First edition of De L'Isle's important map of the Southern Hemisphere, first published in 1714.
De L'Isle's map is an important early map of the South Polar regions, which would become the standard base map for French and Dutch map makers for much of the 18th Century, being copied by Covens & Mortier, Buache, Dezauche and others.
De L'Isle's map is noteworthy for its meticulous depiction of the routes of the major voyages of exploration in the 16th and 17th Centuries, including Magellan (1520), the first and second routes of Mendaña (1568 and 1595), Quiros and Gallegos (1616), Le Maire (1616), Halley (1700), Dampier (1700), S. Louis (1708) and Tasman (1642).
Early primitive coastlines are shown for New Zealand and Australia, along with some speculative lands in the south polar regions, one of which is noted as land discovered by "Davis Anglois."
Guillaume De L'Isle (1675-1726) is probably the greatest figure in French cartography. Having learned geography from his father Claude, by the age of eight or nine he could draw maps to demonstrate ancient history. He studied mathematics and astronomy under Cassini, from whom he received a superb grounding in scientific cartography—the hallmark of his work. His first atlas was published in ca. 1700. In 1702 he was elected a member of the Academie Royale des Sciences and in 1718 he became Premier Geographe du Roi.
De L'Isle's work was important as marking a transition from the maps of the Dutch school, which were highly decorative and artistically-orientated, to a more scientific approach. He reduced the importance given to the decorative elements in maps, and emphasized the scientific base on which they were constructed. His maps of the newly explored parts of the world reflect the most up-to-date information available and did not contain fanciful detail in the absence of solid information. It can be fairly said that he was truly the father of the modern school of cartography at the commercial level.
De L’Isle also played a prominent part in the recalculation of latitude and longitude, based on the most recent celestial observations. His major contribution was in collating and incorporating this latitudinal and longitudinal information in his maps, setting a new standard of accuracy, quickly followed by many of his contemporaries. Guillaume De L’Isle’s work was widely copied by other mapmakers of the period, including Chatelain, Covens & Mortier, and Albrizzi.