Arrowsmith, a prominent English map maker and publisher, had a reputation for producing accurate and updated maps. His world map published in 1794 specifically delineated the voyages of Capt. James Cook during the 1770s and according to the title, purported to include "all the recent discoveries to the present time."
Reflecting the accumulated knowledge gained from 18th-century voyages and explorations, the map provided a fairly good outline of all the continents, except for the Arctic coastline of North America. Unlike many of his 17th-century predecessors, Arrowsmith did not provide fictional information for unexplored areas or fill blank spaces with monsters or fanciful animals. Consequently, no continental land mass was indicated within the southern polar region and California was no longer shown as an island. In addition, the interior portions of western North America, Africa, and Australia were still relatively void of detail, setting the stage for further exploration during the 19th century.
In designing this map, Arrowsmith used the double hemisphere projection, which he labeled a globular projection, a term that is still used today to designate this type of projection. In contrast to his 17th- and 18th-century predecessors, he left the areas outside the spheres entirely blank except for minimal embellishments of the title cartouche at the top center. This cartouche included exquisite calligraphy and a globe next to the portrait of Cook. In addition, the dedication at the bottom center was placed below a portrait of Alexander Dalrymple, who was just appointed director of the newly-founded British Hydrographical Office and to whom the map was dedicated.