Images explain better than text- and most of us will agree.
You may not like it if someone gives you long written pages to read and learn about historically important places and events. However, if a similar piece of information is turned into a pictorial representation, it will be a game changer.
Subsequently, historians, researchers, and even regular people all love pictorial maps or cartography. They find it easier to read than the boring letters scribbled on old papers.
Whether you want to learn more about history, assess the transition of the old world into the modern world, or explore an area for construction or tourism, an old map with detailed pictures will be your best aid.
Use them as an eloquent wall hanging or to explore your city- pictorial maps make navigation easier.
The best part is that you do not have to skip over the past’s black-and-white maps. Instead, we live in digital times, where the same maps are turned into aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-read graphics.
Even if you are a history geek or not, pictorial maps can still be useful in many ways.
History of Pictorial Maps
According to many ancient artifacts, it is evident that cartography has existed since the recorded events of history began. From Medieval times to the European Renaissance era, illustrating the details and context of bird’s-eye-view landscapes has flourished.
For instance, when Venice started to emerge as a trade center, the local people or commissioned cartographers began to develop and draw overviews of their cities or towns to help the merchants by organizing trade fairs.
Self-consciously nonscientific and utterly whimsical pictorial cartography gained immense popularity in the 20th century. Compared to the government survey created on scientific accuracy, these graphical representations simultaneously drew legends, atmospheres, and myths to make places and events unique.
Back then, mapmakers rewarded viewers’ scrutiny of details with hidden gems and jokes.
As the world advanced, graphical cartography became one of the first forms of commercial advertising. And with time, pictorial maps have only become better and more beautiful. Moreover, they have become progressively accurate for study and navigation needs. To enhance the information and aesthetics, cartographers often sprinkle maps with an artistic drawings of trees to represent forests, mounds to portray mountains, and even sailing ships to depict the direction of trade winds.
Moreover, these maps include past references and events. Boats, submarines, airplanes, and other modes of transportation, manufactured goods, and even local agricultural products frequently appear in pictorial cartography.
The humorous, playfully colorful, or whimsical touch sets these maps apart from the other types. The best part is that a pictorial map contains text that explains and elaborates the illustrations to help the reader understand what is happening.
As of today, when we are living in the most technologically advanced era, humankind has witnessed the essence of pictorial maps gradually disappearing in the wake of scientifically accurate cartography.
Nevertheless, revoking the past with pictorial maps to enliven the present is not something unusual- not even today. Pictorial maps are widely used even today as a guide for tourists, to teach history at school, as a blueprint for commercial purposes to map out the nearby amenities and facilities, and may other purposes.
We understand you have your Google Guru to find and navigate any place on the Earth just in a few clicks. Still, pictorial cartography can come in handy on several occasions.
Did You Say Pictorial?
A pictorial map or cartography gives you a panoramic or bird’s eye view of a city or country’s resources, topography, weather, or population.
The images or symbols make it easy to analyze historical events, measurements, landforms, and important buildings, in any area, anywhere in the world.
The people responsible for creating maps are the cartographers, or as you may call them, mapmakers. They capture the 3-D perspective of a place, enlivening the map with beautiful illustrations of buildings, landscapes, people, and sometimes even animals.
Pictorial cartography can cover many topics, such as legendary figures, historical events like battles and sieges, an entire continent, unique landmarks, or just a present-day university campus. So yes, it serves many purposes.
The tradition of creating diverse art that defines the centuries-old culture, traditions, and historical events has existed since the world came into being. Today, we can find hundreds and thousands of years old cartography as treasured art pieces in museums, as a part of school books, or even on restaurant placemats. Moreover, we can easily find new and old maps online. The Internet is flooded with them.
Normal physical or topographic maps focus on the accuracy and details of landforms and distances. However, the pictorial maps add a touch of varying scales (and colors) to the image to allow the viewer to experience a sense of familiarity. In addition, cartographers use varying colors and shades to depict events, populations, and weather.
Pictorial cartography leverages the artistic experience. It is attractive, accurate, and highly informative.
The thing is, why would you need a pictorial map?
Many reasons can make you dependent on cartography, even for everyday use.
Time-travel to the past:
It is often necessary to dig into the past to make a better future for the world. How do you know where and when World War 1 happened?
The events occurred centuries before you were born, yet you know every detail about them only because old maps and historical resources exist.
If it were not for the cartographers, historians, and researchers, we would have long lost the track of historical events along with geographic evolution. From studying the long-extinct fossils of dinosaurs to helping people understand how the past events shaped the present- a pictorial map is everything a history-lover or researcher needs.
Make you are present more realistic:
Old maps allow us to relate our present to historical events. It allows us to understand the sacrifices of our ancestors or our cultural values.
Most people try to find meaning in their lives, and learning about the past can help them. A map allows you to assess how the world has transformed into the modern buildings, trade centers, routes, and countries you see today. To appreciate that it was not always like this.
Learn topography for any place like a pro:
If you are a wanderer and love hiking or going to places, then a topographic map with a pictorial representation will help you own that place. If you want to climb 100 feet on a mountain- get yourself a map. If you want to explore a city- get yourself a map. You want to construct a house- get yourself.
The map will help you learn about all the distances, amenities, and important places to assist you wherever you go.
Just for the sake of collecting vintage pieces:
Even if you are no history-geek but love art, printed and framed historical cartography can make your place look ethereal and classy.
You can get pictorial maps of different eras and hang them as wall pieces- a vintage touch to your dull living room. Moreover, to develop your kid’s interest in history and culture, you can leverage pictorial maps to teach them in a fun way.
They are often a necessity:
Knowingly or unknowingly, we all use maps. For example, you need navigation or weather updates every day. Or maybe you are just a tourist guide in your city, and pictorial maps are your survival kit.
Also, people find it easy to use pictorial cartography to represent populations, cultures, and regions. For example, if Christians dominate a place, color them red.
Jews go for blues; for Hindus and Muslims, it is a different color. So it is easy to point out and analyze the spread of such cultures and religions around the world over the years,
And voila, you pick a pictorial map, and the entire, easy-to-read, and analyzed census is right in front of you.
Whichever the reason, pictorial maps are getting trendy again.
However, there are often certain problems with the old maps- or more with the source of those maps.
Using a hundred-year-old map can be completely worn out, or it cannot be easy to guarantee credibility. Therefore, it is always best to get your maps from an authentic source where you know the cartographer and the map’s condition is excellent.
Old is Gold
Old maps refurbish the past like no other. The historical, pictorial maps allow you to paint a picture just by looking at them. As if a reel of the historical event is playing at the back of your head.
The good part is pictorial cartography is not only for boring research or scientific purposes. You can use them. However, you want. For example, use them as vintage art pieces or a tool to teach your kid about history- one way or another, it connects you to the past.
With so many options available online, you can easily get your hands on pictorial maps that too in mint condition.