In 1587, the Milanese cartographer Urbano Monte drew a map of the world so detailed that it did not fit on a single sheet of paper. He needed 60 pages to complete the work. Monte published the project as an atlas, but left clear instructions on how the pages should be linked to form a huge map-múndi. Now, more than 400 years later, experts from the David Rumsey Map Center, of Stanford University, California, have finally assembled the "puzzle" of Monte.
"Monte made his map to serve not only as a geographical tool but also to show climate, customs, length of day, distances within regions - in other words, to create a universal scientific planisphere," said David Rumsey "In his dedication on Tavola XL he specifies how to arrange the sheets of the planisphere and makes it explicit that the whole map was to be stuck on a wooden panel 5 and a half brachia square (about ten feet) so that it could be revolved around a central pivot or pin through the north pole. This was never done, but now we can do it virtually - Monte's 60 sheet world map digitally assembled into a 10 foot planisphere"
Unlike the Mercator projection, often used in world maps to preserve the shape of the continents, Mount's projection departs from the North Pole and, although it distorts the regions closest to the South Pole, fairly conserves the relation of the land masses to the oceans.
The scanned pages form a map of more than three square meters and are available online, as well as the composite planisphere, both free of copyright.
See the map on slides and mounted in the shape of the globe, here.