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The Mapmaker’s Dilemma

Maps are historical novels. They embody the discoveries of countless generations of seafarers. They are the children of the great explorers. The mapmaker is powerless alone. He is completely dependent on others to bring him the means to practice his art: an original view; the most current calculation; the newest idea; or the latest scientific breakthrough. The more stories collected, the more accurate and detailed the picture that emerges. Each new piece of information added to the whole reveals an ever-changing, ever-evolving, living history of Man’s journey on planet Earth.

There’s a wonderful book called A Mapmaker’s Dream: The Meditations of Fra Mauro, Cartographer to the Court of Venice: A Novel” about a cloistered monk at the dawn of the Renaissance who meets with visitors from around the world returning from extraordinary journeys and adventures in an attempt to glean the latest tidbit to add to his maps. Venice was a great world power at that time and considered by its cosmopolitan residents to be the center of the world. Its rulers controlled commerce and trade throughout the Mediterranean and beyond with vast fleets of merchant ships and war ships.

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