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Antarctica, the continent surrounding the Earth's South Pole, is the coldest place on earth and is almost entirely covered by ice. Antarctica was discovered in late January 1820. Too cold and dry to support virtually any vascular plants, Antartica's flora presently consists of around 250 lichens, 100 mosses, 25-30 liverworts, and around 700 terrestrial and aquatic algal species.
A satellite image of the Sahara, the world's largest hot desert and second largest desert after Antarctica at over 9,000,000 km² (3,500,000 mi²), almost as large as the United States. The Sahara is located in Northern Africa and is 2.5 million years old.
The world's largest compass rose, drawn on the desert floor at Edwards Air Force Base in California, United States. Painted on the dry lake near Dryden Flight Research Center, it is inclined to magnetic north and is used by pilots for calibrating heading indicators.
An 18th century map of the Iberian Peninsula illustrating various topographic features of the land. The Iberian Peninsula, or Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe, and includes modern day Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Andorra.
A pre- Mercator nautical chart of West Africa from 1571, by Portuguese cartographer Fernão Vaz Dourado. It is done using the so-called "plane chart model", where observed latitudes and magnetic directions were plotted directly into the plane, with a constant scale, as if the Earth were flat.
Illustration of the Ptolemaic geocentric model of the Universe (the theory that the Earth is the center of the universe) by Portuguese cosmographer and cartographer Bartolomeu Velho. Taken from his treatise Cosmographia, made in Paris, 1568. Notice the distances of the bodies to the centre of the Earth (left) and the times of revolution, in years (right).
The north face of Mount Everest, as seen from Tibet. Everest is the highest mountain on Earth, as measured by the height of its summit above sea level, which is 8,848 metres (29,029 ft). In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society upon recommendation of Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India at the time.
The Waldseemüller map is a map drawn by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller originally published in April 1507. It was one of the first maps to chart latitude and longitude precisely, the first map to use the name " America", and the first to depict the Americas as separate from Asia.
A general map, showing the geography of Germany, the seventh largest country in Europe and the second most populous. Located in Central Europe, Germany is second only to Russia in the number of borders it shares with other European countries (9).
A satellite image of the Scandinavian Peninsula in winter. The peninsula, approximately 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) long with a width varying between approximately 370–805 km (230–500 mi), making it the largest in Europe, is located in the northern part of the continent and consists of Norway, Sweden and part of Finland. Much of the population is concentrated in the southern part of the peninsula; Stockholm and Gothenburg, both in Sweden, and Oslo in Norway are the largest cities.
A c. 1650 map showing the Island of California, a long-held European misconception, dating from the 16th century, that California was not part of mainland North America but rather a large island separated from the continent by a strait now known instead as the Gulf of California. The belief persisted until the expeditions of Juan Bautista de Anza in 1774–76.
A satellite photo of Great Britain and part of Ireland showing the extent of snow cover during the winter of 2009–2010, the coldest in Europe since 1981–82. Starting on 16 December 2009 a persistent weather pattern brought cold moist air from the north with systems undergoing cyclogenesis from North American storms moving across the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and saw many parts of Europe experiencing heavy snowfall and record low temperatures.
The geography of Australia, the world's smallest continent, encompasses a wide variety of biogeographic regions. By surface area, it is the sixth-largest country in the world, but as can be seen in this composite satellite image, much of the interior is arid desert. The vast majority of the human population is concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts, and it is the fiftieth most populous nation.
An animation showing the unfolding of a Dymaxion map, a projection of a world map onto the surface of a polyhedron (in this case, an icosahedron) and then flattened to form a two-dimensional map which retains most of the relative proportional integrity of the globe map. This type of map was invented by Buckminster Fuller and is one of several of his inventions to use the name Dymaxion.
An isothermal map of the world, based on the research of Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist whose work laid the foundation for the sciences of physical geography and meteorology, among other things. By delineating "isothermal lines", he simultaneously suggested the idea and devised the means of comparing the climatic conditions of various countries.
