Travelers' Aide

in Rhumb Lines and Map Wars

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780226534312
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226534329 | DOI:
Travelers' Aide

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Appreciation of the Mercator projection called for computational savvy, and its effective use required reliable methods for taking bearings and determining position. Haselden described the use of the Mercator chart for fourteen typical navigation tasks. The only concession to his opponents' “many groundless Objections” was an admission that accurately measuring and laying off distances with dividers could be troublesome. Before electronic navigation, sailing was highly interactive. Because of winds, currents, and intervening obstacles, a ship rarely traveled a perfectly straight course. Although weather maps are even more complex and varied than aeronautical charts, meteorologists resolved their search for appropriate map projections more quickly and decisively, through a single international group: the International Meteorological Organization's Commission on Map Projections.

Keywords: Mercator projection; computational savvy; Haselden; electronic navigation; weather maps

Chapter.  4813 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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