Observation and Measurement

When were relief maps first used?

The Chinese were the first to use relief maps, in which the contours of the terrain were represented in models. Relief maps in China go back at least to the third century B.C.E. Some early maps were modeled in rice or carved in wood. It is likely that the idea of making relief maps was transmitted from the Chinese to the Arabs and then to Europe. The earliest known relief map in Europe was a map showing part of Austria, made in 1510 by Paul Dox.


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