wp-1455655521081.jpgWelcome to my site, I’m Peter Roehrich.

I love the beauty of old maps. They evoke a sense of curiosity, adventure, and discovery of the unknown. Sea monsters and the “island” of California are well known features of antique maps. On their face they tell us of mysterious creatures in the seas and the unexplored land of North America. But they tell us so much more than just the state if the world; old maps tell us about our past selves. Perhaps the sea monster is the effort of a cartographer to make sense of strange tales from seafarers. If so, “here be dragons” is as much about warning readers of potential danger as it is an early and crude placeholder in an ecological inventory of the planet’s life. The “island” of California tells us that early mapmakers had imperfect information, but it also tells of an age of optimism where paradise might lie just over the horizon.

My particular interest is in comparative views, which show geologic features side by side for comparison. They may not look like maps, but they are! Join me in studying these fascinating pieces!


5 thoughts on “About

    1. Hello! My book is on comparative views, nice little maps showing geographic features side by side ordered by size from the 19th century. I’m covering their design and development, subjects, cartographers, social/political/economic context, etc. I plan to use my blog to discuss some of these topics in the coming weeks.


      1. I’ve both found them at brick and mortar and online dealers. The nice thing about buying in person is being able to inspect the map itself rather than relying on photographs and descriptive text. On the other hand, the brick and mortar dealers with whom I’ve done business may have only one or two comparatives whereas the online dealers often have a selection, even several copies of the same. I like geographicus.com and rare-maps.com. Albeit not for sale, a search on davidrumsey.com for comparative will turn up some great ones.

        I do not have a geographic preference per se. Typically comparative views cover the largest features of the world, so it’s not an issue. Some cartographers break their comparatives by hemisphere, in which case I prefer the eastern hemisphere because those show Everest and the Nile. Interestingly, depending on the year, the Nile is shown as being different lengths and different rank, based on the data from the most recent expeditions. Some depictions of the Nile show the delta in great detail. Along those lines, some rivers are shown as wavy lines, but some cartographers/engravers will show lakes, etc. and the St Lawrence with Great Lakes attached, making it really pop.

        Comparatives can be split out as illustrative and scientific formats. Illustrative are aids for visualizing and comparing, thus are quite attractive, but do not convey the precision of the scientific style (the scientific style look more like graphs). I prefer the illustrative.

        My next post is going to be about the eastern hemisphere page of a two page set that is positively stunning.

        Liked by 1 person

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