic information systems, satellite imagery, and aerial photographs.
Nowadays, it is shocking what can be found through mapping on Google. The Google Street View from Google Maps service allows you to travel around every corner of the world without having to leave the house. From a few days ago, for example, it is possible to know what the interior of a volcano is like.
2014 A.D. — The Most Accurate 3D Map
Based on three million images taken by Japan’s Aerospace Agency (JAXA) ALOS satellite, the AW3D offers an incredible level of detail within 5 meters of spatial resolution. Pathetically, it is not only a paid service, but very pricey.