Thus Amsterdam became the new centre of gravity for cartography. This golden age would bring forth names like the families Blaeu, Visscher and Covens-Mortier, without forgetting the crucial, stimulating role this big, first multinational played: the VOC, the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie. But another nation began to rise on the cartographical horizon. France, under the brilliant, authoritarian, imperialistic and money-devouring reign of Louis XIV, soon harboured an Académie des sciences and an Observatoire de Paris. And, again, it was a few families (Cassini, Sanson, de l’Isle, etc.) who transmitted their cartographical knowledge (and genes!) for a few generations, consecutively obtaining the title of géographe du Roi. From 1750 on, British cartography however was gaining momentum, certainly in the area of marine cartography, with legendary explorers like Cook. In the 18th century, it is also striking how the monarchs wished to see their possessions measured (remember, in the Ancien Régime the king owned the country, hence the interminable succession wars and the need for military maps!): first, there was the Carte de France, but at the end of the century the Austrian Habsburgs also had their Netherlands mapped by Ferraris.
However, Prof. De Maeyer provided four timelines that offer a comprehensive overview of the political situation, the most important scientists, cartographers and editors of those days.
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By the end of the 18th century, science was rapidly developing, also in the fields of geodesy and map projections, sustained by mathematical and technological progress. The printing techniques were also rapidly evolving. A new method, lithography, used stone as a surface for drawing and then printing. When the region that was the future Belgium became French in 1795, maps were made for both civil and military purposes. The civil maps were so-called cadastre (cadastral survey) maps, that were made with new, rational methods: the scale was metric (before, the landboeken used local measurements); each community had its system of coordinates: the meridian was drawn through the church and the latitude lines were drawn perpendicularly to that. These maps were made for tax reasons and would continue to be made in the new Belgian state, by people like Vandermaelen and Popp.
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