azimuthal projection


The Piri Reis map is often exhibited in cases seeking to prove that civilization was once advanced and that, through some unknown event or events, we are only now gaining any understanding of this mysterious cultural decline.  The earliest known civilization, the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, appear out of nowhere around 4,000 B.C. but have no nautical or maritime cultural heritage. They do, however, speak reverently of ancestral people who were like the “gods” and were known as the Nefilim.

Here is a summary of some of the most unusual findings about the map:

  • Scrutiny of the map shows that the makers knew the accurate circumference of the Earth to within 50 miles.

  • The coastline and island that are shown in Antarctica must have been navigated at some period prior to 4,000 B.C. when these areas were free of ice from the last Ice Age.

  • The map is thought to be one of the earliest “world maps” to show the Americas. Early scholars suggested that it showed accurate latitudes of the South American and African coastlines - only 21 years after the voyages of Columbus! (And remember, Columbus did NOT discover North America - only the Caribbean!) Writing in Piri Re'is own hand described how he had made the map from a collection of ancient maps, supplemented by charts that were drawn by Columbus himself. This suggests that these ancient maps were available to Columbus and could have been the basis of his expedition.

  • As can be seen below, an azimuthal projection ( looking at the globe from a point above the globe), from the point above Cairo, Africa (Egypt) shows that the Piri Reis map corresponds more or less with the lower right quarter of this map if one rotates it some 20 degrees counter clockwise.

  • Piri Re'is own commentary indicates that some of his source maps were from the time of Alexander the Great (332 B.C.).

The Aitoff projection is a map projection first proposed by David Aitoff in 1889. Based on the a form of azimuthal equidistant projection, he halved longitudes from the central meridian, projected by the azimuthal equidistant, and then stretched the result horizontally into a 2:1 ellipse.