The Limits to Mapping

The Limits to Mapping,” a talk Matthew Edney gave at Yale University last week as part of the Franke Program series of lectures, is now available on YouTube.

Edney, who’s Osher Professor in the History of Cartography at the University of Southern Maine and the director of the History of Cartography Project (his name’s come up before), also has a new book coming out next year: Cartography: The Ideal and Its History (University of Chicago Press) is apparently an argument about how problematic cartography as an all-encompassing concept is, which ought to make for an interesting read.

Geographers on Film

Waldo Tobler

The Library of Congress’s Geographers on Film collection is a video archive of interviews with cartographers and geographers conducted during the 1970s and 1980s. About 300 interviews were apparently conducted; 28 are online so far. Interview subjects include Walter Ristow, Arthur Robinson (in 1972 and 1984) and Waldo Tobler, among others.

ISHMap Symposium in Portland, Maine

Registration is now open for the 2018 Symposium of the International Society for the History of the Map. It takes place from 21 to 23 June 2018 at the Osher Map Library in Portland, Maine, and it’s free to attend. (Like many academic events, registration is so that they have a number to plan for.) Here’s the preliminary program.

ISHMap is still in the middle of its constitutional crisis, which is affecting the organization of this conference; here are the unpleasant details from the perspective of the Edney faction, which is running the conference.

Previously: What the Hell Is Going On with the International Society for the History of the Map?

Tomlinson’s Ph.D. Thesis Now Available

James Cheshire reports that the Ph.D. thesis of the “father of GIS,” Roger Tomlinson, has been digitized. Tomlinson completed his thesis, “Geographical Information Systems, Spatial Data Analysis and Decision Making in Government,” at the University College London’s Department of Geography in 1974. It can be downloaded as a PDF at this link.

CCA Annual Conference in Ottawa

The Canadian Cartographic Association’s annual conference gets under way tomorrow at Carleton University in Ottawa. Here’s the conference program. It’s just an hour’s drive from where I live, and by all rights I should be attending, but I’ve been moving house all month and there’s no way I can spare the time. Best wishes to the conference organizers and attendees.

Cartographic Japan

cartographic-japanCartographic Japan: A History in Maps came out last month from the University of Chicago Press. It’s a collection of 58 academic essays edited by Kären Wigen, Sugimoto Fumiko and Cary Karacas (see the table of contents) that provide, in the words of the publisher, “close analysis of one hundred maps from the late 1500s to the present day, each one treated as a distinctive window onto Japan’s tumultuous history.” Amazon, iBooks. [WMS]

Upcoming Symposium: Reimagining the Globe and Cultural Exchange

Further to my post about China at the Center, the exhibition of rare maps now taking place at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco: Mark Stephen Mir, who wrote the exhibition catalogue’s chapter on the Verbiest map, writes to share the following about a symposium coming up later this month: Reimagining the Globe and Cultural Exchange: From the World Maps of Ricci and Verbiest to Google Earth

The Ricci Institute is hosting a series of events connected with our exhibition China at the Center at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. One of these events is an international symposium held at the University of San Francisco April 22-24 with extra events at the AAM and in the Manresa Gallery on the USF campus. The topic of the symposium concerns the history of East-West scientific exchange through the medium of cartography beginning with ancient maps and continuing to the present with the latest technological innovations. Internationally known specialists in cartography and East-West cultural exchange will be invited to share their research, while experts from Google and NASA will discuss the latest technological developments in enriching our knowledge of the world and the cosmos.

Registration on-site is $85, or free for students and USF faculty and staff. The program has been posted online (PDF).

Previously: China at the Center.

International Workshop on Portolan Charts

maggiolo-portolan
Vesconte Maggiolo, Portolan chart, 1541. Kartenabteilung der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. Reproduced from Wikimedia Commons.

The program for the First International Workshop on the Origin and Evolution of Portolan Charts, which takes place 5-6 June 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal, is now live. The conference focuses on the history of portolan charts and the analytical techniques used to study them. [via]

Conference on GIS and Ancient History

Mapping the Past: GIS Approaches to Ancient History, a conference hosted by the Ancient World Mapping Center (the folks behind the Barrington Atlas), takes place at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from 7 to 9 April 2016. It’s open to the public. Here’s the full schedule. [via]

Previously: Antiquity à la Carte.

‘A Form of Cartophobia’

Benjamin Hennig calls on social scientists to “rediscover maps and other forms of geographical visualization”:

It is interesting to consider how far the discipline of human geography appears to have distanced itself from maps over recent times, resulting almost in a form of cartophobia. Several papers over the last years showed a decline in map use and mapping practices in high-profile geographic journals. Cartographic skills as a natural expertise of a geographer seems to have vanished in many places, as have the theoretical and practical elements of geographic data visualization. Do many geographers ‘prefer to write theory rather than employ critical visualizations’, as Perkins (2004: 385) notes?

Best Maps from the Journal of Maps

TJOM_Best_Map_2015Since 2008 the online Journal of Maps has been giving an award to the “best map” published in its virtual pages; 2015’s winner is a map of municipalities in the Czech Republic created by Vít Pászto, Alžběta Brychtová, Pavel Tuček, Lukáš Marek and Jaroslav Burian for their article “Using a fuzzy inference system to delimit rural and urban municipalities in the Czech republic in 2010.” Past winners are available for purchase as prints (of various sizes). [via]

The Journal of Maps launched in 2005. I believe it was open-access at that point; since coming under the umbrella of Taylor & Francis in 2012, it no longer appears to be.

Adventures in Academic Cartography

Pulling back the academic veil can be fascinating. I remember one day 25 years ago in my first year of university, when my history professor paused to tell us about his current research project (a biography of an early 20th-century French politician). For a half hour he held the class rapt as he detailed the long effort required to nail down one specific detail in his subject’s life. For me it was a revelation: history was detective work, and therefore exciting stuff. That may have been the moment that sent me to graduate school in history (and not just me—that professor generated more graduate students than anyone else in that department).

monmonier-adventures I was reminded of that day as I was reading Mark Monmonier’s memoir, Adventures in Academic Cartography, which does much the same thing as my prof did back then: pull back the veil to reveal an entire academic career that was hidden from our view. Monmonier is a familiar name to those of us interested in maps, having published a dozen books—scholarly, erudite but accessible to the lay reader—over the years. (I’ve reviewed three of them myself: How to Lie with Maps, his essential text on how maps persuade and deceive; Rhumb Lines and Map Wars, a look at the politicization of the Mercator projection; and From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow, on the politics and controversies behind place names.) But, like my professor, we are largely aware of only one aspect of his career: in Monmonier’s case, the books. Adventures in Academic Cartography, which he self-published in the fall of 2014, fills in the blanks.

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