A portolan chart from 1492, the oldest known signed and dated chart of Portuguese origin. Cartography technologies greatly advanced during the Age of Discovery. Iberian mapmakers in particular focused on practical charts to use as navigational aids. Unlike Spanish maps which were regarded as state secrets, Portuguese ones were used by other countries, and Portuguese cartographers drew upon the skill and knowledge of other cultures as well.
A composite satellite image of the continent of North America in orthographic projection. North America occupies the northern portion of the landmass generally known as the Americas, with its southern border at the Darién watershed along the Colombia– Panama border. The vast majority of North America rests on the North American Plate, while small parts of California and western Mexico rest on the Pacific Plate; Central America and the Caribbean islands rest on the Caribbean Plate.
The Mitchell Map is the most comprehensive map of eastern North America made during the colonial era. Measuring about 6.5 ft (2.0 m) wide by 4.5 ft (1.4 m) high, it was produced by John Mitchell in 1757 in eight separate sheets. The map was used during the Treaty of Paris for defining the boundaries of the United States, and remains important today for resolving border disputes.
A composite relief satellite image of South America, the fourth-largest continent. South America occupies the southern portion of the landmass in the Western Hemisphere. The continent is generally delimited on the northwest by the Darién watershed along the Colombia– Panama border. Almost all of mainland South America sits on the South American Plate, as do nearby outlying islands.
A composite satellite image of the geography of Africa, the Earth's second-largest continent, and its adjacent islands. Separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea and from much of Asia by the Red Sea, Africa is joined to Asia at its northeast extremity by the Isthmus of Suez. For geopolitical purposes, the Sinai Peninsula – east of the Suez Canal – is often considered part of Africa, although geographically it belongs in Asia. Africa can be divided into a number of geographic zones: The Atlas Mountains in the north, the Sahara, the coastal plains, and the inner plateaus.
A map showing the geography of Florida, a state in the United States. Situated on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida, Florida has an extensive coastline. Its highest point, Britton Hill, is the lowest highpoint of any U.S. state. Florida is home to over 19 million people, living in 410 municipalities.
A world map entitled Nova totius terrarum orbis tabula Amstelodami, created in 1689 by Gerard van Schagen. This map, created in Amsterdam, measures 48.3 by 56.0 centimetres (19.0 by 22.0 in) in size and was made using copper engraving.
Cathedral Peak Granodiorite
Rest of the Tuolumne Intrusive Suite
The Hammer retroazimuthal projection is a modified azimuthal proposed by Ernst Hermann Heinrich Hammer in 1910. As a retroazimuthal projection, azimuths (directions) are correct from any point to the designated center point. In whole-world presentation, the back and front hemispheres overlap, making the projection a surjective function. Here, the frontside and backside hemispheres, both with a 15° graticule and center point of 45°N, 90°W, are presented side-by-side.
A two-point equidistant projection of Eurasia. All distances of other points from the two points marked in red (45°N 40°E and 30°N 110°E) are correct. This map is a derivative of NASA's Blue Marble summer month composite, with oceans lightened to enhance legibility and contrast.
A map of the world using the Natural Earth projection, a pseudocylindrical projection which is neither conformal nor equal-area. The projection was designed by Tom Patterson, an American cartographer with the National Park Service who has developed several open-source tools and base maps for cartographers. This map is a derivative of NASA's Blue Marble summer month composite, with oceans lightened to enhance legibility and contrast.
The Winkel tripel projection is a modified azimuthal map projection proposed by Oswald Winkel in 1921. The arithmetic mean of the equirectangular projection and the Aitoff projection, it was intended as a compromise between minimizing three kinds of distortion: area, direction and distance. The imagery used for the map is derived from NASA's Blue Marble summer months composite, with oceans lightened to enhance legibility and contrast.
The Albers projection is a conic, equal area map projection, named after Heinrich C. Albers, that uses two standard parallels. Although scale and shape are not preserved, distortion is minimal between the standard parallels. This map is used by such agencies as the United States Geological Survey, the United States Census Bureau, and the governments of British Columbia and Yukon.
The Tobler hyperelliptical projection is a family of equal-area pseudocylindrical map projections first described by Waldo R. Tobler in 1973. The imagery used for the map is derived from NASA's Blue Marble summer months composite, with oceans lightened to enhance legibility and contrast.
