Unsolved Mysteries of the Portolans
Technology, the New Research Tool
It may be that new technology will make some avenues of research easier, for example the comparison of handwriting on different portolan charts. And perhaps computer technology will lead to new research. Possibly, with a computer one map can be superimposed on another which is hundreds of miles away; it may be feasible to enhance areas of a portolan chart as needed for legibility; the computer may provide new possibilities for research. New approaches are always welcome. The answers to some mysteries about portolan charts may well be found by some computer operator (with a librarian peeking over his or her shoulder). For example, the superimposed images of Antilia might help scholars who want to compare portolan charts. The new technology might be extremely helpful in solving some of the nagging questions that surround the 1424 Nautical Chart.
Two things are certain: reproductions will never replace the "real thing," and computers will never replace "real researchers." And that is as it should be!