Geography is Everywhere

If you enjoy tales of subterfuge, mystery, spying, and what the world looks like, in 2D on a slab of paper – here is a tremendous article in last week’s Atlas Obscura site, telling how the West began to comprehend and map the depths of oriental lands .  Ripping adventure (see link at end)

The Spies Who Mapped Great Swathes of South Asia by Foot

Officials in Tibet in 1930s   Photo: Ernest Schafer/Public Domain

In her lively account of this time period, the article’s writer, Eleanor Cummins, covers the risks taken, and the secret ways in which the geographic information was smuggled out of regions.  There was much to learn: in the mid 19th Century, “British official maps at this time show Tibet as one huge white blank,” wrote the late historian Peter Hopkirk, “as though the whole area was obliterated by snow.”

This seems almost inconceivable in this century’s ease of access to the world and its data, via satellites, Google Earth, the internet and sources such as you are looking at now.  The Atlas Obscura article takes us back into a time of risk and unknown and the literally uncharted.  Follow the link below for the full adventure:


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