ABOUT THIS BOOK
French scientists, engineers, and public officials were responsible for the most important and distinctive innovations in cartography in eighteenth-century Europe. By expanding the analytical uses of maps, by establishing unprecedented standards of accuracy, and by nurturing institutional frameworks to sustain mapping projects over many years, the French contributed to one of the central concepts of modern times: that man, through direct observation and accumulated information can better understand and manage his affairs.
Concentrating on how and why new concepts and techniques of making and using maps were introduced, Josef Konvitz skillfully traces the modernization of cartography during the French Enlightenment. The story he unfolds is not merely a narrative of who did what, but an analysis of how the map itself influenced attitudes toward the land and the consequent effects on planning and the development of resources. Throughout, Konvitz demonstrates the significant relationship between cartography and political, economic, and military life. He emphasizes efforts to enlarge the practical applications of maps in government and the impact of government policy on the evolution of cartography.