The “President’s Globe” is big—really big and important. Weighing in at a whopping 750 pounds and sized at an impressive 50 inches in diameter, the globe was specially designed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt for use during World War II. The massive representation of the earth helped the president gauge distances over water to allocate personnel and material in support of the war effort against the Axis Powers of Germany, Japan, and Italy. This feat of cartographic history was given as a Christmas present to the president in 1942, and he placed the globe directly behind his office chair, often referring to it during his workday.
The Great Polish Map of Scotland, a giant concrete relief map 50 metres by 40 metres in size, was the brainchild of Jan Tomasik, a hotelier and former Polish Army soldier who was stationed in Scotland during the Second World War. He envisioned the map as a monument to Scotland’s hospitality to the visiting Polish soldiers. The map, designed and built by visiting academics from Kraków’s Jagiellonian University, was completed in 1979; it stands on the grounds of Barony Castle Hotel in Eddleston, which Tomasik had bought in 1968.
The hotel closed in 1985 (for a while), and the map began to deteriorate. In 2010 a campaign began to restore the map, which proved successful: the restored version of the map, complete with water surrounding the Scottish land mass, was unveiled to the public last Thursday, in the presence of the Scottish culture secretary and Polish diplomats.
I’ve mentioned Canadian Geographic’s giant floor maps, which are loaned out to schools and come with additional teaching materials, before (namely, the Vimy Ridge map). Now CTV News takes a look at another one of their maps, this one focusing on Canada’s political system and improving students’ “democratic literacy.” It’s called Route 338, and it’s a 10.7×7.9m (35′×26′) floor map of Canada showing the boundaries of its 338 federal electoral districts. Route 338 is a collaboration between Canadian Geographic Education and CPAC (the Canadian equivalent of C-SPAN). [CAG]
Atlas Obscura has the story of Guatemala’s Mapa en Relieve, an exaggerated-relief 3D relief model of the country. The 1:10,000-scale horizontal, 1:2,000-scale vertical map is approximately 1,800 square metres in area and made of concrete. Built by Francisco Vela and put on display in 1905, the map includes present-day Belize as part of Guatemala, which claimed the British Honduras at that time. It kind of reminds me of British Columbia’s Challenger Map, only a half-century older and made of concrete rather than wood. [WMS]
The Industry of Socialism is a giant, 5.9×4.5-metre map of the Soviet Union made from more than 4,500 gemstones. It made its first appearance in 1937 at the Paris Exposition, where the Soviet and Nazi German pavilions squared off against one another. It subsequently appeared, with updates, at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. The map continued to be updated to reflect the USSR’s territorial expansion through the 1940s. Recently restored (its original textolite base was insufficent to the task of supporting the map’s three-ton weight, and has been replaced with Italian shale), it now resides at the A. P. Karpinsky Russian Geological Research Institute (VSEGEI) in St. Petersburg.
Most of the pages about The Industry of Socialism are in Russian. The VSEGEI page is full of detail and photos and responds well to Google Translate; there are several LiveJournal entries that are based on this material. For pages in English, see this page and this page for photos, as well as this RT story. [Maps on the Web]
The problem with big maps—the Electric Map of Gettysburg, the B.C. Challenger Map—is that they’re exceedingly difficult to move when the time comes. Betsy Mason at All Over the Map reports that this is now the situation at the Boston Globe: since 1978 their headquarters has been the home of an 18-by-12-foot, four-ton marble map of New England that had originally been commissioned for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 1953. But now the cash-strapped Globe is moving to smaller digs, and there isn’t room for the map. Boston’s a relative hotbed of map activity, so I’m hopeful it can find a home.
An exhibition at the Chidō Museum in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture features a huge (11 m × 5 m) mid-17th-century map of northeastern Japan, the Asahi Shimbun reports: “It is a copy of the Dewa Ikkoku no Ezu picture map, which was jointly compiled by feudal domains controlling the region stretching from today’s Yamagata Prefecture to neighboring Akita Prefecture.” [WMS]
The Electric Map of Gettysburg, now residing at the Hanover Heritage and Conference Center in Hanover, PA, is slated to open to the public in June. The Center will hold a public event on 3 June; if all goes well, the map program will open the following night. A director, responsible for the historical programming, has also been hired. See the announcement on Faceboook. [WMS]
The Electric Map of the Battle of Gettysburg, once a mainstay of Gettysburg National Military Park, closed in 2008; in 2012 it was purchased at auction for $14,000 by Scott Roland, a businessman who planned to reopen it as a tourist attraction in downtown Hanover, Pennsylvania, about 16 miles east of Gettysburg. Renovating and reassembling the map has taken Roland longer than he originally expected, the Evening Sun reports, but he believes the map will be ready by the end of the school year. [via]