The first technique for reproducing maps between the 15th and 17th century was the woodcut. All the items to be printed remained intact during the letterpress printing process while the rest was cut out of the plate by the woodcarver. As lettering was particularly difficult to cut, space was often left empty for it and cast letters added afterwards. Woodcut maps tend to look cruder and are not usually very detailed.
Picture: «Die erst Tafel innhaltend das Schweytzerlandt mit den anstossenden Laendern», Sebastian Münster, about 1598, e-rara