“Babylonian maps existed on clay tablets at least 5000 years ago. They were works of art and a rich concentration of information. By 150 BCE Ptolemy’s Geographica featured maps with latitude and longitude lines. In medieval Christian Europe mapmaking progressed little. In the Islamic world, the opposite was true – the Arab scholar, Al-Idrisi produced beautiful world maps. Some were published in his book entitled The Amusement of Him Who Desires to Traverse the Earth.
From 1440, Gutenberg’s printing press meant maps were no longer the preserve of the elite. Europeans were by then reaching the Orient and eventually the Americans. This knowledge-driven period in history gave rise to the establishment of the Royal Society of London, the parent of the Royal Society of Tasmania.
In the 21st century, satellite technology provides vast amounts of data and precision for the science of mapmaking. Welcome to this collection of rare and beautiful maps from The Royal Society of Tasmania.”