The Geo-Physical Six-Foot Physiographic Relief Globe

Authors: Jason VanHorn*, Calvin College
Topics: Cartography, History of Geography, Geography Education
Keywords: Cartography, history, globes, Briesemeister, Raisz, AGS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Virginia C, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In the 1950s, the artist Kenneth Fagg, geographer and American Geographical Society (AGS) cartographer William Briesemeister, and former Harvard Institute of Geographical Exploration cartographer Erwin Raisz teamed up to consider the first and finest creation of a large and scientifically accurate physiographic relief globe. I explore this history, focused on primary documents from Kenneth Fagg and Erwin Raisz. I discuss their multiple designs, the workings of sculpting, discuss how the company Geo-Physical Maps Inc. financial investments were handled to sell the globe, underlying maps that supported the work such as the 1956 AGS map of Antarctica, it’s unveiling at the 1958 World’s Fair Expo in Belgium and how it led to a host of other similar globe-creation efforts. Situating this moment into the history of cartography, I argue the work as the obvious precursor to digital cartographies found in ESRI’s globe and Google Earth.

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