By the turn of the 19th century, mapping had established itself as a scientific enterprise, often government funded, and conducted by skilled military personnel. During the 19th century, European countries made national maps with enthusiasm. They were partly for economic and social improvement, and partly a statement of national identity and pride.

An international collaboration mapped the seas for the benefit of all. Growing international cooperation also established Greenwich as the prime meridian (1884), agreed time zones, and led to the production of an “International Map” of the whole world. Improvements in printing technology made maps cheaper (and more widespread) and now colourful. Other types of map were published, such as geological maps, or thematic ones, showing wealth or disease.
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Mapping the past
Map of Oran


Musée Public National des Antiquités, Algiers, Algeria

At the turn of the 19th century, only a tiny percentage of the world had been mapped.

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In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
The birth of archaeology
The formation of museums
Inspired by the past