With very few exceptions maps were first printed in the second half of the 15th century. Those in the Rudimentum novitiarum published at Lubeck in 1475 are from woodcuts, while the maps in the first two editions of Ptolemy published in Italy in 1472 are from copper plates. Wood engraving kept its ground for a considerable period, especially in Germany, but copper in the end supplanted it, and owing to the beauty and clearness of the maps produced.
Other types of old maps include portolan charts which were mostly made by the Portuguese, Spanish and French and used as practical navigation charts.
Our comprehensive collection of maps is now available below.
1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 17. pg. 633