How did our ancestors navigate through the world without being able to see the Earth from space?

Traveling has always been a challenge. People were trying to find a way to overcome all the obstacles in their path for thousands of years. They were trying to create maps, but there were some difficulties in that – e.g. how to draw a map without knowing where you are located and what’s near you?

What would you do if you were told to get from point A to point B and you did not know where these points were?

You would probably ask someone for directions, but what if there were no people around you? This is the situation that our ancestors faced thousands of years ago. They couldn’t ask anyone for directions to get from point A to point B, so they had to find alternative ways to solve their problem. This is the ancient context in which world maps were created.

The Chinese came up with a solution to this problem in the second century BC, which they called “sinan,” or “pointing south.”

A reproduction of Si Nan – world’s first compass, 400 BC

One of the main purposes of the compass, then, was to serve as a tool for the perfect arrangement of buildings in populated areas, as the geometric principles of Feng Shui show.

The invention of the compass paved the way for the discovery and conquest of the New World by the Europeans.

Do you remember when you were 10 years old, and you thought the compass was one of the most advanced gadgets on Earth? When studying the history of science, we can see that most modern devices have a centuries-long history which is surprising for us.

The next image is an example of something I usually ask my students at Sofia University about – do you currently have a compass in you? Always initially the answer from the hall is a loud NO, but after a few seconds they think and realize that today each of us carries in our pocket the modern version of this navigation device, as a mobile app.

Navigation in open water

The Marshallese people used a complex system of navigational charts created in this way until the second world war. Their stick charts are perfect example for a creative solution to the problem of navigation.

Marshall Islands stick chart - Wikipedia
An example for a stick chart – navigational map from the Marshall islands

We all know that throughout history people have always tried to explore new lands and create a map of the places they’ve gone. In quest to discover a way of navigating around the world without having to figure out what path they took, they invented many sophisticated ways of getting from one place to another.

The Complete Guide to Satellite Maps and How They are Changing the Way We Think of Geography

What is a Satellite Map?

A satellite map is an image of the Earth or another planet that has been created by using a spacecraft. The technology to create satellites was first developed during World War II as part of the efforts to gain accurate mapping data for use in military purposes. Today, satellite maps are used all over the world for many different applications, including navigation and urban planning. Satellite imagery can be used to help monitor natural disasters such as floods or fires, track crop production, study land use changes over time, and more.

Satellite map art is a popular form of home decor that uses satellite imagery to create beautiful and awe-inspiring images. Maps are an interesting subject for artwork because they can be interpreted in many ways, making them suitable for use as decorations. Satellite map art is typically created using digital printing or photo editing software, and the results are often very striking.

How to Choose Which Satellite Map is Right for You?

There are a few things that you need to consider when choosing a satellite map:

1) Coverage area – You’ll want a map with coverage of the areas that you need it. Make sure it includes your intended use area.

2) Detail level – The detail level of the map will determine how much information is available at each pixel. A higher-detail map will show more features and smaller details than a lower-detail one, but may also be slower to load on your device due to the larger file size.

The Future of Satellite Mapping Technology

As satellite mapping technology continues to develop, it will undoubtedly play an even more important role in the world of cartography. In fact, developments in this field may even lead to the development of a new form of cartography – namely, map database cartography. Map database cartography is a type of cartography that uses computerized databases to store and manage maps. As such, map database cartography is much more efficient and reliable than traditional cartography. Accordingly, it is likely to become the mainstream form of cartography in the future.

Radio Garden – our favorite virtual globe

There’s a lot of new technology out there, and you might be wondering what geographers do with it all. Geography is a fascinating science that uses technological and innovative tools from to study the Earth.

It is difficult to say how many technologies are used by geographers around the world. Maybe the most important are Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Global Navigation Satellite Systems, Drones and VR. Geographers also use various tools like crowdsourcing and digital citizenship. But there are so many more—it seems like every day we learn about a new way we can use technology to improve our knowledge of our surroundings.

Every time you can’t find the nearest store, you turn to Google Maps and find the shortest way. The same happens when you order food or book a hotel.

But where were we before the geospatial revolution? We didn’t know whether we should turn right or left; we couldn’t see what it was like in that hotel; and we didn’t know if our friends were at home.

You have to know that (almost) everything in this world can be placed on a map. Let me show you now our favorite virtual globe. Radio Garden invites you to tune into thousands of live radio stations across the globe.

By bringing distant voices close, radio connects people and places. From its very beginning, radio signals have crossed borders. Radio makers and listeners have imagined both connecting with distant cultures, as well as re-connecting with people from ‘home’ from thousands of miles away. In the early decades of wireless telegraphy, radio amateurs wished to talk with each other across the world and to listen in on the voices of other cultures.

As the BBC World Service began broadcasting in the 1930s, radio afforded a means for global audiences to encounter new ideas and different ways of thinking about the world. Perhaps more importantly, it meant that people from different countries could communicate directly with each other.

Open, hit the Play button, and enjoy music and languages ​​from around the world. With the click of a button, you can travel the world through radio programs that are produced by people in different countries.

Agriculture in Sahara – patterns captured from space

As populations grow and climate change creates new conditions, farmers are looking to increase productivity in those areas of the world where climate, soil, or available land is less than ideal for growing crops.

Over the past 10 years, agriculture has used approximately 86% of the world’s accessible freshwater supply, and climate change threatens to reduce water supplies even further in the coming decades. Food security is one of the many human rights that must be provided for as part of an effective response to climate change; every human being has a right to proper nutrition and food security.

As the world’s population approaches 8 billion, the need to feed more people with limited land and resources is growing. The Sahara Desert is expanding 30 miles per year, roughly the same rate as a fingernail grows.

In this gallery you can see the different patterns agricultural areas in the region have, as seen from the satellites of the European Space Agency, Copernicus programme.

The beautiful Sete Cidades Massif at São Miguel island, Azores

You know the feeling when you just wake up and want to start the day with something special? Here is a great story about Sete Cidades Massif is for you!

Sete Cidades Massif is located in the western part of the island of São Miguel, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores (explore it in Google Maps here). Situated in western São Miguel, the massif is a regional landmark, visible from various points on the island and consists of Mount of Topo and Sete Cidades, two volcanic structures located at an altitude of 1,003m (3,287ft) above sea level.

We use data from the European Space Agency to show you the most amazing stories around the globe.

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Imagery: Copernicus programme, Sentinel-2 (2021).