有史以来最牛逼的制图学家

Esri Mapping Center有一个栏目叫做Featured Cartographer,会随机播放一些制图学家的卡通肖像(我是看肖像去的。。)和生平,现在有17位。我把内容抓下来看了看,认识的几位和先前所知的基本相符,不认识的几位通过这个栏目也大致了解了。我觉得称他们为“有史以来最牛逼的制图学家”再恰当不过了!

我按时间顺序(出生日期)重新组织了一下,贴在下边。原先想翻译一下,但发现其实没必要,熟悉的地方一看就懂,生疏的内容还得查资料,就偷下懒吧。当然,如果哪位同学有时间,可以做一下这个事情,为中文GIS圈子贡献一点力量哈。

我先介绍一点我自己的认识,不深入,特别是对刚认识的那几位:

1.Anaximander,第一个绘制世界地图的人,祖师爷!维基中他的介绍比较全面,也有他画的地图。

2.Eratosthenes,Geography说法的提出者,最早计算了地球直径。

3.Ptolemy,写过三本很牛逼的书:《天文学大全》、《地理学指南》和《占星四书》,地心说就是他提出的。

4.Gemma-Frisius,他首次提出了三角测量、时差测经度等概念,他还是Mercator的老师!

5.Gerardus Mercator,Mercator应该人尽皆知了,Mercator投影和Atlas(地图集)是他的代表作,今年也是他诞辰500周年。Mercator投影我还研究过一点

6.Abraham_Ortelius,贵族出身,Mercator的好基友。第一部真正意义上的地图集是他出版的,叫Theatrum Orbis Terrarum,世界概貌。

7.8.9.11.12.Cassini Family,祖孙四代都是天文学家!Cassini V因为一些原因没有走家族路线,成为了一名植物学家(为什么他也算Featured Cartographer?)。他们家主要成就在天文和测绘上,比如测绘法国地图。

10.Johann Heinrich Lambert,Lambert发明了若干投影,比如:Lambert conformal conicTransverse MercatorLambert azimuthal equal area,Lambert也是第一个证明pi是无理数的!

13.Eduard Imhof,发明了晕渲图(relief shading、hillshade)。

14.Arthur H. RobinsonRobinson投影的发明者,这种投影广泛用于世界地图中。

15.Jacques Bertin,信息可视化(Information Visualization)理论奠基人!

16.George F. JenksNatural Breaks数据分类发明人,ArcGIS的默认分类法。二战后美国制图课程的设计人,堪萨斯大学教授,桃李满天下。

17.John Snyder,可能是当代最著名的地图投影学家了,发明了Space Oblique Mercator投影。他还是杨启和教授《地图投影变换原理与方法》的英文版译者,我在坐标转换一文中有所介绍。

从历史来看,早期的制图学在古希腊,一直延续到文艺复兴和地理大发现时代,期间,以Mercator以及Cassini家族位中心的欧洲开始繁荣,现代当然主要是美国人的天下了。一般来说,科学技术的发展大抵都这样吧,cartography当然不能免俗了~

以下来自Mapping Center:

1.Anaximander

(c.610 BC-c.546 BC) Anaximander is said to have made the first map of the world. It was circular in form and was centered on the Aegean Sea (the Mediterranean Sea between the mainland of Greece and Turkey), and the ocean was shown along the outer edge of the circle. The northern half was called “Europe” and the southern half was “Asia”.  Two small strips of land to the north and south of the Mediterranean Sea  represented the habitable world. The lands to the north of the habitable world were the cold countries where mythical people lived and the lands south were considered the hot countries where the burnt people lived.

Anaximander was a Greek philosopher who lived in Miletus where he belonged to the Milesian school. After studying under his master Thales, he succeeded him as the second master of the school – Pythagoras was one of his pupils. Because of Anaximander’s belief that physical rather than supernatural forces order the universe, he is considered by some to be the first true scientist. He is known to have conducted the earliest recorded scientific experiment, and he is the first philosopher known to have written down his studies. Like many thinkers of his time, he contributed to many disciplines, including to philosophy, astronomy, physics, geometry, politics, and, of course, geography.