The sinusoidal projection is a pseudocylindrical equal-area map projection. Used as early as the 16th century, this projection shows distances accurately along the central meridian and the equator; areas furthest from these lines are the most distorted.
A detailed eighteenth-century map of Scandinavia by J. B. Homann, depicting Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Baltic states of Livonia, Latvia and Curlandia. The map notes fortified cities, villages, roads, bridges, forests, castles and topography. The elaborate title cartouche in the upper left quadrant features angels supporting a title curtain and a medallion supporting an alternative title in French, "Les Trois Covronnes du Nord". Born in 1664, Homann became an engraver and cartographer in the late 17th century, and opened his own publishing house in 1702. In 1715 Emperor Charles VI appointed him Imperial Geographer of the Holy Roman Empire. Homann held the position until his death in 1724.
A map of the Olmec heartland, the southern portion of Mexico's Gulf Coast region between the Tuxtla mountains and the Olmec archaeological site of La Venta. It is considered the heartland of the Olmec culture, which was widespread over Mesoamerica from 1400 BCE until roughly 400 BCE. On this map, yellow dots represent ancient habitation sites, including San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes. Red dots represent isolated artifact finds unassociated with any ancient town or village, such as the Las Limas Monument 1, the San Martín Pajapan Monument 1, and " The Wrestler".
The Aitoff projection is a modified azimuthal map projection first proposed by David A. Aitoff in 1889. Based on the equatorial form of the azimuthal equidistant projection, Aitoff halved longitudes from the central meridian, projected by the azimuthal equidistant, and then stretched the result horizontally into a 2:1 ellipse.
The Hobo–Dyer projection is a cylindrical equal-area projection commissioned in 2002 by Bob Abramms and Howard Bronstein. This projection was drafted by cartographer Mick Dyer, who based it on the 1910 Behrmann projection.
The Kavrayskiy VII projection is a map projection invented by Vladimir V. Kavrayskiy in 1939 as a general purpose pseudocylindrical projection. It produces maps with low overall distortion, despite its straight, evenly-spaced parallels and a simple formulation.
A map of Vatican City ( ), highlighting notable buildings and the Vatican Gardens. The world's smallest independent state and the episcopal see of the Pope, Vatican City is entirely surrounded by the Italian city of Rome. As such, its geography is primarily urban and its climate similar to Italy's.
The Craig retroazimuthal is a modified cylindrical map projection created by James Ireland Craig in 1909. It preserves the direction from any place to one other, predetermined place while avoiding some of the distortion of the Hammer retroazimuthal projection. This projection is sometimes known as the Mecca projection because Craig, who had worked in Egypt as a cartographer, created it to help Muslims find the qibla.
A gnomonic projection of a portion of the northern hemisphere, centered on the geographic North Pole. Such projections display all great circles as straight lines, resulting in any line segment on a gnomonic map showing the shortest route between the segment's two endpoints.
The Chamberlin trimetric projection is a map projection where three points are fixed on the globe and the points on the sphere are mapped onto a plane by triangulation. It was developed in 1946 by Wellman Chamberlin for the National Geographic Society. It is neither conformal nor equal-area, but rather attempts to minimize distortion of distances everywhere with the side-effect of balancing between areal equivalence and conformality.
The Eckert II projection is an equal-area pseudocylindrical map projection presented by Max Eckert-Greifendorff in 1906. In the equatorial aspect (where the equator is shown as the horizontal axis) the network of longitude and latitude lines consists solely of straight lines, and the outer boundary has the distinctive shape of an elongated hexagon.
The General Perspective projection is a map projection used in cartography in which the Earth is depicted as viewed from a finite distance above its surface. If the view precisely faces the center of the Earth, the projection is a vertical perspective projection; otherwise, it is a tilted perspective projection. Here is shown a vertical perspective from an altitude of 35,786 km over (0°, 90°W), corresponding to a view from geostationary orbit. Due to the horizon as seen from the viewpoint position, the projection always shows less than half of the Earth's surface: in this case neither of the North and South Poles is visible.
