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Nature of Old Maps: As Primary Source Materials for Historical Geography
Earth Sciences
Volume 7, Issue 6, December 2018, Pages: 260-267
Received: Aug. 20, 2018; Accepted: Sep. 30, 2018; Published: Oct. 29, 2018
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Akihiro Kinda, Kyoto Institute, Library and Archives (KILA), Kyoto, Japan
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This paper discusses on the meaning and the nature of old maps of both small and large scales for historical geography. The old map can be an object of research itself as well as a source for research on something else. But both research directions have been closely connected with each other, and also each research direction needs inevitably another. Roughly speaking, small scale old maps mean mainly world maps, although they have no accurate scale. They commonly reflect the enormous expansion of geographical knowledge acquired during periods of exploration of little-known places, and they clearly reflect the perception of space that pertained at the time when the map was drawn. In case of large scale maps like manorial maps and town/village maps as cadastral ones, they express much local information in which local people interested or according to the land system or land planning in different times. Some large/middle scale maps show more formal land planning, those showing grid land planning like Centuria in Roman Empire, Jori Plan in 8-9th century Japan and Townships in British American colonies and later US and Canada. Those large/middle scale maps usually express various land units within each grid in spite of a land itself usually stretched continuously. Old maps are very important as primary source materials for historical geography, but researchers should consider the nature of old maps. They are commonly without accurate scale, physical situation and standard for drawing and describing. And furthermore, many old maps were made under the thought or regulation for land planning, when those are used as source materials.
Old Maps, World Maps, City Maps, Manorial Maps, Cadastral Maps, Plats
To cite this article
Akihiro Kinda, Nature of Old Maps: As Primary Source Materials for Historical Geography, Earth Sciences. Vol. 7, No. 6, 2018, pp. 260-267. doi: 10.11648/
Copyright © 2018 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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