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Rhumb Lines and Map Wars: A Social History of the Mercator Projection

liked it 3.00  ·  Rating details ·  13 ratings  ·  3 reviews
In Rhumb Lines and Map Wars, Mark Monmonier offers an insightful, richly illustrated account of the controversies surrounding Flemish cartographer Gerard Mercator's legacy. He takes us back to 1569, when Mercator announced a clever method of portraying the earth on a flat surface, creating the first projection to take into account the earth's roundness. As Monmonier shows, ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by University of Chicago Press
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Rossdavidh
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: blue
No matter what topic in science, math, or technology one chooses to investigate, however arcane, one can be convinced a priori of two things:
1) there are bitter divisions of opinion among the experts
2) there's a good xkcd webcomic about it (in this case, https://xkcd.com/977/)

Map projection is no exception in regards #1, either. The most public part of this, is the Mercator (if you don't know anything about map projections, this is the one you know) vs. Gall-Peters debate. This book is written,
...more
Nina
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, cartography
An interesting short history of the Mercator projection, as well as a brief critique of the Peters projection, which coincidentally was just selected as the official map projection for the Boston (?) public school system.

I've been reading a couple other Monmonier books (How to Lie with Maps, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim and Inflame) and I appreciate his outspoken devotion to clear and concise writing. He doesn't try to be obtuse--he communicates his thoughts clearly,
...more
Kadri
Jun 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Quite an interesting look at different map projections and the history of using the Mercator projection which was very functional for sailing charts and finding the bearing easily, but not so in this day and age.
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Mark Stephen Monmonier is an American author and a Distinguished Professor of Geography at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

He specializes in toponymy, geography, and geographic information systems. His popular written works show a combination of serious study and a sense of humor. His most famous work is How To Lie With Maps (1991), in which he challenges the common belief that maps
...more