Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography

The Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography takes place from 19 to 21 October 2017 at the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford University. Speakers include a number of graduate students—the conference’s focus is on emerging scholars—as well as Connectography author Parag Khanna, who’s giving the keynote, and Chet Van Duzer, who’s giving a talk on the fear of blank spaces on early modern maps—something I’m very much interested in. [WMS]

Women and Cartography in the Progressive Era

Christina E. Dando’s Women and Cartography in the Progressive Era (Routledge) came out earlier this month. From the publisher: “As women became more mobile (physically, socially, politically), they used and created geographic knowledge and maps. […] Long overlooked, this women’s work represents maps and mapping that today we would term community or participatory mapping, critical cartography and public geography. These historic examples of women-generated mapping represent the adoption of cartography and geography as part of women’s work. […] This study explores the implications of women’s use of this technology in creating and presenting information and knowledge and wielding it to their own ends.” [WMS]

Amazon | iBooks

Related: Map Books of 2017.

A Brief History of Maps

Distilling the entire three-thousand-year history of maps and mapmaking into a 2,400-word article seems awfully hubristic, but Clive Thompson’s piece for the July 2017 issue of Smithsonian Magazine gives it a try, tying everything together right from the outset:

Is it possible that today’s global positioning systems and smartphones are affecting our basic ability to navigate? Will technology alter forever how we get around?

Most certainly—because it already has. Three thousand years ago, our ancestors began a long experiment in figuring out how they fit into the world, by inventing a bold new tool: the map.

[Tony Campbell]

Miscellaneous Globes

Random and miscellaneous globe items:

Roy Frederic Heinrich, "James Wilson, the Vermont globe-maker, Bradford, Vermont, 1810." Library of Congress.
Roy Frederic Heinrich, illustration of James Wilson, n.d. Library of Congress.

James Wilson was America’s first globe maker; his Bradford, Vermont-based globe factory opened in 1813. Geolounge points to the above illustration of Wilson, undated but from the early 20th century, by Roy Frederic Heinrich.

Dennis Townsend, "Townsend's Patent Folding Globe," 1869. Norman B. Leventhal Map Center.
Dennis Townsend, “Townsend’s Patent Folding Globe,” 1869. Norman B. Leventhal Map Center.

The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center: “Dennis Townsend, a Vermont schoolteacher, created this collapsible, portable, and inexpensive paper globe for students as an alternative to the large, more expensive globes available mainly in schools and libraries.”

In my post about old British films about globemaking I said, “These films fascinate me because they describe a kind of globemaking—layers of plaster, paper globe gores, and varnish—that I don’t think happens any more.” On The Map Room’s Facebook page, a commenter replied that Lander and May use the same methods today. Handmade by Chris Adams, these artisanal globes appear to be closer in class and price to Bellerby than to Replogle.

Finally, via the Washington Map Society’s Facebook page, news that a book about 17th- and 18th-century cartographer and globemaker Vincenzo Coronelli, Marica Milanesi’s Vincenzo Coronell Cosmographer, 1650-1718, is now available, though apparently not easily.

Cartography at the CIA

oss-globe

The CIA has posted a short institutional history of its Cartography Center, which reaches back before the CIA was created: in 1941 the Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI), which was replaced by the CIA’s forerunner, the OSS, hired a young graduate student named Arthur Robinson to start its cartography section. Small world.

Another CIA page looks at its first female cartographer, Marion Frieswyk, whom Robinson recruited in 1942.

The CIA also has a Flickr account, where they’ve posted a number of their maps in various albums sorted by decade (all of which are labelled “Cartography Maps,” which sounds dumb until you realize they probably mean Cartography Center Maps). I think the Cartography Tools album is even more interesting than the maps.

