by Infogram
Create infographics

Vintage Infodesign [163]

Old maps of Mars and much more, in another journey into the past of data visualization and cartography

October 24, 2016

The recent, yet to be fully confirmed, crash of the Schiaparelli EDM lander on Mars is a reminder of how challenging space exploration is. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the Schiaparelli lander – which was designed to test technology for a more ambitious European Mars landing in 2020 – suffered problems during the last 50 seconds of its descent through the red planet’s atmosphere, and images captured by NASA shows what seems to be debris from a crash in the exact spot where it should have landed.

The reason why we are bringing this topic into this space, where we feature ancient examples of data visualization and cartography, it’s because Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835-1910) was among the early cartograhpers of Mars. The Italian astronomer produced several detailed maps of Mars in the late 1800s, which included linear features that he saw across the surface of the planet, which he referred to as ‘channels’.

It turns out these lines were nothing but some kind of optical illusion caused by interactions between light, dust clouds that form in the martian atmosphere, the orbital location and background interference from the planet’s surface itself. But for over two decades, these maps fed the romantic notion of intelligent life in Mars, and thanks to the awesome blog BibliOdissey, we open of today’s round up to Giovanni Schiaparelli’s work, and his vision.

Hope you enjoy!

Mappa Areographica (1878) | Giovanni Schiaparelli

(image: Giovanni Schiaparelli)

(Via BibliOdissey)

Map of Mars (1877) | Giovanni Schiaparelli

(image: Giovanni Schiaparelli)

(Via BibliOdissey)

Particolari della superficie di Marte dalla quarta Memoria (1883) | Giovanni Schiaparelli

(image: Giovanni Schiaparelli)

(Via BibliOdissey)

Map of Hungary (1567) | Matthias Zündt

(image: Matthias Zündt)

(Via World Digital Library)

Lend-lease and the legislative process (1941) | Fortune magazine

(image: Fortune magazine)

(Via Fulltable)

A New Map of Ohio (1847) | Samuel Augustus Mitchell

(image: Samuel Augustus Mitchell)

(Via Rare Maps)

Going up, or going down (1916) | Illustrated World

(image: Illustrated World)

(Via JF Ptak Science Books)

Freight Carloadings (1940) | The New York Times

(image: The New York Times)

(Via Priceonomics)

The World Cannot Live Half Slave, Half Free (1917) | Committee on Public Information

(image: Committee on Public Information)

(Via Rare Maps)

The magnitude of the Automobile Industry (1917) | Scientific American

(image: Scientific American)

(Via JF Ptak Science Books)

Schematismus Geographiae Mathematicae (1753) | Johann Baptist Homann

(image: Johann Baptist Homann)

(Via David Rumsey Map Collection)

Los Angeles and vicinity (1939) | Home Owners’ Loan Corporation

(image: Home Owners’ Loan Corporation)

(Via National Geographic)

Allegorical map of love (1730) | Matthaeus Seutter

(image: Matthaeus Seutter)

(Via PJ Mode Collection / Hyperallergic)

Great China Embracing the Kingdoms under Heaven (1818) | Zhu Xiling

(image: Zhu Xiling)

(Via World Digital Library)

Exports and Imports from Denmark to Norway (1786) | William Playfair

(image: William Playfair)

(Via Smithsonian Mag)

Survey Map of the Straits of Singapore (1846) | J.T. Thomson

(image: J.T. Thomson)

(Via National Archives of Singapore)


That’s it for today’s round up! We’ll be back next week with another selection, but until then, enjoy our Pinterest board, just with old maps and infographics.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.