Simon Garfield

  • Aired:  02/25/13
  •  | Views: 12,364

Simon Garfield talks about Christopher Columbus' map fiasco and the biggest badass in the history of mapmaking, Claudius Ptolemy. (5:38)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY.

THANKS SO MUCH.

MY GUEST TONIGHT HAS WRITTEN A BOOK ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF MAPS.

RIGHT, THEY DESCENDED FROM MONKEYS, TOO.

PLEASE WELCOME SIMON GARFIELD.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

ALL RIGHT, SIR, YOU ARE THE AWJOR OF SEVERAL BOOKS INCLUDING THE BEST SELLING INTERNATIONAL

BEST SELLING "JUST MY TYPE." IT BLED LID OF TYPOGRAPHY.

>> IMPORTANT THING.

>> Stephen: WITHOUT TYPEO GRAPY LED TO YOUR NEXT BOOK.

THIS BOOK IS CALLED "ON THE MAP: A MIND BLOWING EXPLORATION OF THE WAY THE WORLD LOOKS." WHY

MAPS I HAVE GPS.

WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT MAPS.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU.

>> IN A WAY -- >> Stephen: YOU ARE DOING WELL RIGHT NOW, WATCH IT.

>> MAPS ARE OUR HISTORY REALLY.

YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT OUR MOBILE PHONE IN TEN YEARS TIME IT WILL HAVE GOOGLE MAPS, APPLE MAPS, IF

YOU ARE UNFORTUNATE.

[ LAUGHTER ]

BASICALLY, YOU WON'T KNOW WHETHER WE DISCOVERED ANYTHING NEW.

THEY ARE NOT BEAUTIFUL TO LOOK AT.

EVERYONE IN THE WORLD HAS THE SAME MAP.

>> Stephen: AND THEY WORK REALLY WELL AND TELL ME WHERE TO GO.

WHY DOES A MAP HAVE TO BE AN OBJECT OF ART?

>> ONE REASON YOU WOULDN'T BE HERE NOW IN AMERICA BASICALLY.

COLUMBUS DIDN'T HAVE GOOGLE MAPS.

HE THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO HIT, YOU KNOW, JAPAN.

AND -- >> Stephen: RIGHT, IF HE HAD AK -- ACCURATE MAPS WE WOULD ALL BE JAPANESE NOW.

ARE YOU SAYING MAPS IN GENERAL ARE A GOOD THING.

>> A FAN -- HE SAID NOT ALL THOSE WHO WILL WONDER ALOFT.

THAT'S THE THING ABOUT OLD MAPS.

I LOVE THE IDEA OF DISCOVERING NEW PLACES THROUGH ERROR.

ONE THING I TALKED ABOUT IN THE BOOK IS THESE MYTHICAL THINGS THAT DON'T REALLY EXIST BUT WE

SORT OF IMAGINED THEM ON MAPS.

MAPS HELP US DREAM.

>> Stephen: THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I LIKE ABOUT OLD MAPS.

IS THAT THEY HAD THE SEA SEARCHENTS OUT -- SERPENTS OUT THERE WITH THE COILS AND EVERYTHING.

I DON'T SEE THOSE ON MAPS.

IS IT OVERFISHING?

WHY ARE THEY NOT ON THE MAP?

>> I MISS THEM, TOO.

THE REASON THEY EXISTED ON OLD MAPS BECAUSE PEOPLE THOUGHT WE CAN'T ADMIT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT

LIES THIS LAND SO WE'RE GOING TO PUT IN TERRIBLE BEASTS.

>> Stephen: HERE THEY BE TIGERS IT WOULD SAY.

>> THE PHRASE HERE BE DRAGONS DIDN'T ACTUALLY EXIST ON ANY MAP.

IT'S A MYTH.

EXISTED ON THE GLOBE.

>> Stephen: A GLOBE IS NOT A MAP?

>> IT'S NOT QUITE A MAP.

>> Stephen: WHAT IS IT?

>> A GLOBE IS -- >> Stephen: IT'S A ROUND MAP.

>> IT'S A ROUND MAP OKAY.

>> Stephen: YOU SAY THAT TOLMPE IS A BAD ASS INCONSISTENT MAP MAKING.

WHAT MADE HIM SO INFLUENCEFUL?

>> HE DRAW THE ATLAS DIDN'T HAVE THE MAPS JUST HAD WHAT COUNTRIES LIE IN RELATION TO OTHER

COUNTRIES AND WHAT VICINITIES WERE IN RELATION TO OTHER PLACES.

HE WORKED ON THREE CONTINENTS.

>> Stephen: HOW ACCURATE WAS IT AMONG THE THREE COULDN'T NEVES.

>> WELL PRETTY.

HE HAD THE SHAPES.

>> Stephen: IF YOU DON'T HAVE AN AERIAL VIEW.

HOW DID YOU GET SHAPES?

DID A BLIND GO ON THE COAST GOES IT'S BUMPY, IT DIPS OUT, BUMP, BUMP, THAT'S THE HORN OF AFRICA.

HOW DO YOU DO IT?

>> IF YOU WERE LOOKING FOR GOLD AND SILK, YOU WENT AROUND AND NAVIGATED AND FOUND OUT THE

SHAPE OF THE COUNTRY.

>> Stephen: YOU LITERALLY REMEMBER EVERYTHING?

>> ABSOLUTELY WROTE THEM DOWN ON MAPS.

HE DID THE GREAT LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA AND THEIR MAPS MAPS WERE COMPLI CAIFLTD WITH THOSE MAPS

COULD YOU BUILD AN ACCURATE VIEW OF THE WORLD.

>> Stephen: DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MAP?

>> IT'S OF LONDON, WHERE I'M FROM, AND IT HAS THE T HAD, AMES RUNNING THROUGH IT, HANDMADE

ABOUT SIX YEARS AGO.

ALL SORTS OF AREAS OF LONDON AND ONE RED BLOG WHICH IS WEALTHY AND THE REST OF THE MAP IS

WRITTEN: LOSERS.

[LAUGHTER]

>> Stephen: CAN YOU GET ME A COPY OF THAT?

>> I SURE CAN.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

SIMON GARFIELD "ON