Monday, August 27, 2018

Monday's Mappa Mundi

Henricus Martellus Germanus was a German geographer and cartographer who lived and worked in Florence from 1480 to 1496. In around 1490 Martellus created a world map. The Martellus world map is said to have been an inspiration for the Waldseemüller map of 1507.

The only surviving copy of the Martellus Map was found in the 1960's and donated to Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Unfortunately the map is extremely faded, which makes a lot of the map's text illegible. This is why the Lazarus Project at the University of Rochester has been examining the map using multispectral imaging.

Multispectral Imaging is used to capture digital images of manuscripts, maps and texts which can then be digitally processed to help recover faded or damaged text and images. You can view the success of the Lazarus Project's work on this before & after interactive Martellus Map. This Leaflet map allows you to directly compare the digitally restored map with the original faded Martellus Map.

The Lazarus Project's before & after interactive was created on Leaflet.js using Jack Reed's Leaflet-IIIF plug-in. This is the same plug-in which I used to create my Mappae Mundi collection of historical world maps. You can view the Waldseemüller map of 1507 on Mappae Mundi by clicking on the 1507 button. If you compare the Waldseemüller map to the earlier Martellus map you can see the influence that Martellus had on Waldseemüller.

Of course a few years after Martellus created his world map Christopher Columbus stumbled upon the Americas. That western land mass is therefore missing from the Martellus Map but is famously included on Waldseemüller's 1507 map of the world (the first world map to include the word 'America').

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