De Jode's rare map of North America is the first full folio size atlas map to focus on North America and is preceded only by the separately issued Forlani/Zaltieri map of 1565.
As noted by Burden:
De Jode drew on the eighteen sheet world map by Petrus Plancius of 1592 for the outline of North America. This was just the second printed map to encompass this area, the Forlani of 1565 being the first. Porcacchi's map of 1572 was a direct reduction of the Zaltieri. . . The map is most renowned for its first use of the two maps published by Theodore de Bry in 1590 and 1591, after John White and Jacques le Moyne respectively. But his use of them was not entirely accurate, the middle Atlantic coast is placed some 4° to 6° too far north resulting in Chesipooc Sinus (Chesapeake Bay) being placed at the same latitude as present day southern Maine. C.de las arenas, depicted on a number of earlier maps often by another name, most probably represents Cape Hatteras. It had always been given a latitude of about 38° to 40° dating as far back as Giacomo Gastaldi's Tierra Nueva, 1548; here it is placed even further north when it is in reality 35°. When Richard Hakluyt in 1587 placed Virginia on his map he correctly positioned it above this point. In 1590 de Bry published John White's map of Virginia, noticeably without latitudinal markings; that more detailed cartography was placed above the inaccurate but longer lived Cape Arenas by de Jode. This pushed the entire coastline further northwards, adding to the confusion.The map includes many remarkable early cartographic details. The depiction of the double Northwest passage is bold an unmistakable. The course of the St. Lawrence River, flowing across the continent to Texas is equally bold. Cebola, the 7 cities paved in gold, are clearly depicted, and the detail in the Southwest and California are remarkable. A river flows inland from the Farallones and across the coastal range.
It was now 100 years since news of the discovery of these new lands reached Europe and although a large amount had been learnt, the coastline between Virginia and the Gulf of St. Lawrence particularty was poorly understood. A very direct North West Passage is shown running the length of the top of the map with a Lago de Conibas emptying into these waters. We find for the second time an inland lake in the west with a legend about Marcus Niza next to it. Its first appearance was in the Hakluyt map of 1587. The coastline of the Gulf of Mexico bears a feature similar to the mouth of the Mississippi as we know it, but is misplaced further east from the traditional depiction. The whole map is beautifully adorned with attractively denoted mountain ranges. Many legends appear, and in the lower left is an inset showing six natives of Virginia all derived from the drawings of John White. To the right of the title is a scene depicting the attack on Frobisher's vessel by native Indians.
The map is filled with annotations regarding early explorations in the New World, including discussions of Verazano, Cabot, Raleigh and others. An early mention of the Apaches is present, as is Lac Conibas, the early mythical great lake which appears in Wytfliet's map of 1597. The Indian scene in the bottom right is derived from John White's report. The attack scene in the upper right is based upon Frobisher.
The problem that De Jode faced was how to combine geographical detail from two different primary sources, the French reports from maritime Canada and the English reports regarding the Carolinas, which contained many inconsistencies in the common regions treated by these two powers. Instead, when blended together, the result was the great contraction and misplacement of the region between Maine and Virginia, with the coastline depicted in an east-west orientation, with no real sense of Cape Cod, Long Island, New York or New Jersey and the Delaware Bay.
This map was prepared for the second edition of De Jode's Speculum Orbis Terrarum undertaken by Gerard de Jode and completed by his son, Cornelis, as the Speculum Orbis Terrae, published in Amsterdam in 1593. Although De Jode's map was a vastly superior map to Ortelius' map of North & South America, De Jode's atlas sold poorly and is the reason for the comparative rarity of de Jode's maps today.