Today’s Obsession: Cartography and Photography

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London, 2011 and 1572.

My, how our perception of the world has changed in a few short centuries—a heartbeat in the universe’s chronology.

The Atlantic has an intriguing slideshow comparing differences between cartographic representations of major cities in the 16th century, and modern Google Maps views. In many cases, the difference in underlying geography are striking: london’s Thames river actually bends in a totally different way from what was initially mapped, Istanbul’s peninsula is very different in shape, and Milan’s nowhere near as round at its core as older maps portray.

The expansion of the notion of a city is breathtaking as well: Paris of the 1500s was a tiny town in comparison to what we think of today, and Prague, formerly a little hilltop town is now a sprawling city spreading over valleys and hills.