For the Love of Maps

The Star Map from Jordan shows the sky at the center of the Universe.
I just love maps. They bring back cherished memories or they remind me of trips I'd like to take. Some are abstract concepts depicting places of which I can only dream others are concrete places I can't imagine. There is a new project spearheaded at the University of Chicago that purports to include maps from all corners of the earth and beyond--even to the spirit world.

According to Open Culture, "The project includes non-Western and pre-medieval maps, presenting itself as 'the first serious global attempt' to describe the cartography of African, American, Arctic, Asian, Australian, and Pacific societies as well as European. In so doing, it illuminates many of those 'obscure origins.'"

The heart of the world
Old maps show us how people used to view their surroundings, which some may find funny or disturbing, while modern maps represent what is real or true. The ancients interpreted what they thought they knew or what they could imagine. I wonder what our ancestors will think of our map making, both of thge physical and mental realms?

To own a cartography of this size would cost you a ridiculous amount of money for the six volumes, but now you can see all the history of world charting in one place on the internet.  Where do you want to go? What map would you like to see? What places would you chart?

Here's the index and its related links:

Volume 1

Gallery of Color Illustrations

Volume 2: Part 1

Gallery of Color Illustrations (Plates 1–24)
Gallery of Color Illustrations (Plates 25–40)

Volume 2: Part 2

Gallery of Color Illustrations (Plates 1–16)
Gallery of Color Illustrations (Plates 17–40)

Volume 2: Part 3

Gallery of Color Illustrations (Plates 1–8)
Gallery of Color Illustrations (Plates 9 –24)

Volume 3: Part 1

Gallery of Color Illustrations (Plates 1–24)
Gallery of Color Illustrations (Plates 25–40)

Volume 3: Part 2

Gallery of Color Illustrations (Plates 41–56)
Gallery of Color Illustrations (Plates 57–80)


  1. I would love to travel the world and if all I had to do was chart down the places I went in order to go, I'd be gone. I'd start with all the places I haven't been in the U.S. and slowly make my way downward and eastward. In particular I'd want to chart the more hidden, unvisited places of the world that is filled with nature almost untouched.

  2. I've constantly been travelling around the world, from many southeast Asian countries, to European countries, to Eastern Asia. Australia and the United States.It seems that nowadays we are easily able to get a map from the internet such as applications and images that can easily help us identify places and directions to navigate. However, a traditional map is truly a priceless piece that is really amazing to be held in hand. I've studied American and British history, and the maps we've observed are those from wars and journeys across Oceans. Yet. I've never seen a real copy of it. I do wish to be able to own one in the future and have a huge map to be able to chart down the countries I've traveled to.

    Wayne Toh


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