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How Were Maps Made Before Planes and Satellites?

Blog how were maps before planes and satellites Cartography is the process of making maps, and it has been around since ancient times — from the earliest cave paintings to the more detailed maps of ancient civilizations. Even now, people continue to make and use maps to find their way around the world. But despite the many technological advances of the Modern Age, maps are made in the same way as they were during ancient times — by using different types of survey equipment to triangulate certain positions.

The Map-Making Methods of the Ancient World

Blog how were maps before planes and satellites

Maps of the ancient world were made by using accurate surveying techniques, which measures the positions of various objects by calculating the distance and angles between each point. The surveying tools they used were a series of ropes and chains that were cut to known lengths, and they used physical or magnetic compasses to measure their angles. If they wanted to measure angles between points that were further away from each other, they would use magnifying glasses or small telescopes that were attached to the compass.

The Triangulation Process in Surveying

Triangulation is used to determine the location of a certain point by using the location of other known survey markers or points. With this method, distances, elevations, and directions between objects can be measure even from long distances. From the early days of surveying, triangulation is the primary wat to get the accurate position of objects for making topographical maps of large areas. The first step is to know the horizontal distances between two objects. And from there, you can use survey equipment to measure the height, distance, and angular position of other objects that are visible from one of the original objects. While these techniques have been used for a long time, it wasn’t until the end of the 18th Century that more detailed triangulation methods were used to make maps of entire countries. The Great Trigonometric Survey of India started in 1801. It had a huge scientific impact, because it was one of the first accurate measurements of an entire section within an arc of longitude. It was also the first time they were able to measure the geodesic anomaly. The Piri Reis map was made in 1513 from pieces of military intelligence by Piri Reis, who was an admiral and cartographer from the Ottoman Empire. It was made from a collection of maps that were available at the time. And today, only a third of it is still intact.

Quality Surveying Tools from Engineering Supply!

Blog how were maps before planes and satellites

As a professional, you need to have quality survey equipment. That’s why Engineering Supply sells products from some of the best manufacturers in the industry. We have a broad selection of surveying tools — from theodolites and total stations to grade rods and survey markers. Feel free to look at what we have in our inventory. We’re sure you’ll be able to find a product that will meet your specific needs.

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