Article ID: CBB001551612

Globalizing Cartography? The International Map of the World, the International Geographical Union, and the United Nations (2015)


Few maps mirror the history of the twentieth century as closely as the International Map of the World (IMW). A proposal for a map of the entire globe on a scale of 1:1 million, using standard conventional signs, was presented at the Fifth International Geographical Congress in Berne in 1891 by the German geographer Albrecht Penck. More than two decades later, the final specification was finally published shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, a crisis that brought a halt to the international collaboration on which the project depended. The IMW's fortunes waxed and waned over the next three decades, necessitating a major review of its continuing value after the Second World War. A new IMW Executive Commission under the chairmanship of John Kirtland Wright, Director of the American Geographical Society, was established at the 1949 Lisbon conference of the International Geographical Union. Drawing on Wright's correspondence in the AGS archives, this paper examines the debates between the national cartographic agencies and related societies involved in the future of the IMW, with particular reference to the transfer of the project's Central Bureau from the British Ordnance Survey in Southampton to the United Nations in New York in the early 1950s. This discussion, which focused mainly on the need to combine the IMW with an internationalized version of the US-dominated 1:1 million World Aeronautical Chart, reveals the on-going tensions between the ideals of scientific internationalism embodied in the IMW's original proposal and the harsh realities of national self-interest in the early years of the Cold War.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Dolz, Wolfram; (2005/2006)
Die Globen des Leibniz-Instituts für Länderkunde in Leipzig (/isis/citation/CBB001024619/)

Article Török, Zsolt; (2005/2006)
Die Kogutowicz-Globen: einige Probleme der nationalen Globenherstellung in Ungarn (/isis/citation/CBB001024615/)

Article King, Robert J.; (2007/2008)
Der “Jagiellonische Globus”, Utopia und “Jave la Grande” (/isis/citation/CBB001024601/)

Book Jerry Brotton; (2019)
Trading Territories: Mapping the Early Modern World (/isis/citation/CBB968035360/)

Article Christoph, Andreas; (2011)
Vom Atlas des ganzen Erdkreises zum Erdkubus von Christian Gottlieb Reichard (1803) (/isis/citation/CBB001024631/)

Article Demhardt, Imre Josef; (2009)
Paul Langhans und der Deutsche Kolonial-Atlas, 1893--1897 (/isis/citation/CBB001024650/)

Article Christoph, Andreas; (2014)
Die Topographisch-militairische Charte von Teutschland (1807--1812/15) und ihr Bezug zur Schweiz (/isis/citation/CBB001421756/)

Book Eckhard Jäger; (2014)
Die Insel Rügen auf alten Karten: Vier Jahrhunderte Kartografiegeschichte (/isis/citation/CBB375834622/)

Article Kettner, Jasper; (2008)
Zu einem nur als Holzstock überlieferten Fragment einer spätmittelalterlichen Weltkarte (/isis/citation/CBB001024660/)

Article Güttler, Nils Robert; (2011)
Scaling the Period Eye: Oscar Drude and the Cartographical Practice of Plant Geography, 1870s--1910s (/isis/citation/CBB001034619/)

Article Ritter, Michael; (2007)
Die Landkarten von Jeremias Wolff und Johann Friedrich Probst (/isis/citation/CBB001024673/)

Article Dunlop, Catherine T.; (2013)
Mapping a New Kind of European Boundary: The Language Border between Modern France and Germany (/isis/citation/CBB001320353/)

Book Ingrid Baumgärtner; (2014)
Fürstliche Koordinaten: Landesvermessung und Herrschaftsvisualisierung um 1600 (/isis/citation/CBB266615617/)

Authors & Contributors
Christoph, Andreas
Ginsburger, Nicolas
Zef Segal
Hansen, Jason
Voigt, Isabel
Török, Zsolt
Cartographica Helvetica
Der Globusfreund: Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Globen- und Instrumentenkunde
Imago Mundi: A Review of Early Cartography
Science in Context
History in Africa
Acta Historica Leopoldina
Husum Druck
University of Chicago Press
Reaktion Books
Oxford University Press
Leipziger Universitäts-Verlag
Rutgers University
Maps; atlases
Science and society
Science and politics
Penck, Albrecht
Bertuch, Friedrich Justin
Teleki, Pál
August, Elector of Saxony
Rudnyt︠s︡ʹkyĭ, Stepan
Zach, Franz Xaver von
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century
17th century
16th century
Early modern
Baltic Sea
Budapest (Hungary)
Leibniz-Instituts für Länderkunde (Leipzig)

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment