NYPL’s geospatial librarian Matt Knutzen observes: “This nautical chart of the English Channel, published in 1818 by Steele & Company is a massive work, roughly 3’ x 6’ when pieced together. It is a redraft; they made multiple editions of these, adding relevant bathymetric information to each subsequent release. This map really serves the purposes of navigating through the channel, that is, it is a highly practical document. Most of this map’s information is waterside and below sea level map information, an indicator of both its audience an its use. It tells you where the major banks are and where there are rocks that might potentially run aground on. The latest depth sounding and information are on here for the navigator to use so it’s purpose, again, is highly practical. On the land side the most important qualities are those that describe coastal features like cities and rivers and different geographic features that can be seen from a ship. Also highly useful on this map are the coastal profile views, an aid to the mariner. Rendering coastal profiles next to nautical charts is a tradition that stretches back much further than the publication of this map in the 19th century, well into the 16th century and probably earlier. These little views are designed to show what an approach would look like from a ship so mariners know they are in the right place and won’t run aground. Notice the cartographer places the views well on the dry land, obscuring any dry land features which might have made the cut reinforcing this as a purely nautical chart.” NYPL, Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division


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