The Vandermaelen Globe (1827) – Virtually Created!

Philippe Vandermaelen (1795-1869) created a six-volume Atlas Universel, published in Brussels in 1827. The atlas is well-known for its unique design in which every sheet is at the same scale. (Most atlases alter the scale of every sheet to fit the content to the page size.) Moreover, Vandermaelen constructed the sheets as a portion of a single projection, so that they could theoretically be pasted onto a large sphere to make a terrestrial globe. In practice, however, no one is known to have actually done this: the sphere would have to be almost 25 feet (7.75m) in diameter. Also, Vandermaelen did not waste paper on empty sheets covering the oceans, so they would have to be filled in on an actual globe.

Enter the wonders of digital technology: Princeton University's Historic Map Collection, curated by John Delaney, has worked with the university library's Digital Studio not only to digitize its recently acquired Vandermaelen atlas, but also to construct a virtual globe. The digital construct has been turned into a video for public consumption! (It requires QuickTime, at least to run on my Mac.)

Check it out -- it's very cool.


h/t Mary Pedley.