View Full Version : Maps of the Early Age

02-28-2012, 03:58 PM
For those of us who use map-making as a story-writing tool, the subject has made me wonder about map-making in general. How maps came about; that sort of thing.

In my personal research, I see no definitive answer for a simple question; how old is the oldest map on earth? After all, someone had to draw a conclusion that the world had very easy descriptions and therefore, instead of drawing animals, he started drawing the landscape that they exist. Of course, measuring tools took a lot of prototyping but at least, they were able to show a map of the world they lived in to the best of their abilities.

Using this knowledge, . . .
I have recently undergone a personal project about just that. A story series in which modern man and several created races are placed onto a brand new world without firearms and modern technology. While the other races exhibited early Dark Age tech, the humans try to be Industrial Age but failing miserably and therefore, continuing to downgrade to the same level as the other races.

As an opinion thread, if you were placed on this brand new world with your current knowledge base, how would you map your region you landed in?

02-28-2012, 09:11 PM
On a napkin with a sharpie !! :-)My personal opinion original maps were very simplistic. Point A to Point B where the food is. Point C where the danger is ! Survival first then art. If you survive easily the more free time : More free time then more culture(art, music, elaborate maps ). By elaborate I mean having artistic value that is unnecessary to actually convey information !

02-28-2012, 11:03 PM
Modern style overland maps require precise surveying, which requires precise instruments, which require precision machining. It also requires a lot of work, so you need the resources available and a justification for surveying everything you intend to map.

Marine maps likewise require precise instrumentation. The most basic level of navigation technology needed for anything more than a visual list of coastal features is dead rekoning and requires a compass to measure direction and ship log to measure speed. This is not very accurate and although the basic principle of a compass is simple, building a GOOD one is much more complicated. To measure latitude requires an inclinometer of some sort, like an Astrolabe or Sextant, which again is a simple concept which is difficult to do well and will require the same sort of precise machining as for surveying. Measuring longitude requires a marine chronometer, which is an early Industrial age development.

If people made it through with say, modern wristwatches, that would be a MASSIVE change in terms of navigation, at least for as long as the watches lasted. Developing a precise marine chronometer first may have played a part in British naval dominance so this is a BIG issue.

03-03-2012, 02:22 PM
The first map was drawn in the earth with a stick or a rock or a finger.

Stripped of all his gadgetry, modern man is, generally speaking, not ready to handle the world. You'd want not scientists or engineers so much as SCAers, special forces, or Amish. People with some substantial skills in lower tech areas. Because you can't build a modern technology without building the scaffolding of prior developments first. You need to build the tools to build the tools to build the tools to build the tools (with at least a few more iterations in there).

The main advantage would be modern germ theory. Boiled drinking water, good hygiene, proper disposal of wastes, etc. can go a long way, even in the absence of vaccines or pharmaceuticals.