With the development of commercial flight, and long-range aerial bombing capabilities, people needed maps which showed the great circle routes and distances around the globe.
Blaeu Atlas Maior, 1662
'Nova et accvratissima totius terrarvm
orbis tabvla' from the
Blaeu Atlas Maior, 1662. View zoomable image
The Blaeu Atlas Maior is one of the largest and most splendid atlases ever made.
It includes 'Nova et accvratissima totius terrarvm orbis tabvla', which means 'New and most accurate map of the whole world'. This represents available geographic knowledge of the world in 1662, when publishing of the Blaeu volumes began.
The Atlas Maior was the most expensive book available in the mid-17th century, with a single volume taking over seven man-years just to set the type. Published between 1662 and 1665, it contains 594 maps and 3,368 pages of texts.
Bartholomew's experimental projections
'Double polar projection', Experimental projections 1912-1944, Bartholomew Archive.
Although many methods of mapping the world were developed throughout the history of mapmaking, the first half of the 20th century saw further experimentation.
Bartholomew's 'Double polar projection', from the Bartholomew Archive, shows the world from the perspective of the North and South Poles.
The advent of commercial air transport led to the need for new styles and more accurate projections. This experimental projection offers a new perspective for air travel — showing possibilities for shorter routes over the poles.
Maps of the world were on show in 'You are Here', our exhibition on maps, which ran at the National Library from 22 July 2016 to 17 April 2017.