18 Dec 2009

Christmas with the Comp (Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World)

Dig out your Sledge (Mississippi) and dig out your cheer, all around the Globe (Arizona) it’s Yule (Australia), Noel (Missouri), Navidad (Chile) - Christmas is here!

Don’t forget that
Santa (Peru) might like a Beer (Somalia) on his way from the North Pole (Arctic) to Ho Ho Bay (NZ). Remember to give a Carrot (Canada) to his Reindeer (Canada) Rudolph (Wisconsin), Comet (Australia), Donner und Blitzen (Oregon) to keep their Antlers (Oklahoma) Strong (Arkansas).

If it’s
Chilli (Russia) and Snowy (Australia), the fire might need a Log (Slovenia) or two – St Nicolaas (Aruba) isn’t Frostproof (Florida). But, be Sûre (Lux.) to let it go out, leaving Burntwood (Canada) before hanging up your Stocking (Austria) on the Mantel (German). Put a Candle (Alaska) on your Evergreen (Alabama) - or is it a Spruce Pine (N Carolina)? Then make it look Nice (France) with Silver (Texas) and Gold (Pennsylvania) and of course a Star (Mississippi) on top.

For visitors who Come By Chance (Australia), make sure that you have Plenty (Canada) of Coole (France)
Champagné (Canada) and Pilsen (Czech Rep.) for a Pårte (Sweden). If you’re a Wiseman (Alaska) you’ll need to Drinkwater (Canada) on Boxing (China) Day (Russia) to help you recover. Also remember Sauce (Peru) for the Turkey (country) or Goose (N Dakota). Finally, children - eat one Brussels (Belgium) Sprott (Alabama) and you can have Chocolate Mountains (USA) for Pudong (China).

Happy (Texas)
Christmas Island (territory) from Collins (Mississippi) Geo.

Star (Mississippi).------...Ho Ho Bay (Snares I, NZ) ---Donner und Blitzen (USA)

All the place names (in bold) can be found in the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World which has a fully cross-referenced index to over 200,000 features. This is a subset of
World Locator gazetteer our extensive geographical places and physical features names database which currently contains over 800,000 entries.

Elizabeth Donald, Information Editor, Collins Geo Newsroom.

17 Dec 2009

Thinking of Travel in 2010, Discover Hidden Europe

I first came across hidden europe magazine a few years ago and was impressed with the clear, readable, wide-ranging, advert-free, out-of-the-ordinary articles. The next issue will be the 30th since starting in March 2005. The magazine will be published three times a year in 2010 along with an electronic ‘teaser’ e-brief which is free and comes out thrice monthly.

Now they have started a notes section on their website, but don’t call it a blog – it’s “softer and gentler. Hard news, to be sure, but presented with that same quiet authority and perceptive insight that readers of hidden europe magazine have come to expect.”

So if you want to know more about Christmas shopping - Faroese style, bananas in Iceland or great travel myths then read their ‘notes’ and follow related stories for further details. If you’re looking for inspiration for travel in 2010, look at the past issues and subscribe to their magazine (a great Christmas gift).

And, of course always use a good atlas such as Collins Road Atlas Europe 2010 or the latest Times Concise Atlas of the World to help plan your adventure.

16 Dec 2009

Christmas Through the Cams

I’ve just been passed a great link to EarthCam, a portal with a huge worldwide network of streaming real-time web cams.

EarthCam for Christmas scenes, top 10 cams, editor’s choice or search using your own keywords.

My own Scottish related favourites are the mystifyingly popular
Rutherglen main street web cam (in the top 25 views on EarthCam) and the new Blair Drummond Safari Park cam, watching Dorothy the Southern white Rhino who is heavily pregnant and due to deliver a baby mid-December!

Other similar world webcam portals include
the BBC Webcams around the World and 123cam.com.

15 Dec 2009

Customer Query of the Year, 2009

We get many requests for further information about our maps and atlases here at Collins Geo. The three most common questions are:

How much is my old Times Atlas worth? Usually when an atlas such as an early edition of the famous Times Atlas of the World is discovered in the loft or handed down from an elderly relative. See our
What are they worth post.

When was my Bartholomew Half-Inch series map produced? Which can be problematic as there is no actual date printed on the sheet or only an abbreviated code is used. See our
Dating the Bartholomew Half-Inch to One Mile Maps post.

