Cosmographia was written by Peter Apian (or Petrus Apianus in the more common Latin version of his name), and was such a popular text that it eventually went through 45 separate editions. In Cosmographia, Apianus gave for lay readers an introduction to the discipline of cosmography, which blended concepts in astronomy, astrology, navigation, cartography, geography, and instrument design in order to plot the positions of astronomical and terrestrial masses (such as stars, planets, or continents).
Apianus discussed many basic elements of cosmography in his work, illustrating them so that a beginners in the field could easily understand. Here, he plays with a visual analogy: geography is similar to drawing the whole head; chorography (or topography) is similiar to looking closely at the detail of an eye or ear. Apianus introduces several practical ways to measure distance, such as these illustrating how to measure by using one’s hands or by paces.