Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Mappa Mundi

‘Mappemonde Cordiforme d’Oronce Fine’ (about 1534)

Oronce Fine was one of the rare French geographers in the Renaissance to prepare maps of the world. This map is bordered with a handsome Renaissance decoration: two columns support a pediment bearing a Latin inscription signifying “A new and complete description of the world,” interrupted in the middle by a coat of arms of France. Also to be noted is a vast southern land mass (Terra Australis), recently discovered but not yet explored.

Coming soon: a blog posting on mappae mundi.  (I know, I know, I still owe you guys posts on the evolution of the tenement form in NYC and also antique geography textbooks, as promised.  What can I say.  I am easily distracted.)

Map image courtesy of Fuck Yeah Cartography.  Yeah, you heard me right: Fuck Yeah Cartography.  At (I had nothing to do with naming the site! But the collection of weird maps in their archives is brilliant.)
Some other tangentially-related-to-valentine's-day maps! (but not found on the Fuck Yeah site)
New York City's subway system in a heart! (of dubious accuracy!)
We heart the subways!

I added the Bonne Projection, left, in response to Gretchen's comments below.  Note the superficial similarity with the Orance Fine map on top.

(You had to know that I would work a TEDDY! picture in here somehow!)


  1. I believe that is the Bonne projection which is available in ArcMap:

    More on projections:

  2. Thanks for pointing that out, Gretchen! Yes, it's probably an early varient of the Bonne projection, which officially dates to Rigobert Bonne's 1752 maritime maps, so the Oronce Fine map above predates the Bonne by almost two centuries. But clearly they are very similar projections, and there are even earlier examples of this type of pseudo-conic projection, such as Apian's 1520 world map, which itself is modeled after Ptolemy's 2nd projection (about 100 A.D.), and is roughly the same as that used by Waldseemuller in his famous map of the world (1507). The book "The Fourth Part of the World" is all about the Waldseemuller map. So the Fine map could be called a rudimentary form of the Bonne projection, which produces an equal area map with the parallels being concentric circles.
    The website Radical Cartography has a nice chart of various types of projections and their classifications, origins, creators, and uses, at

  3. that is the best geography-related website name ever!