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Tycho Brahe and Cartography


Cartography was one of the sciences that interested Tycho Brahe and his assistants. While studying, Tycho had learned trigonometry and triangulation. In Germany, he had been in contact with cartographers, and he was to be the first Nordic person who carried out systematic measurements for producing maps. In 1579, he carried out triangle measurements between landmarks on Ven and on the mainland around the Öresund Sound. He determined the exact position for Uraniborg in relation to towns such as Elsinore, Landskrona, Helsingborg and Malmö.

There are four different maps of Ven that are known and drawn during Tycho's time. The first map was probably drawn shortly after Stjärneborg had been built. This one is currently at the National Library in Vienna. It shows Uraniborg, Stjärneborg, S:t Ibb's Church, the Kungsgården mansion and the village of Tuna. The ponds and the paper mill that were built around 1590 seem to have been drawn onto the map at a later stage. The second map was drawn in 1586, and was published in a German atlas of important places in the world - Civitates orbis tearrarum.

Later, Tycho printed improved maps of Ven in his books - Epistolarum astronomicarum libri and in the Mechanica. Tycho and his assistants were also engaged in a project to create an improved map over the Danish kingdom. This map was to be published in the Danish History that Anders Sörensson Vedel had been assigned to write, on the order of Fredrik II. To make the project possible, Tycho sent out assistants, Elias Morsing and Peder Flemlöse, to different parts of the kingdom to establish the latitude and longitude for different sites. A substantial volume of data was collected, but no map was ever produced. Tycho Brahe's archives also contain a map over his endowment Nordfjord in Norway.