The First Published Map of India

First Known Maps

We always use maps for knowing about locations, travel and planning. It is natural to ask when the first map was published and who might have created a map. Greek Geographer Claudius Ptolemy is credited for creating and published maps. He spent most of his time in work and writing in Alexandria, Egypt. He attempted to map the known world at that point of time.  He did this during 2nd Century AD! In his publications he had even created a map of the mouth of Ganges.

Earliest published India maps

Although map making might have been known even during the Indus valley civilization the maps made during those periods are not available, as they might have been destroyed over the period of time. So, not much is known about the kind of maps produced and used during that period of time.

There has been continues interest in the geography of the region. In the 9th century, geographers under Abbasid Caliph Al-Ma’mun improved on Ptolemy’s work and depicted the Indian Ocean as an open body of water.

Persian geographer Abu Rayhan Biruni visited India in the early 11th century and studied the country’s geography extensively. He also wrote extensively on the geology of India.

In 1154, the Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi included a section on the cartography and geography of India and its neighboring countries in his world atlas, Tabula Rogeriana.

European scholar Francesco I reproduced a number of Indian maps in his magnum opus La Cartografia Antica dell India which was originally compiled by the polymath Ksemendra .

In 1717, Hermann Moll’s “The West Part of India, or the Empire of the Great Mogul” is published. In 1752,  French geographer, Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville publishes a map of India laying the Indian geographical knowledge on a scientific footing. ‘Atlas Universal’ of Gilles and Didier Robert de Vaugondy is first published with maps of whole Indies during the same period.

Mapping the Country

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The first step to officially survey and make map of India was initiated under the British rule in the modern India. This was done to access the area under their command. Survey of India was established in 1767 by The East India Company for mapping the territories. In 1785 the First Map of ‘Hindoostan’ is prepared by the then Surveyor General of India. This is one of the known map  of India showing the country in detail after detailed survey. In 1830 Colonel Sir George Everest was appointed the Surveyor General of India and retains that position till 1843. The British Survey of India maps on 1:63,360 scale were published in 1930.


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