Hero image

Theatre of Maps

The author grew up near the birthplace of the famous cartographer Gerard Mercator. Inspired by this great scientist and artist he went to study Physical Geography (BSc), Cartography (Masters) and Remote Sensing (Postgraduate). This website and its products are the result of more than 30 years of experience in Cartography, GIS and IT, both as a teacher and developer. He suffers from a form of ASD (Autism), which was only diagnosed at a late age. Please visit his Blogspot for more information.

The author grew up near the birthplace of the famous cartographer Gerard Mercator. Inspired by this great scientist and artist he went to study Physical Geography (BSc), Cartography (Masters) and Remote Sensing (Postgraduate). This website and its products are the result of more than 30 years of experience in Cartography, GIS and IT, both as a teacher and developer. He suffers from a form of ASD (Autism), which was only diagnosed at a late age. Please visit his Blogspot for more information.
Historical e-atlas Italy
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Italy

(0)
Italy in 49 historical maps: 150AD-2018 (144 pages). The name Italy (in Latin: Italia) can be traced back to ancient times for the peninsula, though it was initially designated for the region of the lower part of Southern Italy by Greek settlers. Most likely it is derived from the ancient word Viteliu, meaning “land of young cattle”. Italy had been a rich agricultural country since ancient times. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Lombard invasions, Italia gradually became the collective name for various sovereign entities present on the peninsula. Italy was already described by Ptolemy in his Geographia (150AD). The accompanying maps were worked out again by European cartographers at the end of the 15th century. It is also depicted on the Portolan charts during the late middle ages, when the Mediterranean was a centre for navigation and trade. The first printed separate maps of Italy appeared in the early 16th century.
Europe in 50 historical maps: 150AD-2018
tomaps17tomaps17

Europe in 50 historical maps: 150AD-2018

(0)
In classical Greek mythology, Europe (Europa) is the name of either a queen of Crete or Phoenician princess. It means “wide-gazing” or “broad of aspect”. Europe was already described by classical Greek scholars; e.g. Ptolemy in his Geographia (150AD). The accompanying maps were worked out again by European cartographers at the end of the 15th century. It is also depicted on the T-O based Mappa Mundi of the middle ages, being one of the 3 then known ‘old’ continents (besides Asia and Africa). The first (printed) separate maps of Europe appeared in the early 16th century. Numerous maps made by famous cartographers would follow: e.g. Gastaldi (Italy), Mercator (Belgium), Speed (England), Sanson (France), Blaeu (Netherlands) and Homann (Germany).
Historical e-atlas Ireland
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Ireland

(0)
Ireland in 48 historical maps: 150AD-2018 (142 pages). The name Ireland is derived from the Celtic word Eire, meaning “the fertile place”. On ancient (world) maps the Latin name Hibernia or Ibernia (later Irlandia) was used, which refers to the wintry or cold climate of this remote place. Ireland was already described by Ptolemy in his Geographia (150AD). The accompanying maps were worked out again by European cartographers at the end of the 15th century. Being part of the British Isles, Ireland is also depicted on the Mappa Mundi in medieval times. The coastline was drawn in more detail on 15th century Portolan charts (nautical maps). The first (printed) separate maps of Ireland appeared in the 16th century.
Historical e-atlas South-Africa
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas South-Africa

(0)
South-Africa in 46 historical maps: 1490-2018 (138 pages). The name Africa may be derived from the Phoenician word afar, meaning ���dust”. The name Africa Terra (“Land of the dust”) was introduced by the ancient Romans to identify the northern part of the continent that corresponds to modern-day Tunisia. On classical Greek maps (e.g. Strabo’s world map) the name Libia was mostly used to identify the third known continent. During the Middle Ages, as the Europeans increased their knowledge and awareness of the size of the African continent, they progressively extended the name of Africa to the rest of the continent. Waldseemuller’s large map of 1507 - being partly based on Ptolemy’s ideas and new discovery’s - was one of the first world maps depicting the whole continent, including the South-African coastline. On the earlier world map of Martellus (1490) the southern part was truly out of shape; on Cantino’s world map (1502) it was corrected on account of information provided by Portuguese explorers. The first separately printed maps of the southern part of Africa appeared in the 16th century.
Historical e-atlas Germany
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Germany

