How do you create a “satellite” map in 1502?
As the video above shows, it takes a lot of technical expertise and imagination. Fortunately, that was Leonardo da Vinci’s expertise.
When Leonardo was installed at Imola, Italy, as politician Cesare Borgia’s military engineer, he was charged with helping Borgia become more aware of the town’s layout. To do it, he made a groundbreaking map that combined cutting-edge surveying techniques with his artistic imagination.
The resulting “ichnographic” map was a step forward for cartography, transforming it from a partly imaginative exercise to an informational asset.
Check out the video above to see how he did it.
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- John Pinto’s history of the ichnographic city plan is useful to understand the history of these maps.
- Check out “Portraying the City in Early Modern Europe: Measurement, Representation, and Planning” by Hilary Ballon and David Friedman for more info.
- If you want to dig deeper into early maps, Jessica Maier’s “Mapping Past and Present: Leonardo Bufalini’s Plan of Rome” is fascinating.