A conference taking place next spring in Belgium: Mercator Revisited: Cartography in the Age of Discovery runs from April 25 to 28, 2012, in Sint-Niklass, to mark Mercator’s 500th birthday. “The conference focuses on the place of cartography in general and of Mercator in specific in the 16th century. … This Age of Discovery presented mapmakers with both unprecedented opportunity and scientific obligation to collect, record and categorise the world ‘as it was’. At the same time, the greatest mapmakers of the era were also scientists, craftsmen and humanists influenced by international politics, science and philosophy. Their maps not only reflect the factual discoveries of the time but also the environments within which the maps were produced.” Via MapHist and @jpmaps.
History of Cartography
The Irish Times has a review of If Maps Could Speak, a memoir by the former director of the Irish Ordnance Survey, Richard Kirwan, which the Times calls “[f]ascinating, lyrical, [and] affecting in its candour.”
On MapHist, Waldo Tobler (yes, him) announced that his 1972 translation of J. H. Heinrich’s 1772 work, Anmerkungen und Zusätze zur Entwerfung der Land- und Himmelscharten (Notes and Comments on the Composition of Terrestrial and Celestial Maps), is being reprinted in a new edition by Esri Press.
GSU Magazine, which I think is the alumni magazine of Georgia State University, has a short article about geographer Jeremy Crampton’s research on the work of cartographers in the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor of the CIA) during World War II. Note the cameo appearance by Arthur Robinson. Via MapHist.
Peter Watts (the British journalist, not the Canadian science fiction writer) pours cold water on the urban myth that Phyllis Pearsall walked 3,000 miles of London streets — repeated by yours truly as well as many others — to create the famous A to Z map of the city. He quotes Peter Barber, head of the British Library’s map department, who calls the story “complete rubbish”: Pearsall’s father had produced map books of London, which, Barber believes, Pearsall simply updated. The story was an exercise in marketing and myth-making — an effective one, if we’re still repeating it decades later. Via @HodderGeography.
Cartographers were still using pen and paper in the 1980s, Penny reports. “I arrived at college in 1984 with my electric typewriter and a bit of BASIC learned in high school. I was a geography major, and learned to make maps in a cartography lab with vellum, ink, light tables, X-acto knives, and rub-on letters.” The above photo, of LSE Geography Department cartographer Eunice Wilson, was taken in 1984. Another photo from the LSE, also featured in Penny’s curated Flickr gallery of women and maps, shows computer-based cartography only two years later. Via Cartographie.
Kuntspedia has put online an electronic version of My Head Is a Map, a 1973 festschrift honouring map dealer R. V. Tooley, with essays on the history of map-making and map collecting. It’s also available for download as an e-book,… • Continue reading this entry.
Grough reports that the Ordnance Survey has made two previously published official histories of the organization available online: A History of the Ordnance Survey, published in 1980, and Ordnance Survey: Mapmakers to Britain Since 1791, published in 1992. Previously: The… • Continue reading this entry.
Zachary Forest Johnson provides “a quick outline of the first maps created with six common cartographic symbologies. … The six symbologies are the classic thematic cartography representation methods: choropleth, proportional symbol, dot density, flow, isarithmic, and cartogram.” Only one of… • Continue reading this entry.
The Daily Mail looks at more than two centuries of the Ordnance Survey, contrasting old maps with the present day — and noting how many familiar features can be found on the Survey’s older map series. Via GeoCarta…. • Continue reading this entry.
First broadcast in 1991, the six-part PBS documentary series The Shape of the World has apparently not been available on DVD since, but it looks like a DVD set is being released next month. Buy The Shape of the… • Continue reading this entry.
Four Courts Press announces the publication of J. H. Andrews’s Maps in Those Days: Cartographic Methods Before 1850, which addresses the question of “what early cartographers actually did. … It deals with non-thematic maps of all kinds and of… • Continue reading this entry.
Articles from The Map Collector, a quarterly magazine published between 1977 and 1996, are being reprinted on Kuntspedia. About 30 or so articles so far; I don’t know where to begin. Via MapHist…. • Continue reading this entry.
A copy of a 16th-century atlas of England and Wales by Christopher Saxton is being auctioned at Southeby’s this week, the Yorkshire Post reports; the atlas is expected to fetch a quarter of a million dollars or so. For more… • Continue reading this entry.
Razón Cartografica’s aim is to promote the history of geography and cartography in Colombia and Latin America. The first issue of its bulletin is here; there’s also a blog. In Spanish, of course, so I can’t say much more about… • Continue reading this entry.
Rhumb Lines and Map Wars: A Social History of the Mercator Projection by Mark Monmonier University of Chicago Press, 2004. Hardcover, 238 pp. ISBN 0-226-53431-6 Rhumb Lines and Map Wars is Mark Monmonier’s response to the controversy over the Mercator… • Continue reading this entry.
The History of Cartography in a Nutshell, an astonishing single-paragraph article by Professor Vladimiro Valerio. From the introductory editor’s note: “About five years ago Professor Valerio was asked to prepare a short article on the history of cartography for a… • Continue reading this entry.
The 2007 Sandars Lectures, Conversations with Maps: World Views in Early Modern Europe, were given by Sarah Tyacke last March; the text of her three lectures, and accompanying slides, are now available online as PDF files. Via MapHist…. • Continue reading this entry.
The South African Mail and Guardian reviews a collection of essays edited by Norman Etherington, Mapping Colonial Conquest: Australia and Southern Africa: “By probing the ‘secret histories’ encoded in maps, which continue to influence the political, legal, social and… • Continue reading this entry.
Seymour I. Schwartz, author of five books on the history of cartography,* is pledging his collection to the University of Virginia, which, in turn, is naming its map room in his honour today. About 50 of those 225 maps… • Continue reading this entry.
I’ve been spending some time reading through Matthew Edney’s annotated bibliography of scholarly literature on the history of cartography; a new revision went online at the Coordinates web site last week. The list is bigger than some of my comprehensive… • Continue reading this entry.
Map historian Peter van der Krogt has compiled a database of articles on the history of cartography from scholarly journals. “Originally that was intended for private use as an list of the articles in my own library. Later I started… • Continue reading this entry.
A tutorial on the history of cartography from professors at the University of Passau. A slide-based general overview, originally in German but translated into several other languages including English; some sections aren’t yet complete. It ends too soon: in the… • Continue reading this entry.
Thomas Klöti passes on links to the home pages of the Swiss-based Cartographica Helvetica, a German-language journal about the history of cartography, and the forthcoming International Conference on the History of Cartography, which takes place in Berne in July 2007…. • Continue reading this entry.
Last December, I reported on the massive History of Cartography Project, an expensive, comprehensive multivolume series, the first volume of which came out in 1987. The project was founded by J. B. Harley and David Woodward. Harley died in 1991…. • Continue reading this entry.