The Gall–Peters projection, named after James Gall and Arno Peters, is a specialization of a configurable equal-area map projection known as the cylindrical equal-area projection. It achieved considerable notoriety in the late 20th century as the centerpiece of a controversy surrounding the political implications of map design; Peters promoted it as a more faithful representation than the Mercator projection, which inflates the sizes of regions farther from the equator and thus makes the (mostly technologically underdeveloped) equatorial countries appear smaller and therefore, according to Peters, less significant.
The van der Grinten projection is a compromise map projection that is neither equal-area nor conformal. It projects the entire Earth into a circle, though the polar regions are subject to extreme distortion. The projection was the first of four proposed by Alphons J. van der Grinten in 1904, and, unlike perspective projections, is an arbitrary geometric construction on the plane. It was adopted as the National Geographic Society's reference map of the world from 1922 until 1988.
The Peirce quincuncial projection is a conformal map projection developed by Charles Sanders Peirce in 1879, while he was working at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. In the normal aspect Peirce's projection presents the Northern Hemisphere in a square; the Southern Hemisphere is split into four 90°–45°–45° triangles surrounding it so that the whole map forms a larger square.
Americae Sive Quartae Orbis Partis Nova Et Exactissima Descriptio is an ornate geographical map of the Americas made in 1562 by Spanish cartographer Diego Gutiérrez and Flemish artist Hieronymus Cock. The map encompasses the eastern coast of North America, the whole of Central and South America, and parts of the western coasts of Europe and Africa. This is the earliest scale wall map of the New World and the first to use the name "California". Two extant copies are known.
Daedongyeojido is a large scale map of Korea produced by Chosun Dynasty cartographer and geologist Kim Jeong-ho in 1861. Considered to mark the zenith of pre-modern Korean cartography, the map consists of 22 separate, foldable booklets, each covering approximately 47 kilometres (29 mi) (north-south) by 31.5 kilometres (19.6 mi) (east-west). Combined, they form a map of Korea that is 6.7 metres (22 ft) wide and 3.8 metres (12 ft) long. Daedongyeojido is praised for precise delineations of mountain ridges, waterways, and transportation routes, as well as its markings for settlements, administrative areas, and cultural sites.
The azimuthal equidistant projection is an azimuthal map projection in which all points on the map are both proportionately correct distances from the center point and at the correct azimuth (direction) from the center point. Distances and directions to all places, however, are true only from the center point of projection. This projection has been used for the flag of the United Nations, for the USGS National Atlas of the United States of America, and for large-scale mapping of Micronesia, among others.
The equirectangular projection is a simple map projection attributed to Marinus of Tyre, who Ptolemy claims invented the projection about AD 100. The projection maps meridians to vertical straight lines of constant spacing, and circles of latitude to horizontal straight lines of constant spacing. The projection is neither equal area nor conformal. Because of the distortions introduced by this projection, it has few applications beyond base imagery to be reprojected to some more useful projection.
The Lambert conformal conic projection is a conic map projection used for aeronautical charts, portions of the State Plane Coordinate System, and many national and regional mapping systems. It is one of seven projections introduced by Johann Heinrich Lambert in 1772. Conceptually, the projection seats a cone over the sphere of the Earth and projects the surface conformally onto the cone. The cone is unrolled, and the parallel that was touching the sphere is assigned unit scale. By scaling the resulting map, two parallels can be assigned unit scale, with scale decreasing between them and increasing outside them. Unlike other conic projections, no true secant form of this projection exists.
The Mercator projection is a cylindrical map projection presented by the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569. Because it represents paths of constant course as straight lines, it long served as the standard map projection for nautical purposes. However, it distorts the size of objects as the latitude increases: thus areas in the mid-latitudes appear significantly larger than their actual size relative to those the equator, and those near the poles are even more exaggerated. Most modern atlases no longer use the Mercator projection for world maps or for areas distant from the equator, preferring other cylindrical projections, or forms of equal-area projection.
