Venetian Cartography – Progress Blog 2

In the second part of the project we have worked on creating a visual time-lapse of existent maps, starting from 1528 until 2014. In order to do so, we have used image transformation and morphing with control points. The idea behind the map morphing was to get a sequence of intermediate images that represent the changes from one map to the other. Using this method, the color of each pixel is interpolated over time from the first map value (which will have a smaller time stamp)  to the corresponding second map values (with a higher time stamp). We are thus able to see main differences and transformations between maps in time.

We have made a model of a timelapse using 21 different maps, some of which are:

  • 1528 map, as the work of Benedetto Bordone. Bordone was born in Padua, Italy, and by 1494 he was definitely in Venice. He was an astrologer, miniaturist, illuminator, cartographer and engraver. He is best known for an island book entitled ‘Libro de Benedetto Bordone, nel qual si ragiona de tutte L’isole del mondo..’, published in 1528 and containing 111 woodcut maps. This is a genre of books that became a Venetian specialty after his publication.
  • 1560 map, by Sebastian Munster. He was a german cartographer and cosmograper. His work, the Cosmographia from 1544 was the earliest german description of the world.
  • 1566 map, by Donato Bertelli. He was a Venetian publisher and map seller. He re-issued some of Paolo Forlani’s work.
  • 1572 map, work of Thomaso Porcacchi. He was a cartographer who worked on many maps published in Venice, not only of Venice. Copied work by Camocio and had plates engraved by Girolamo Porro for his work entitled L’Isole Piu famose del Mondo (Pocket-sized atlas of the world). The used map is taken from this book.
  • 1573 map, unknown creator, but what can we say about it is that it’s design is closely related to the designs at that time, compared to newer versions of Venice maps
  • 1594 map, by Giacomo Franco. He worked as a cartographer, engraver and publisher. He published a book ‘Viaggio da Venetia a Constantinopoli per Mare’ (Voyage from Venice to Istambul by Sea) where a collection of ilustraions can be found.
  • 1696 map, by Vincenzo Coronelli. Coronelli was a Venetian map and globe maker. He became the cosmographer to the Republic of Venice in 1685, and set up a globe-making workshop.
  • 1703 and 1705 maps, by Karl Weiland; here we can notice that while his original map was a territorial split by the rivers, the second version includes more detail about human changes to the environment


We notice that if we categorize maps by their date, many of them were created in the same way and have similar aspects, either as an inspiration from one cartographer to the other, or due to the fact that the features required in a map by the people’s needs at the time were the same. The is a visible difference between maps before and after 1700, with approximation. While the more recent maps have a perpendicular perspective, all older maps use an angular perspective, which distorts the map. We also notice that there are many german cartographers that focused on accuracy of the maps.

Lastly, in the remaining time we will take maps two by two and highlight the main resemblances and differences they show. Also, we will focus on why venetian cartographers may have chosen to create maps by highlighting parts of the city, buildings, boats or other surroundings.