JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 502
Actually, these maps are hardly maps of lunar nothingness--on the contrary, they are among the most detailed maps ever produced (to their times) of the lunar surface. The first, to the left, is by J.F. Julian Schmidt (1825-1894), who produced his monumental opus to close observation and ultra-tidy detail in Mondkarte in 1878, a spectacular map of the Moon in 25 contiguous sections, which surpassed all other earlier maps--it shows riles, contours, valleys and thousands of new craters, not to mention the fact that Schmidt also calculated the heights of more than 1000 mountain peaks. The map was produced with enormous precision by this careful observer, the lunar features presented in such a way as to be easily readable and extraordinarily detailed. It is this representation that gives the map an initially curious appearance of emptiness, when in fact the opposite is true. (For a very useful and illustrated timeline of lunar history, see the blogsite of Chuck Wood.).
The second example of nothingness is from William Pickering's (1858-1938) 1903 index map of the Moon, which was constructed from his careful photographic surveys, and offers a very precise rendering of the major features of the lunar surface. It was made to accompany his exhaustive The Moon : A Summary of the Existing Knowledge of our Satellite, an atlas published in New York in 1903. The outline map is another example of something that appears to be somewhat empty while holding a vast amount of information.
A little beyond the scope of these two maps is that of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), who in 1610 produced the first drawings* of the Moon made with the benefit of a telescope. It was a shocking revelation for all those who saw it (when published in his Sidereus Nuncius, or "The Starry Messenger", which was also the first published treatise on the Moon) and I can only imagine what the common person with an average amount of scientific curiosity could've felt when seeing the image for the first time. It was mostly a map of nothing, but the details present were extraordinary and fantastic--they revealed undisputed features of the Moon, images of contours that had been only rendered via considerable eyestrain for thousands of years. It also showed peaks and mountains and other jagged stuff, which disproved the running theory that the Moon was a perfect sphere devoid of such things. And then here, in 1610, was the first "close-up" vision of this complex object that had been followed by billions of eyes for thousands of years--it just had to be shocking. It was mostly nothing, but the bits of something that were present were a phenomenal vision.
*(Before people start writing in about the chronology of Galileo and the "first" claim, I know that the issue is a little knotty and a little more complex than old Galileo being the first on the scene. William Gilbert--ultra-famous for things outside astronomy--drew an odd, wrong and surprisingly non-detailed map of the moon in 1603, though this wasn't published until after his death and a lot of other lunar-related stuff happened in 1651. There's also some recently re-discovered telescopic renderings of the Moon made in 1609/10 or so by the Englishman Thomas Harriot which are of the same quality as Galileo's. Within three years of the Galileo publication came the work of two astronomers on mapping the Moon: G. C. La Galla (publishing in Venice in 1612) and P. Christoph Scheiner (in Germany) between 1611 and 1613.)