2.Eratosthenes

(276 BC-194 BC) was a Greek mathematician, poet, athlete, geographer and astronomer. Around 250 BC, while head of the Alexandria Library and Museum, he made the first scientifically-based estimate of the earth’s circumference. Eratosthenes heard of a deep well at Syene, about 500 miles south of Alexandria, Egypt. The bottom of the well was illuminated by the sun only on the summer solstice (June 21), so he concluded that the sun must be directly overhead on that day. If the sun’s rays were parallel and the earth was spherical, the angle of the shadow cast from a vertical column in Alexandria on the same day could be used to calculate earth’s circumference, if the north-south distance to Syene were known. On the next summer solstice Eratosthenes found the shadow angle from an obelisk in Alexandria to be 7°12′ (1/50th of a circle), so he concluded that the distance between Alexandria and Syene is 1/50th of the earth’s circumference. He was told that Syene was about 5,000 stadia (200 to 210 modern yards) south of Alexandria, so he computed the earth’s circum- ference as 50×5,000 stadia, or 28,400 to 29,800 modern miles, just a little greater than the current value of 24,874 statute miles.

3.Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy)

(c. 85-c. 165) Claudius Ptolemaeus (known in English as “Ptolemy”) “Geographia” recorded classical Greek geographic knowledge in the second century A.D. and was the chief source for cartographic publications in the early Renaissance era. It remained the cartographic convention until; Ortelius’s “Theatrum” was published in the 1500′s. Ptolemy’s compiled what was known about the world’s geography in the Roman Empire during his time into “Geographia”. He relied a bit on the work of an earlier geographer, Marinos of Tyre, and on gazetteers of the Roman and ancient Persian Empire, but most of his sources beyond the perimeter of the Empire were unreliable.

Ptolemy was the also the author of other scientific treatises; “Geographia” is one of three that were of continuing importance to later Islamic and European science. The first was an astronomical treatise now known as “The Great Treatise”, originally “Mathematical Treatise”). The second was “Geographia”. The third was an astrological treatise known as the “Four Books” in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day.

“Ptolemaeus” is a Greek name. Beyond his being considered a member of Alexandria’s Greek society, few details of Ptolemy’s life are known.

4.Gemma-Frisius

(1508-1555) born Regnier Gemma, he was a native of Friesland (a coastal province in northern Netherlands). He adopted a Latin version of his name (Frisius) when he became a scholar. A Dutch mathematician, astronomer, and geographer, he is perhaps best known for his theoretical description of how to calculate longitude using portable clocks long before it was actually possible to do so.

He described this theory in a second edition of the book “De Principiis Astronomiae Cosmographicae” which appeared in 1533 along with a combined terrestrial and celestial globe that Gemma Frisius produced. With “Cosmographia”, he included Libellus de locurum which described the theory of trigonometric surveying and the first proposal to use triangulation as a method of accurately locating places.

He also added notes about finding longitude at sea. This was the first time anyone had proposed a solution to the problem although there were many others proposed in the 250 years following Gemma Frisius’s work. Ultimately the methods he outlined became the adopted solution to finding the longitude at sea.

From 1534 Gemma Frisius began to teach his student Gerardus Mercator. They constructed a terrestrial globe in 1536, and they constructed a celestial globe in the following year.

5.Gerardus Mercator

(1512-1594) Mercator was a Flemish map maker and geographer.  In 1569, he created the Mercator projection which is widely used for navigation because straight lines drawn on maps that use this cylindrical projection are lines of constant compass bearing (rhumb lines).  Mercator mastered the essentials of mathematics, geography, and astronomy and primarily supported himself through his craftsmanship of mathematical instruments. With Gemma Frisius, another producer of globes and mathematical instruments, and Gaspar à Myrica, an engraver and goldsmith, he made Louvain, Belgium an important center for the construction of globes, maps, and astronomical instruments.

