TITLE: Re-Examining the Portolan Chart: History, Navigation and Science
SPEAKER: Evelyn Edson, Alison Sandman, Richard Pflederer,, John Hessler, Fenella France
EVENT DATE: 2010/05/21
RUNNING TIME: 235 minutes
To the historian of cartography, the invention of the portolan chart is a major revolutionary moment in the history of mapping. This early map began as the workaday navigational tool of medieval mariners and later developed into a highly stylized and decorative art form. Yet the origin and development of the portolan chart is shrouded in mystery.
The conference, sponsored by the Library's Geography and Map Division and the Philip Lee Phillips Society, included two sessions, "History and Navigation" and "Analysis and Science."
Evelyn Edson presented "The Marine Chart in the Mappamundi: Mapping the World in the Later Middle Ages."
Alison Sandman presented "The Birth and Use of the Navigational Chart." Richard Pflederer will present "The Portolan Chart: Dimensions of the Genre."
John Hessler presented "Bi-dimensional Regression Revisited: Studying the Mathematical Structure and Form of the Portolan Chart." Hessler uses computer models and newly developed Riemannian metrics and radial basis functions to probe the accuracy and geometric form of portolan charts in a way never before attempted.
Fenella France discussed "Scientific and Image Analysis of Portolan Charts: Preliminary Results and Methods." France will focus on hyperspectral imaging, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and the carbon dating of the Geography and Map Division's portolan collection.
Speaker Biography: Evelyn Edson is a professor emerita of history at Piedmont College.
Speaker Biography: Alison Sandman is an assistant professor of history at James Madison University.
Speaker Biography: Richard Pflederer is an independent scholar from Williamsburg, Va.
Speaker Biography: John Hessler is a senior reference librarian in the Geography and Map Division.
Speaker Biography: Fenella France ia a preservation scientist in the Preservation Research and Testing Division.