Portolankarte around 1439 (Facsimile)
- Gabriel de Valsequa
- End of 19th century
Once the compass had become a commonly used navigation instrument, the first Portolan charts started being created as supporting material from the late 13th century. They were aligned with a compass according to the plotted lines –as a means of finding a course and reaching the destination port (Latin portus). The chart-makers combined oral, drawn and written information on coastlines, ports and distances to represent the known world at the time. The acts of surveying and mapping the earth can often be traced back to trade interests or the documenting or asserting of ownership.