Contact Us

Views: Portraying Place and Space 2nd Exhibit from the David Rumsey Map Center, January 22 - August 31, 2017

Picture of Organized Nature as Extending over the Earth

Picture of Organized Nature as Extending over the Earth
Visualizing Earth’s nature in a single chart is no small feat. Charles Smith brilliantly succeeded with this chart diagram published in 1828, which was accompanied by a translation of Johann Wilbrand and Ferdinand Ritgen’s book titled, “Picture of Organized Nature, in its Spreading over the Earth. Translated from the German of Wilbrand & Ritgen.” The chart diagram combines several methods of information visualization. The heights of the world’s mountains are shown in a manner typical of C. Smith’s comparative views. Superimposed on the mountains are a series of lines that represent latitude from 0 to 90 degrees north and south. Crossing the latitude lines are straight lines of varying thickness, which show the appearance of flora and fauna at different latitudes. The central axis shows elevations from zero to 27,000 feet. Below the land are shown the inhabitants of the oceans. The whole effect is stunning not only in its visual presentation, but in its elegance in displaying complex information in an understandable way.
Charles Smith
Sub Theme:
Picture of Organized Nature as Extending over the Earth, Charles Smith, 1828
Detailed Description: