How to Draw the City on Premodern Maps

Authors: Akihiro Tsukamoto*, Tokushima University
Topics: Cartography, Historical Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Historical Maps, GIS, Japan, Drawing Method
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Historical maps are very attractive in the sense that they can show us how cities used to look like. But, these maps can be drawn with partial geographical distortion. Tsukamoto (2018, and 2017) lately examined to what extent historical maps of Edo and Osaka drawn in the 18th and 19th century are distorted measuring distance between control points in the historical maps and a present map. The present study examined to what extent the shape of three cities (i.e., Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo) in the 19th century’s historical maps is geographically distorted using the same method. For each map, I initially chose two control points and identified about 200 control points (e.g., temples, shrines, and bridges) to measure distances between the location of a control point in the present map and the historical map. The results demonstrated that Kyoto had the largest distance between the control points on the average, suggesting that the Kyoto map was geographically distorted most. Such distortion could be attributed to the fact that painters who drew the Kyoto map had certain stereotypical images of the city and ignored considering the shape of the city revealed by geographical surveys around that time. The results also demonstrated that the maps of Osaka and Tokyo drawn in a way that painters reflected the results of other geographical surveys. It seems that painters in Kyoto may have a tendency to preserve old images of Kyoto in their works.

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