Mercator began making maps independently in 1537.  He encouraged Abraham Ortelius to compile the first modern world atlas, “Theatrum Orbis Terrarum” (1570). Mercator’s first atlas, published in 1578, contained corrected versions of maps originally drawn by Ptolemy. The atlas he published in 1585 included maps of France, Germany and the Netherlands, and in 1588 he published an atlas with the Balkans and Greece. After his death, Mercator’s son, Rumold, added additional maps in a final part published in 1595.

6.Abraham Ortelius

(1527-1598) was a Flemish scholar and geographer. While not a scientific innovator, Abraham Ortelius is regarded as one of the most prominent geographers of the sixteenth century because of his ability to gather an immense body of existing geographic knowledge and publish it in a consistent and high-quality cartographic format. Ortelius’s “Theatrum Orbis Terrarum” (Theatre of the World) is considered the first true atlas in the modern sense: a collection of uniform map sheets and supporting text bound in book form. The maps were organized logically to represent continents, groups of regions, and nation-states, with the text providing relevant information and further references. Many of the atlas’s maps were based upon sources that no longer exist or are extremely rare. Therefore, Ortelius atlas is sometimes referred to as the summary of sixteenth-century cartography.

Ortelius’s atlas contained a “Catalogus Auctorum” – a separate section in the atlas-identifies the names of all thirty-three cartographers whose maps Ortelius consulted, as well as eighty-seven geographers known to him. The “Catalogus” was thus the first critical attempt to provide readers with a historical context for published maps.

The Theatrum was the most authoritative and successful such work during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The atlas first appeared in 1570 and continued to be published until 1612. During this period, over seventy-three hundred copies were printed in thirty-one editions and seven different languages-a remarkable figure for the time.

Earlier mapbooks (after ca. 1400) had been based on the work of Claudius Ptolemy, whose Geographia recorded classical Greek geographic knowledge in the second century A.D. and was the chief source for cartographic publications in the early Renaissance era. Ortelius’s Theatrum definitively freed cartography from the influence of Ptolemy although convention still demanded that the new form of map presentation and illustration pay homage to the classical writers.

Before the publication of the Theatrum, Ortelius was a respected student of classical history and a collector of books and old coins but had found only modest acclaim for his cartographic skills. Yet, he had made a living as a professional illuminator after 1554, illustrating hundreds of maps, and making at least six single- and multi-sheet maps of his own between 1564 and 1570. Still, it was the Theatrum that firmly established his reputation as a cartographer and made him a wealthy man.

7.Giovanni Domenico Cassini (Cassini I)

(1625-1712) The name Cassini relates not to one person only but to a whole family that contributed significantly to cartography.  The Cassini (and Maraldi) families are said to have been the creators of the first “accurate” national topographic map. It took four generations. Giovanni Domenico Cassini (Cassini I) became Director of l’Observatoire de Paris in 1669, and it was under his leadership that the use of triangulation was introduced in the construction of a map of Paris and surrounding areas.

8.Jacques Cassini (Cassini II)


(1677-1756) Jacques Cassini (Cassini II) assisted his father in his work, including carrying out a number of geodesic observations. Jacques’ main scientific failing can be traced to work he carried out with his father in 1700. Their project to measure the meridian from Perpignan to Paris resulted in Jean Dominique’s stating that the Earth was elongated at the poles. Later, in 1713, and using a different method of measurement based on the moon’s eclipses of stars and planets but with the data of the 1700 experiments, Jacques confirmed his father’s theory.

9.César François Cassini (Cassini III)

(1714-1784) While Jacques Cassini (Cassini II) believed that the Earth was elongated along its axis, his son César François (Cassini III) sided with the Newtonian view that it was flattened at its poles. So, the early eighteenth century saw Jacques Cassini and his son beginning the process of developing the principles of triangulation and accuracy in order to produce more accurate mapping, specifically of France. The triangulation begun in 1740 was developed by César François as he sought to produce the first accurate map of the whole of France.