The Robinson projection is a map projection of a world map which shows the entire world at once. It was devised by Arthur H. Robinson in 1963 in response to an appeal from the Rand McNally company for a good compromise to the problem of readily showing the whole globe as a flat image. The company has used the projection since that time, and the National Geographic Society used the Robinson from 1988 to 1998.
The Mollweide projection is an equal-area, pseudocylindrical map projection generally used for global maps of the world or night sky. The projection was first published by mathematician and astronomer Karl Mollweide of Leipzig in 1805 but reinvented and popularized in 1857 by Jacques Babinet. The projection trades accuracy of angle and shape for accuracy of proportions in area, and as such is used where that property is needed, such as maps depicting global distributions.
Fanny Bullock Workman (1859–1925) was an American geographer, cartographer, explorer, travel writer, and mountaineer. Together with her husband, William Hunter Workman, she traveled by bicycle through Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Algeria and India; after taking up climbing in the Himalayas, she set a women's altitude record on Pinnacle Peak, reaching 23,000 feet (7,000 m). She published eight travel books, with particular focus on the lives of women in the countries she visited, and championed women's rights and women's suffrage.
The Catalan Atlas is a medieval map in the Catalan language, created in 1375. Described as "the zenith of medieval map-work", it is the earliest known chart to use a compass rose. It was produced by the Majorcan cartographic school and is attributed to Abraham Cresques, a Jewish book illuminator described by a contemporary as a master of mappae mundi. It has been in the royal library of France (now the Bibliothèque nationale de France) since the time of King Charles V. The atlas originally consisted of six vellum leaves, each about 64.5 by 50 cm (25.4 by 19.7 in), folded vertically and painted in various colours including gold and silver. This picture is a montage of eight pages (four leaves) of the atlas, depicting Europe, northern Africa and Asia.
North Cascades National Park is an American national park in the state of Washington. At more than 500,000 acres (200,000 ha), North Cascades National Park is the largest of the three National Park Service units that comprise the North Cascades National Park Complex. North Cascades National Park consists of a northern and southern section, bisected by the Skagit River that flows through Ross Lake National Recreation Area. Lake Chelan National Recreation Area lies on the southern border of the south unit of the park. In addition to the two national recreation areas, other protected lands including several national forests and wilderness areas, as well as Canadian provincial parks in British Columbia, nearly surround the park. North Cascades National Park features the rugged mountain peaks of the North Cascades Range, the most expansive glacial system in the contiguous United States, the headwaters of numerous waterways, and vast forests with the highest degree of flora biodiversity of any American national park. This picture is a panoramic map of North Cascades National Park, as viewed from the east, created in 1987 by Austrian painter and cartographer Heinrich C. Berann for the National Park Service.
A compass rose, sometimes called a windrose or rose of the winds, is a figure on a compass, map, nautical chart, or monument used to display the orientation of the cardinal directions (north, east, south, and west) and their intermediate points. It is also the term for the graduated markings found on the traditional magnetic compass. Today, a form of compass rose is found on, or featured in, almost all navigation systems, including nautical charts, non-directional beacons, VHF omnidirectional range systems, GPS, and similar equipment. This picture is an illustration of a compass rose, copied from a 1492 portolan chart by Portuguese navigator and cartographer Jorge de Aguiar, now in the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located mostly in Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially the Old Faithful geyser, one of its most popular landmarks. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is the most abundant. The park is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion. In 1978, Yellowstone was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This picture is a stylized panoramic map of Yellowstone National Park as viewed from the northeast, created in 1991 by Austrian painter and cartographer Heinrich C. Berann for the National Park Service. Yellowstone Lake and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone are in the center, while Old Faithful is visible on the right, next to a brown building representing the Old Faithful Inn. Jackson Lake and the peaks of the Teton Range are depicted in the background.
The Robinson projection is a projection of a world map showing the entire Earth at once. It was specifically created in an attempt to find a good compromise to the problem of showing the whole globe as a single flat image. The projection was devised by Arthur H. Robinson in 1963; distortion is severe close to the poles, but quickly declines to moderate levels as latitudes decrease. This Robinson-projection map, with standard parallels of 38°N and 38°S, was produced by the United States Central Intelligence Agency and shows the world as of February 2016.