Ancient maps are an important record of Koreans geographical knowledge through the ages. Most of the maps still in existence date from the Joseon period, although it has been suggested that maps were also around in Baek Jae as well as in the Go Gu Ryeo era of the Three Kingdoms. Maps were mentioned in ¡°Samguksagi¡±, an ancient history book that is no longer in existence.
In the first half of the period of Joseon, maps were needed to record territory boundaries. There is a map which covers 8 provinces called ¡®Pal Do Ji Do¡¯, also the Dong Kuk map is representative of maps in this period. In the latter period, the development of politics and economics meant that bigger, more precise maps were made. Science and technology also aided the creation of maps, and maps such as ¡°Dong Kuk Gi Do¡±, ¡°Chang Ku Do¡± and ¡°Dae Dong Yea Ji Do¡± were made in the latter period of Choseon.
The ¡°Honil Kangri Yeak Ddae Kuk Do Ji Do¡± map was made by collecting geographical information from all around the world, and a map called ¡°Cheon Ha Do¡±, which expresses a particularly imaginative view of the world, was also created.
There are many maps that have been recorded before the Joseon period, although none are still in existence. The Honil Kangri Yeok Dae Kuk Do Ji, dating from 1402, is the oldest map in the Orient, and pictures China in the center of the map, surrounded by the other continents. This was the only world map in existence until the ¡°Gonyeo Mankuk Jeon Do¡± of ¡®Mateo RiChi¡¯ was introduced to Korea in the 17th century. A copy of the map is kept in the Ryu Gokku university library in Japan. The map is 160cm wide and l30cm long, and displays freshwater lakes and rivers in azure, and salt water lakes in green. As the map was focused upon China and Korea, it doesn't pay great detail to Asia, Europe and Africa.
In the map of Cheon Ha Do, China is placed in the center of the continent, and imaginary countries have been drawn around the outside. Imaginary countries such as the land of women, the land of gentlemen, the land of human beings with 3 heads and 3 bodies, the land of short or tall people, the land of white people and the land of people who are immortal are displayed. This map is important as it shows the view of the world during this period. This map is similar to the map drawn upon the basis of Christianity, created in the medieval ages.
In the latter period of Joseon, maps were made by the actual measurements. The Dongkuk map is the first map made in this way, by a practical science scholar called Jeong Sang Ki. He contributed to the development of atlas by utilizing ¡®Cheok¡¯, a measuring unit to make the map.
The map of Cheong Ku Do was made by Mr. Jeong Ho Kim in 1834, and the map of ¡®Dae Dong Yea Ji Do¡¯ was based upon this. Mr. Jeong Ho Kim made the map of Dae Dong Yeo Ji in 1861 by making corrections to the map of Cheong Ku Do. The whole map consists of 22 booklets, and after making this map, Mr. Jeong Ho Kim made the map of ¡°Dae Dong Yeo Ji Do¡±. He made this map by traveling the country for 27 years, making accurate measurements along the way.
In the latter period of Joseon, many maps and geography booklets were produced, partly due to the development of industry and commerce, as well as the emergence of practical science. This made Korean people a lot more interested in their territory.