Their map, produced in 1746 and 1747, was much more accurate than any that had preceded it. It covered eighteen sheets at a scale of 1:86,400. One of their findings was that France was approximately ten per cent larger than had previously been thought. Just as important, the Cassinis accurately located the geographical relationship between the observatories in Paris, France and Greenwich, England, establishing the basis for greater accuracy in making astronomical observations.

10.Johann Heinrich Lambert

(1728-1777), was a Swiss mathematician, physicist and astronomer. Although Lambert is credited with the first proof (in 1761) that pi is irrational, his contributions to cartography lie primarily in the map projections he created. In 1772, he published equations for the Lambert azimuthal equal area projection. This planar equal area projection is in commercial atlases and for statistical maps of continents and countries that are basically circular in overall extent. You will also see the oceans shown on maps that use the equatorial or oblique aspects of this projection.

Also in 1772, Lambert constructed the transverse Mercator projection as well as the Lambert cylindrical equal-area projection. Lambert’s idea for the transverse Mercator projection was to rotate the Mercator projection by 90 degrees so that narrow north-south strips of the earth can be projected with no local shape distortion and little distortion of area. This projection is used to map gores which are used in the construction of globes.

In 1772, he also devised the Lambert conformal conic projection which is used as the basis for east-west trending U.S. State Plane Coordinate system zones. These projections are in turn used for the 1:24,000 USGS scale topographic maps within the state. Another major use of the Lambert conformal conic projection is for aeronautical charts, because navigators (like aviators) prefer navigational charts that use conformal projections, which preserve shapes and directions locally.

11.Jean Dominique Cassini (Cassini IV)

(1748-1845) In 1783, Jean Dominique Cassini (Cassini IV) became Director of the Paris Observatory. He proposed that the differences in measurement of longitude between the Paris and Greenwich observatories should be resolved by triangulating the south-east of England and extending the measurements to France. As a result, cross-channel measurements were taken linking France and England at the same time that triangulation survey work continued in England, forming the basis of the Ordnance Survey.

In July 1789, revolution swept France and a mob took over the Bastille in Paris, searching for weapons and munitions, and two days, another ransacked the Observatory looking for supplies. Jean Dominique’s wife died in April 1791, leaving him to look after their five children. At that time the Adadémie des Sciences was establishing a project to measure the meridian from Dunkerque to Barcelona in order to establish an accurate measurement for the meter to be defined as one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the equator. The Académie des Sciences required Jean Dominique to lead the surveying as was the tradition in this type of work but, with the pressure of having to look after his children, he asked to direct the work from Paris. His request was denied and the Académie appointed Delambre in his stead. At the Observatoire Jean Dominique was having significant problems with his three assistants with whom he had a falling out.

Additionally, the National Assembly created four posts of Professor, one of them being Jean Dominique appointed at half his previous salary with the intent that he should rotate into the appointed post of Director. The Académie des Sciences was disbanded in August 1793 so the rotation never took place. Jean Dominique therefore resigned in September 1793, the same year that he completed his father’s maps and they were published by the Académie des Sciences. The National Assembly took ownership of his map and, when he complained, he was arrested in February 1794 and imprisoned. In August 1794 Jean Dominique was released and went to live at the family home in Thury. Although his colleagues tried to get him to return to Paris and take up his scientific work once again, he refused, arguing that his family was more important.

12.Alexandre H. G. Cassini (Cassini V)

(1781-1832) Alexandre Cassini (Cassini V) did not follow the same footsteps of science as the preceding Cassinis. It is likley that the political intrigue and difficulties that brought the career of his father, Jean Dominique, to an end were responsible for Alexandre’s being unable or unwilling to follow his ancestors in a career in astronomy or cartography. Instead he went into the field of botany.