(0)
Germany in 47 historical maps: 150AD-2018 (140 pages). The name Germany and other similar names are all derived from the Latin word Germania. Julius Caesar was the first to use the word Germanus in his writings when describing tribes in north-eastern Gaul (region stretching out from present-day France). However, its origin remains uncertain. Some (German) historians suggest that the word has Celtic roots. E.g. it may be derived from: gair (neighbour), gar (“noisy”, referring to the tribesman) or hari (“man at arms”). In English-speaking regions, the word German first appeared in about1520, replacing earlier uses of Alman and Dutch. Germany was already described by Ptolemy in his Geographia (150AD). The accompanying maps were worked out again by European cartographers at the end of the 15th century. It is also depicted on the Mappa Mundi during the middle ages. The first printed separate maps of the country appeared in the early 16th century.
Historical e-atlas China
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas China

(0)
China in 45 historical maps: 1137-2018 (140 pages). The most commonly theory suggests that the name China refers to the Qin dynasty, which ruled China from 221 till 206 BC. The name China was adopted by Martino Martini and other 17th century (European) cartographers. On earlier maps the name Cathay, based on Marco Polo’s Italian name Catai, was used to identify the northern part of present-day China. The (eastern) coastline of China was not yet depicted on early European (world) maps based on Ptolemy’s descriptions. The large wall maps of Cresques (1375) and Fra Mauro (1450) were the first European world maps showing the extent of China to the east. On the other hand, a few centuries earlier, Chinese cartographers had already produced some remarkably accurate maps - at the time - of China and surroundings. The first separate maps of China, printed by Europeans, appeared in the 16th century.
Historical e-atlas USA
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas USA

(0)
United States in 42 historical maps: 1507-2018 (130 pages). The United States of America (USA) are named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. The name America was introduced by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemuller. He wrongly assumed that Amerigo Vespucci - and not Columbus – had been the first European who discovered the new western continent. The name appeared for the first time on his famous world map published in 1507. The printed wall map was lost for a long time; the only survived copy was found in Schloss Wolfegg, in southern Germany in 1901. The map, also called the “birth-certificate of America”, was purchased by the Library of Congress in 2003. The Eastern coastline of (Northern) America was drawn much more accurate on the world map of Ribero in 1527. The first separately printed map of the new continent (the Americas) was included in Sebastian Munster’s encyclopedia (1540 onwards). The first separate maps covering the area of present day USA – mostly the eastern part - appeared at the end of the 17th century. The name United States of America was introduced after their independence from the UK in 1776.
Historical e-atlas Sri Lanka
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Sri Lanka

(0)
Sri Lanka in 42 historical maps: 1480-2018 (130 pages). The name Sri Lanka means “Holy Island” (from Sanskrit). Its former name is Ceylon, from Ceilão (Portuguese) and Zeilan (Dutch). It probably refers to “land of the lions”. On classical maps, based on Ptolemy’s writings, it was called Taprobana. This refers to “the island of King Rawana”. In the 16th and 17th century numerous separate maps appeared based on information of Dutch and Portuguese explorers. The capital city Colombo became an important harbour through the establishment of trading posts by Dutch, Portuguese and British colonists.
Historical e-atlas France
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas France

(0)
France in 46 historical maps: 1375-2018 (138 pages). The name France refers to Land of the Franks. The name means “Land of the free People”. The name may also be derived from the word frankon (spear), one of the weapons used by its warriors. On earlier maps the Latin name Gallia (Land of the Celts) or Gaul (Land of Foreigners) was used; during the 17th century the name Francia came into use. In the oldest classical descriptions (e.g. Strabo, ca. 20BC) the name Celtica is used to identify the region covering present-day France. France was also described by Ptolemy in his Geographia (150AD). The accompanying maps were worked out again by European cartographers at the end of the 15th century. Its coastline is depicted more accurate on the Portolan charts of the late middle ages, when the Mediterranean region was a centre for navigation and trade. The first printed separate maps of France appeared in the early 16th century.
Historical e-atlas Egypt
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Egypt