A Japanese Cartography Update

cartographic-japanIn the Los Angeles Review of Books, Miriam Kingsberg reviews Cartographic Japan: A History in Maps (University of Chicago Press, March 2016), a collection of essays on the history of Japanese mapmaking edited by Kären Wigen, Sugimoto Fumiko and Cary Karacas (see previous entry). “Cartographic Japan constitutes a significant addition to the academic literature on the history of Japanese mapping. Much like the works it describes, the volume may also be treasured as a piece of art and collector’s item in its own right.” Amazon, iBooks. [WMS]

Meanwhile, a seventeenth-century map of a legendary Japanese fortress has been discovered in a museum’s collection of paintings, the Asahi Shimbun reports. [WMS]

After the Map

after-the-mapWilliam Rankin’s After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century is out this month from the University of Chicago Press (AmazoniBooks). The book’s website explains in depth what it’s about, and makes all the book’s illustrations and data available for free download. [GIS Lounge]

This book can be read at two scales. Narrowly, it is a history of the mapping sciences in the twentieth century that situates technologies like GPS within a longer trajectory of spatial knowledge. But more expansively, by connecting geographic knowledge to territorial politics and new ways of navigating the world, it is also a political and cultural history of geographic space itself.

I’ve posted a few of Rankin’s earlier projects for the Radical Cartography website on The Map Room; see for example City Income Donuts and The World’s Population by Latitude and Longitude.

See also: Map Books of 2016.

A-Z at 80

Geographers' A-Z Map Company
Geographers’ A-Z Map Company

The Geographers’ A-Z Map Company, which produces the iconic A-Z Maps line, is marking its 80th anniversary this year by posting a series of photos of company memorabilia—they plan 80 photos over 80 days. So far I’m particularly fascinated by the mapmaking tools and processes, like this scribing tool, this type layer and these negatives—all from the time when maps were photo typeset (only three decades ago!). [WMS]

The Origins of North at the Top of Maps

BBC Future’s Caroline Williams explores the following question: why do modern maps have north at the top? “Given such a long history of human map-making, it is perhaps surprising that it is only within the last few hundred years that north has been consistently considered to be at the top.” Early European maps had east at the top (orientation is derived from orient, or east); Islamic maps faced south. When maps changed to north-at-top is difficult to pinpoint, or at least the article has difficulty in doing so, but it came relatively late in history. (Thanks to Denis Dooley for the link.)

The Great Lines Project

With the Great Lines Project, Karen Rann explores the history and origins of the contour line. In addition to her rather heavily illustrated blog, there’s a related exhibition, the Great Lines Exhibition (naturally enough), which opens today at the Lit & Phil (Literary and Philosophical Society) in Newcastle. Free admission. Details here and here. [WMS]

Update, 9 June: More from CityLab.

Worldly Consumers and the Historical Accessibility of Maps

worldly-consumersI have a longstanding interest in the extent to which people throughout history could access cultural production: books, music and so forth. Essentially, the economics of cultural life. So when I was poking around the University of Chicago Press website last month (previously), I was very interested to stumble across a book that came out last year: Genevieve Carlton’s Worldly Consumers: The Demand for Maps in Renaissance Italy (Amazon, iBooks), which examines the ways in which private individuals had access to maps. As you can imagine, very relevant to my interests.

It’s certainly not the only book relevant to those interests. There’s Susan Schulten’s and Martin Brückner’s work, of course; and I should also take a look at Christine Marie Petto’s When France Was King of Cartography: The Patronage and Production of Maps in Early Modern France (Amazon, iBooks). Expensive monographs all; methinks I need a university library card.

Previously: The Social Life of Maps.

Maps and Civilization, Fourth Edition

While poking around the University of Chicago Press website yesterday, I noticed that a fourth edition of Norman J. W. Thrower’s history of cartography textbook, Maps and Civilization: Cartography in Culture and Society, is due out this month: Amazon. The changes from the third edition (Amazon, iBooks) appear to be limited: “For the fourth edition of Maps and Civilization, Thrower has added an additional chapter that serves to bring the volume completely up to date.” My gaps in cartographic knowledge are such that I’ve never read this book; this may be an opportunity to rectify that.