13.Eduard Imhof

(1895-1986) Eduard Imhof was a Swiss cartographer who is widely known for the relief shading maps he produced for school maps and atlases.  He founded the Institute of Cartography at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), Switzerland and was its first professor. In 1927, he first revised the atlas used in Swiss high schools, and he then directed all published editions from 1932 until 1976. Between 1934 and 1975, all editions of the Swiss primary school atlas were also produced under his direction. He ultimately retired from teaching at ETH Zurich in 1965 but continued working on school maps until the mid-1970s.

14.Arthur H. Robinson

(1915-2004) Arthur Robinson was an American geographer and cartographer, born in Canada to American parents.  He wrote many influential articles and important books on cartography including: “The Look of Maps” (1952), based on his PhD dissertation, describing how map function influences the design process; “The Nature of Maps” (1976), with Barbara Petchenik, focusing on maps as a communication device between the cartographer and map reader; and “Elements of Cartography”, a widely-used textbook even today, though the sixth and last edition was published in 1995. 

During World War II, Robinson directed the map division of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) starting in 1941. Even though there were no formal cartographers in OSS at that time, Robinson developed a team that created 5,000 hand-drawn maps.  As chief U.S. map officer, Robinson the Allied conferences in 1943 and 1944. For his work at the OSS, Robinson received the Legion of Merit from the U.S. Army in 1946. Robinson is also noted for creating the Robinson projection in 1961 in response to a request from Rand McNally for an aesthetic, uninterrupted world projection with limited distortion.

15.Jacques Bertin

(1918-2010) Jacques Bertin is a French cartographer and theorist, known from his book “Semiologie Graphique” (Semiology of Graphics), edited in 1967. Based on his experience as a cartographer and geographer, this book presents the first and most comprehensive theoretical foundation to what we today call “Information Visualization”. Bertin provides a universally-recognized theory of graphical symbols and modes of graphics representation that allow cartographers to transform geographic information into cartographic communication.  His work is based on a clear and logical system in which symbols can be varied according to seven “graphical variables”, which included position, size, shape, value, color (hue), orientation, and texture.

His career in mapping may be said to have begun at the age of 10 when he received the first prize of cartography at his primary school! He studied geography and cartography at the Sorbonne, and in 1967 he became professor of the Sorbonne. In 1974 he became director of the Geographical Laboratory of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, and in the 1970s he became head of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

16.George F. Jenks

(1916-1996) Professor George Jenks guided the cartography program at the University of Kansas for 37 years.  Two major interests of Dr. Jenks included map production and cartographic curriculum development. With a fellowship from the Fund for the Advancement of Education, he was able to developed a modern curriculum for cartography. The first atlas of a U.S. state was produced under his direction with the “Kansas Atlas” being published in 1952. 

Jenks’ research in statistical mapping, which spanned twenty years, included 3D, choropleth, dot and graduated circle maps. Perhaps his most influential research was that which focused on choropleth mapping and data classification for univariate and multivariate maps. As computer cartography advanced, his research encompassed automated line generalization. His last academic publications reflected once again his interest in curriculum development – these included a paper about academic cartography at the University of Kansas and the development of cartographic curricula over the past 33 years.

His contributions to research and teaching in cartography are still felt today and his academic progeny carry his interests forward in his absence.

17.John Snyder

(1926-1997) John P. Snyder, an American cartographer, is most well-known for his work on map projections, although he was educated as a chemical engineer.  He had a lifetime interest in map projections, though it was just a hobby for him for many years. After learning of the U.S. Geological Society’s need for a map projection that could be used for the display of their satellite imagery, he developed the space-oblique Mercator projection.  After providing the projection to the USGS at no cost, he was subsequently offered a job with this governmental agency.

His work at the USGS led to the publication of the still much-referenced technical guides to map projections titled “Map Projections: A Working Manual” (1987) and “An Album of Map Projections” (1989). He also wrote “Flattening the Earth: Two Thousand Years of Map Projections” (1993) in which Snyder discusses and illustrates hundreds of map projections created from 500 B.C. till now.

Snyder taught courses on map projections at George Mason University, he was president of the American Cartographic Association from 1990-1991, and he served as a secretary of the Washington Map Society.

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