(0)
Egypt in 44 historical maps: 20BC-2018 (134 pages). According to the classical scholar Strabo (20BC) the name Egypt is derived from the Greek Aigaíou Hyptíos, which means the “(Land) below the Aegean (sea)". One of the first separate maps of the region was designed by Ptolemy (150AD). The map was worked out again by European cartographers at the end of the 15th century. The first separately printed maps of Egypt appeared in the (early) 16th century. Mostly, only the northern part (the Nile delta) of present-day Egypt was depicted. In the 17th century the coverage was extended to the south.
Historical e-atlas Ukraine
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Ukraine

(0)
Ukraine in 40 historical maps: 1480-2020 (124 pages) NOTE: This atlas of Ukraine is free. Instead, you can of course always support the Red Cross in Ukraine with a donation. See link below. [https://www.icrc.org/en/where-we-work/europe-central-asia/ukraine] Thank you.
Historical e-atlas Canada
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Canada

(0)
Canada in 47 historical maps: 1507-2018 (140 pages). The name Canada is derived from the Algonquin word Kanada, which means “village”. The name appeared for the first time on French world maps in about 1540. The name Quebec was used on early maps to identify newly discovered parts of Canada. The name was introduced by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1608. The name Quebec is derived from the Algonquin word kébec, meaning “where the river narrows”. (Referring to the St. Lawrence River near modern Quebec City.) The name Canada originally only referred to a small area being part of a larger Eastern region called Nova Francia (in Latin), after it had been colonized by the French. After their independence from the UK, in 1867, the name Canada was soon adopted for the whole country as we know it today. The first separately printed maps of Canada did appear not until the 19th century.
Historical e-atlas Japan
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Japan

(0)
Japan in 41 historical maps: 1507-2018 (128 pages). The official name of Japan is Nippon (or Nihon) meaning the “Land of the Rising Sun”. This name comes from Imperial correspondence with the Chinese Sui Dynasty and refers to Japan’s eastward position relative to China. The old Malay word for Japan, Jepang (modern spelling Jepun), was borrowed from a Chinese language. On the first separately printed map of Japan (Teixeira/Ortelius, 1595) the Latinized name Iaponia appeared. Various other names for Japan were used on earlier maps. On some 16th century (world) maps, based on Ptolemy’s ideas, the name Zipangri was used. The famous large wall map of Waldseemuller (1507) is one of the first world maps on which the island of Japan is clearly depicted. It appears at the upper right corner of the map.
Historical e-atlas India
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas India

(0)
India in 48 historical maps: 1480-2018 (142 pages). The name India is referring to the Indus river (or Sindhu) and has been in use in Greek since Herodotus (4th century BC). An alternative name is Hindustan. In the 19th century, the term as was only used to identify the northern part of present-day India. India was already described by Ptolemy in about 150AD. The accompanying maps were worked out at the end of the 15th century by European cartographers. The size and shape are not very accurate on these maps. The island of present-day Sri Lanka is relatively large and positioned at the south-west side. From 1502 onwards (Cantino map and later) India is finally depicted by its characteristic V-shape, due to new chartings by Portuguese explorers.
Historical e-atlas Brazil
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Brazil

(0)
Brazil in 46 historical maps: 1502-2018 (138 pages). The name Brazil or Terra do Brasil was introduced by Portuguese explorers. It is derived from pau-brasil, meaning “red-wood”. The word refers to a kind of timber which can be found scattered across the country. The similar Latin word brasa also refers to red-hot embers. The eastern coastline of Brazil - and (South) America in general - appeared for the first time on the world map of Alberto Cantino in 1502 and earlier on the manuscript map of Juan de la Cosa in 1500. The large world map of Martin Waldseemuller in 1507 was the first printed map that incorporated the new discovered land. The name America appeared on the map identifying the new discovered land. After realizing that Columbus - and not Amerigo Vespucci - had discovered the new continent, Waldseemuller changed the name in “Terra Incognita” on his later maps (e.g. in his atlas published in 1513).
Historical e-atlas Madagascar
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Madagascar

