During World War I, Australian troops staying at nearby Hurdcott Camp carved a gigantic map of Australia into a Wiltshire hillside. Chalk gravel was used to fill shallow trenches to create an outline map some 150 feet wide with 18-foot-tall letters. Since then, despite a restoration in the 1950s and its designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the map has faded, but for the past four years the Map of Australia Trust has been working on restoring the map. It was finished in time for Armistice Day. More from BBC News (video) and Historic England. [Jonathan Potter]
This huge star map tapestry is the work of Australian maker Sarah Spencer, who created it by hacking a 1980s-era knitting machine. Yes, this thing was knitted: it apparently took more than 100 hours and 15 kg (33 lbs) of (locally sourced Australian) wool to produce this 4.6×2.8-metre (15×9-foot) monster, which is accurate (with the caveat that an equatorial projection distorts familiar circumpolar constellations) and reasonably detailed: the constellations are labelled and the stars’ apparent magnitude is indicated. Space.com has the story. [Boing Boing]
Earlier this week I told you about President Kennedy’s map of Cuba. Now here’s a piece on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s globe from the Library of Congress’s map blog.
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.
Lots of interesting detail in this piece. Three globes were made, under the direction of Arthur Robinson (yes, that Robinson) who during the Second World War directed the map division of the OSS: the other two went to Winston Churchill and General George C. Marshall. Roosevelt’s globe is now at his presidential library. [WMS]
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.
A 3D digital map of the castle has also been announced, but it does not seem to be online.
Regrettably, Shetland is not included on the map. Nobody tell Tavis Scott.
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]
McMaster University’s Daily News has a piece on a large-scale map of Vimy Ridge—a World War I battle fought by Canadian troops that has since entered the national folklore—that reproduced from McMaster’s extensive collection of trench maps. The map, created by Canadian Geographic and 17 × 13 feet in size, is currently on display in the foyer of the university’s Mills Library, but it’s been on tour for at least the past year: the Vimy Ridge map is one of several giant floor maps produced by Canadian Geographic’s education division; each can be booked for a three-week loan period. [WMS]
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 U.S. military uses a huge floor map of Washington, D.C. to plan for presidential inaugurations, as the Tech Insider video above shows. According to this, it’s used by the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, a joint-service organization that provides military ceremonial support. (See this U.S. Army article from 2012 about the 2013 inauguration, and this 2008 Pruned blog post about the 2009 inauguration.) [Tim Wallace]
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]
How about that. The Electric Map of Gettysburg, now installed at the Hanover Heritage Conference Center in Hanover, PA, is opening tomorrow as scheduled. I should never have doubted them. [WMS]
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]
Previously: The Return of the Electric Map.
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]