"...Chevrolet had a vested interest in glamorizing anything to do with four wheels, including the process that put maps in a supposedly adventurous, car-buying public’s hands. Caught Mapping (1940), like so many of the short, informative films the automotive giant engineered with director Jam Handy and “the cooperation of State Highway Departments,” has all the earmarks of its time..."(link)
Watching this video got me thinking about maps, and the automobile industry, and all the other things which the invention of rubber tires, asphalt roads, Model T Fords, etc. are responsible for. It also caused me to wonder what kind of maps people had before automobiles. Did medieval pilgrims to Rome or Jerusalem have paper (or parchment) maps, or did they follow road signs? Did American pioneers in covered wagons have paper maps? or did they rely on guides who knew the trail? (Read these journal entries from c. 1850's - how relatively recent that is!) As in so many other areas of our lives, did various wars have an impact on the quality of maps? Would we travel so easily today if we didn't have GPS and excellent paper maps?
|Ptolemy's world map, reconstituted from Ptolemy's Geographia(circa 150) in the 15th century, indicating "Sinae" (China) at the extreme right, beyond the island of "Taprobane" (Sri Lanka, oversized) and the "Aurea Chersonesus" (Southeast Asian peninsula).|