(0)
Madagascar in 35 historical maps: 1502-2018 (116 pages). The name Madagascar was given by Portuguese explorers in the early 16th century. It is derived from Madageiscar, a corruption of Mogadishu, popularized by Marco Polo. In the 17th century various names were used by other European explorers and mapmakers. For example S.Laurentii (Latin) by the Dutch, Saint Laurence by the British and Isle Dauphine by the French. After being discovered by the Portuguese explorer Diaz the large island appeared on the world maps from about 1500 onwards. The first separately printed maps were made in the midst of the 16th century.
Historical e-atlas Mexico
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Mexico

(0)
Mexico in 44 historical maps: 1520-2018 (134 pages). The origin of the name Mexico (Mexihca) is uncertain. Most likely it means “navel of the moon”, based on Nahuatl metztli (moon) and xictli (navel).+ It may also be derived from Mexihco, the name of the ancient Aztec capital, given by the Spanish colonists. At the end of the 16th century and early 17th century the name Mexico was also used on maps to identify large parts of present day United States. The Latin name Nova Hispania (New Spain) was used for a smaller region centred around the present-day capital Mexico City. On the world map of Ribero (1527) the eastern coastline of present-day Mexico is depicted remarkably accurate. On the atlas maps made by the Dieppe school (1547) the western coastline is also shown. One of the first separately engraved maps of Mexico was made by Italian cartographers in 1561. Numerous copies of other European cartographers would follow. +Nahuatl is a language spoken by the native inhabitants of Mexico
Historical e-atlas Argentina and Chile
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Argentina and Chile

(0)
Argentina and Chile in 44 historical maps: 1536-2018 (134 pages). The name Argentina refers to the Río de la Plata (Latin: Argenteus), meaning “Silver River”. It was given by the explorer Sebastian Cabot in the 1520s after acquiring some silver trinkets from a local tribe (the Guaraní). The origin of the name Chile is uncertain. It may be derived from the Mapuche word Chili , meaning “where the land ends”. (The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and south-western Argentina, including parts of the region Patagonia.) The name Patagonia (Patagão), covering large parts of present-day Argentina and Chile, was introduced by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1519-1522 voyage). It means “Land of big feet” referring to the huge people he reported to have seen. The first maps of Argentina and Chile resembling the modern maps nowadays did not appear until the midst of the 19th century. This was after their independence from Spain in 1810 (Chile) and 1816 (Argentina).
Remote Sensing: how satellite images are made
tomaps17tomaps17

Remote Sensing: how satellite images are made

(0)
Remote Sensing: how satellite images are made (1972-date) This concise presentation (17 pages) shows how satellite images are generated. It focuses on Landsat, the longest running project for earth observation. The entire process is explained: from the reflected sunbeams on the earth surface to the colours on the screen.
Historical e-atlas Nigeria
tomaps17tomaps17

Historical e-atlas Nigeria

(0)
Nigeria in 43 historical maps: 1522-2018 (132 pages). Nigeria is named after the river Niger that flows through the western part of the country, ending in the Atlantic ocean. It means “flowing water” and may be derived from the native word Ni Gir or N’eghirren (Tuareg). The Cantino map (1502) was the first world map on which the coastline of this western part of Africa was depicted relatively accurate. Due to lack of information the inland was often filled with fictitious elements. On 17th century and later maps (e.g. Blaeu) the name of neighbouring country Benin was used to identify large parts of present-day Nigeria. During the 18th century the African maps looked rather empty again (e.g. Anville), because cartographers applied a more scientific approach and showed only features that were actually verified. The first separately printed (atlas) maps of Nigeria did not appear until their independence from the UK in 1960.