If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know how much I love maps. Yes, I appreciate GPS, but have a big collection of old paper maps as well. Really old maps - before the age of modern cartography - have decorative borders, outlandish designs...and monsters. Dangerous monsters.
Let us consider the origin of these monsters. First, boats were much, much smaller then...
If you look at the size of a modern oarfish....
.. or this washed up squid....
Then this next image isn't quite so much of an exaggeration:
If Sheriff Brody had been in a modern cruise liner, he would have barely noticed the shark. Size is relative.
When these old maps were drawn, before TV, internet, even newspapers, people weren't inundated with bizarre images on an hourly basis. Many people lived their whole lives without going more than 50 miles from their homes! People knew just the animals they saw around them. Horse. Pig. Sheep.
So, at a time when a giraffe would have been amazingly exotic, how the hell would you begin to describe this:
People didn't have cameras in their phones. The guy drawing the map was working from a third or fourth hand description of a creature originally seen by a terrified sailor. Mistakes happened. People explained what they saw based on what they knew:
It was with this understanding that I began designing my tablet:
Next post, you'll see the finished tablet and all those lovely details.