The largest map of India produced before the trigonomentrical survey
By ARROWSMITH, Aaron , 1820

To The Hon[oura]ble the Court Directors of the East India Company This Improved Map of India Compiled from all the Latest & most Authentic Materials Is Respectfully Dedicated by their most Obedient & most Humble Servant A. Arrowsmith.

Asia India
  • Author: ARROWSMITH, Aaron
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Published by A. Arrowsmith, Hydrographer to his Majesty, No. 10 Soho Square
  • Publication date: 2nd January, 1816.
  • Physical description: Large engraved map, on nine sheets, joined as four, fine original full-wash colour, key sheet, inset of the Punjab.
  • Dimensions: 2400 by 2670mm (94.5 by 105 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1073


Arrowsmith’s monumental wall map of India on nine sheets.

With the growing influence of the British in India at the end of the eighteenth century, the need for an up-to-date general map of the sub-continent grew. The first Governor-General, Warren Hastings, employed Major Rennell who, in 1779, published his famous Bengal Atlas, followed up in 1788 by his map of India. The map itself was based upon D’Anville’s map of 1752, though enriched by much new material, supplied by the numerous “route surveys” carried out by the army.

As these “route surveys” began to become more numerous and accurate the need for a new general map of India soon became apparent. In 1816 Aaron Arrowsmith published his Map of India in nine sheets, on a scale of sixteen miles to an inch, which was the last great general map based on route surveys. His subsequent Atlas of South India, published in 1822, was based upon the trigonometrical surveys of Colonel Lambton, filled in by the officers of the Madras Institute.

Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823) was the finest cartographer of his generation. Although he received little formal education it is believed that he was taught some mathematical instruction by William Emerson, an author of several books on the application of mathematics to the area of cartography. Around 1770, Arrowsmith moved to London to seek employment. It is believed that he worked for William Faden before joining John Cary Sr. in the early 1780s. There he provided the measurements for John Cary’s early publication detailing the roads from London to Falmouth, his first signed work. Arrowsmith set up on his own in 1790 and over the next thirty years produced some of the most beautiful and elegant maps of the era.


  1. BLMC Maps K.Top. TAB.END.
  2. Maps of India 269, Handbook to the special loan collection of scientific apparatus 1876. Prepared at the request of the Lords of the Committee of council on education, London, Chapman & Hall.