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Quantification of deformations of Tunisian Modern Cartographic Heritage (XV to XVIII century)


Higher Institute of humanities of Jendouba

Keywords: modern maps, phase, quantification.

The headlights maps of Tunisia are not representative of the cartographic edition but rather of the devolvement of techniques proper to geographical knowledge of the modern period.  These maps are uniquely ranked as average when things come to the whole country of Tunisia.   What are the " models -maps " or the original and  persistent images which introduced changes in enriching the representation of the coast and mountain details of the" Tunisia "?

We have actually based the hypothesis that the evolution of the cartographic image corresponds to three important historical phases or rather three main ruptures in its construction.

Thus, we make a distinction between three phases. The first phase referred to as primitive or even “the descriptions” of the sixteenth century to mid sixteenth century.  Such phase gathers the deformed cartographic maps of Bernardo Sylvano (1511).

The second phase referred to as “cabinet cartography” of mid-seventeenth century the knowledge of which is based on deep study of sources and documents .This kind of cartography corresponds to some maps which are less deformed applying mainly to the model of Livio Sanuto that emerged in 1558.

The third phase named as “direct cartography” gathers cartographic documents with more or less faint deformations.  This applies to Thomas Shaw’s map established during his visit to Tunisia in 1727.  The latter is the first exclusive map of the whole country.


 1. First phase: Tunisia of Bernardo Sylvano (1511)

The most transformation appropriate to Tunisia Sylvano is that of the affine transformation (6 Parameters) which the standard deviation of 22m is. The grid distortion Tunisia Sylvano rotates 21 ° with a Mesh Size of 20m. The scale is 1/3500

The scale and rotation are very different: the rotation is very high in the north-western Tunisia, at about 40 ° of rotation and a scale 1/3250 (-7.5%). While the southern region of Tunisia has a low turnover of 10.5 ° with a scale of 1/4750 (+35.3%).The two maps in isolines represent these approximations planimetric through new lines of scale and rotation.

 2. Second phase: Tunisia of Livio Sanuto (1558)

The most appropriate transformation Tunisia of  Sanuto is  the affine transformation (6 Parameters) which is the standard deviation of 33m. The grid distortion Tunisia Sanuto has a rotation of 13 °, a rotation lower than Sylvano, with a grid of 20m.

The scale is 1/11000

The rotation is very high in southern Tunisia especially in Djerba, to 30.5 ° rotation and a scale of 1/12000 (+12.2%). While the northern region especially in Bizerte Tunisia has a very low or negligible rotation of 0.1 ° with a scale of 1/10500 (-3.5%).

 3. Third phase: Tunisia of Tomas Shaw(1727)

The transformation was most appropriate that the lowest value of standard deviation for Tunisia Shaw is the Helmert transformation (4 Parameters) whose standard deviation is 16 m. The distortion grid of Tunisia Shaw has a negligible rotation of 1 ° with mesh size of 20m. The scale is 1/370.

The rotation is very high in northern Tunisia Bizerte to 13 ° and a scale of 1/3720 (+0.4%).
While the southern region of Tunisia has a low turnover of 0.6 ° with a scale of 1/3710 (+0.2%).




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Ultimo aggiornamento Sabato 24 Agosto 2013 11:48

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