Maps made by children are interesting enough; maps made by children who went on to be professional cartographers—that’s something else altogether, as All Over the Map’s Betsy Mason shows. Because you know they all did that, when they were kids. (And no, before you ask, I don’t think any of my childhood cartography still survives.)
Engraved in Copper: The Art of Mapping Minnesota opened this week at the University of Minnesota’s Elmer L. Andersen Library. “This exhibit highlights unique engraved copper plates used to print topographic maps of Minnesota in the early 1900s, surveying and mapmaking techniques, and government documents related to the process. The plates are part of the evolution of government mapping and the history of the United States Geological Survey, from early mapping efforts to Geographic Information Systems.” Runs until 22 May.
Official highway maps—paper highway maps—are still a thing: the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot has a profile of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s sole cartographer, Dwayne Altice, who’s responsible for the biennial updates to that state’s official transportation map. Includes some interesting behind-the-scenes detail about how the map is made—and how it used to be made (layers and layers of film). [WMS]
Caitlin at Geo Lounge on pantographs: “Before the use of computers to replicate and manipulate maps, a pantograph was one of the ways used to either reduce or enlarge the size of a map while reproducing an accurate copy of the original map.” I did not know about pantographs—they seem to have been widely used in drawing and diagramming. Maps too, it would seem.
My last post was about engraved copper plates used in map printing. To understand the relationship between printed maps and the plates that print them (woodblock, copper plate or lithographic stone), see Tony Campbell’s article, “Understanding Engraved Maps,” reprinted at his indispensable Map History/History of Cartography site.
The British Library has acquired nine engraved copper plates, used to print maps of India for the East India Company in the late 18th and early 19th century, from a scrap metal dealer. Another plate had been acquired in 1988 from a Norfolk farmer, who had intended to use it as a mudguard for his tractor. The plates were apparently diverted to the scrap metal trade during a move in 1860; how they managed to avoid being melted down for their copper in the intervening 150 years is a minor miracle. Daily Mail. [WMS]
Previously: Copper Plates Used to Make Topo Maps on Display.
The Michigan State University Map Library now has on display three copper plates used to make the 1912 USGS topographic map of the Lansing, Michigan area. “From the 1880s to the 1950s, the U.S. Geological Survey used engraved copper plates in the process of printing topographic and geographic quadrangle maps. Copper alloy engraving plates were inscribed with a mirror image of the points, contour lines, symbols, and text that constitute a topographic map. Each plate was inscribed with details for a single color of ink.” [via]