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National Geographic 8th Edition Atlas of the World"The language of cartography is so ingrained that it has become invisible. We do not question the connection between the blue line on the map and the idea of a 'river'."
- Simon Paterson



A.M. Ante Merdian - "before noon"
P.M. Post Merdian - "after noon"
Atlas A book of maps.
Cartography Cartography (or mapmaking) is the study and practice of making
Compass A compass is a magnetic device using a needle to indicate the direction of the magnetic north of the Earth's magnetic field. First in ancient China in 1117 BC.
Earth's Curvature The earth curves from true level. At 2 miles distance, your sight line drops 2.7 ft. In other words, you would only see the top 3.3 ft. of a person who is 6 ft. tall. And at 50 miles, the earth's curvature makes a difference of 1668.1 ft.!
Equator The earth's base line and point of it's widest circumference.
Fuller Projection A map system developed by Buckminster Fuller in 1946, and later modified in 1954. The Dymaxion map of the Earth is a projection of a global map onto the surface of a polyhedron, which can be cut-out and folded into a 3-D globe. The 1954 version published by Fuller under the title The AirOcean World Map used a slightly modified but mostly regular icosahedron as the base for the projection, and this is the version most commonly referred to today. [more]
Graticles Any organized framework of latitude and longitude used for maps.
Latitude How far north or south of the equator a coordinate lies. 0 degrees = the equator.
Longitude How far east or west of the zero meridian a coordinate lies. 0 degrees = the prime meridian; usually Greenwich, England.
Meridian The lines running vertically around the globe from pole to pole.
North Star The North Star is a title of the star best suited for navigation northwards. A candidate must be visible from Earth and circumpolar to the north celestial pole. The current one is Polaris. The North Star has been historically used by explorers to determine their latitude.
Parallels The lines running horizontally around the globe. 0 degrees = the equator. 90 degrees = north pole
Prime Meridian Noon in Greenwich, England is the generally accepted prime meridian. But a world power can define their meridian anywhere they want. Example: You may see Tokyo at the 0 degree point on a map of Japan, but it is 139 degrees east of Greenwich, England.
Rhumb-lines Lines on a nautical map to denote wind directions. Rhumb = breath {Greek}
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