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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Oldest Map 

With the current interest in geo-positioning systems, it is interesting to reflect that people have needed to know their whereabouts and the location of different places, since the earliest times. The need to record this information and communicate it to others, has led to the development of maps; the history of which, has been summarised in a fascinating article by Angus W. Stocking of Colorado, USA.

He points out that maps do not necessarily have to be pictorial and that for generations, the Dreamtime songs of the Australian Aborigines have enabled them to travel vast distances through arid land. The system ticks all the boxes and the Aboriginal navigation skills are legendary, they never get lost, so possibly their songs should have the title of the World's Oldest Map.

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