November 7, 2007

Our newest world map: Back to the Future

World Hemispheres

National Geographic’s new World Hemispheres map draws its inspiration from some of the classic National Geographic world maps of the 1930s and 1940s.

While most modern world maps show the world as a whole, the hemispheres map was designed by NG Maps using a projection that separates the Eastern and Western hemispheres.

This unique projection shows continents and regions in truer proportion to each other than most other map projections are able to achieve. The map features updated, modern cartography and an elegant earth-tone color palette.

December 1935

NG Maps produced its first hemisphere world map for the December 1935 NGM. The map was created under the tutelage of chief cartographer James Darley and designed by Charles E. Riddiford. It featured insets that showed views of the Earth’s “Land Hemisphere” and its “Water Hemisphere” as well as insets showing the world’s time zones. It also listed some facts about the Earth, including its polar and equatorial diameters; its total area (196,950,284 square miles); the mass of the atmosphere, water, ice, lithosphere; and the total mass of the Earth.

December 1941

The 1935 map was followed by an updated version in December 1941. Albert H. Bumstead was the chief cartographer for this gem, with a “Culture” inset by James Darley and a “Physiography” inset by Charles E. Riddiford. The 1941 map had a decidedly brighter palette than its predecessor, and featured several insets, perhaps the most interesting of which was a star-shaped projection that showed the relative accuracy of the mapping information by region.

April 1943

In April 1943, a world map was published, though instead of featuring the Eastern and Western hemispheres, it showed the Northern and Southern hemispheres. James Darley was chief cartographer, and Charles E. Riddiford designed the map. This fascinating worldview highlights the land mass of the Northern Hemisphere and the relatively close proximity of North America to the USSR and northern Europe. For the first time on an NG world map, air distances were shown between cites across the globe.

Look for the new World Hemispheres map at your favorite map store or online map retailer.

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