Where can I order one of the latest maps/atlases? Look at the
Times Atlases website, find them in good bookshops and online at Waterstone’s or Amazon

Last week we received an intriguing request from Tue, regarding an old Collins Concise Atlas of the World. His question was:
‘What's the system behind the colouring of countries on the cover?'

This question had been troubling him and the readers of his blog En Amagerkaner i New York (in Danish) for weeks, without anyone having an even remotely plausible answer.

After looking through a copy of the atlas and discussing this conundrum we came up with a probable explanation. We think the cover map is based on the Population Growth map on page XXIV which had been modified by the designer who had combined two categories and changed the colours to make a ‘striking’ atlas cover. What do you think?

A recent post on a
key-less maps quiz tests the same problem of identifying the subject matter of a map with no key.

14 Dec 2009

Aftonbladet report on how the Times Atlas maps climate change

The popular Swedish newspaper and website ran their report on Saturday showing how we reflect climate change in the Times World Atlases.

Peter Kadhammar and photographer Urban Andersson from Aftonbladet came to the Collins Geo offices last Monday to research how we map the world and the impact that climate change has had on our maps and atlases in recent years. Their article Tvingas rita om världen (Forced to re-draw the World) is part of their reporting to reflect the issues at the ongoing
UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15)

Their website is in Swedish, click this link for an online English translation using systranet.com.

13 Dec 2009

Globes, around the World

Globes seem to be very popular at the moment. The newest incarnations feature hi-tech wizardry projecting dynamic graphics onto huge spheres, but, the latest traditional painted styles are just as dramatic.

Cop15, the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen has a huge globe in Central Square featuring an interactive display of climate related information (illustrating global warming) (from around the world).

NOOA has its own ‘Science on a Sphere’ which has been around for a few years. “Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere, which is used to explain what are sometimes complex environmental processes, in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating.” - SoS website. Amazing graphics.

CoolGlobes are collection of spheres five feet in diameter designed and decorated by artists and schoolchildren to “create awareness and provoke discussion about a potential solution to global warming.” Visually stunning.

10 Dec 2009

India to Create a New State – Telangana

News has just come through from the Indian Government that the process of forming Telangana state would begin soon.

India’s three newest states were established in November 2000:
Chhattisgarh was created from the eastern part of Madhya Pradesh.
Jharkhand (also known as Vananchal) was created from the southern part of Bihar.
Uttarakhand (also known as Uttaranchal) was created from the northern part of Uttar Pradesh.

Telangana was one of a number of new states proposed in 2001. It will be formed out of 10 northern districts of Andhra Pradesh. This is the culmination of a long-running campaign for autonomy. Currently no timescales have been mentioned, we will continue a watching brief for its creation and subsequent inclusion on our data, maps and atlases.

Map from the Award Winning Collins Student World Atlas (2009) click to enlarge.

9 Dec 2009

Christmas (Window) Shopping In New York!

We've all heard of ghost walks you can go on in many towns. The ones where you walk around in a small group at dead of night, down the creepiest of alleys, and darkest of nooks, while hearing all about the ghosts and ghouls that haunt them even now.

Or more recently celeb tours of Hollywood, or the tv show themed walks in New York, giving fans of shows like Friends or The Sopranos an insight into the locations used in the series.

With Christmas looming, some of you may be off to New York to bag a few pre Christmas bargains. And most of us who don't make the annual trip over to make a saving on some Gap jeans, or the latest Apple gizmo at least joke about going, or promise we'll go next year.

Being the US, they like to do things bigger and better than everyone else, and that includes Christmas window displays in the big stores. So if you are visiting, and don't fancy being scared half to death, you might want to make use of this handy little map :

Christmas Windows Walking Tour Map

So if you are off to NYC this holiday season, and want to make sure you see all the best displays, take a stroll around the city and enjoy some of the best Christmas displays you'll see anywhere.

8 Dec 2009

The British Geological Survey's new OpenGeoscience portal

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has just unveiled its new OpenGeoscience portal - a free service which allows you to view maps, download photographs and explore other information.

The six sections comprise
Maps, Pictures, Reports, Data, Education, and Software. The two which I’ve looked at are the maps and pictures:

Maps. View the geology of Great Britain from your web browser, a geobrowser or GIS systems. The Simple viewer shows bedrock geology and the overlying superficial deposits and is very easy to use. More geological layers (artificial ground, faults, mass movements, etc) — are available through the Intermediate and Advanced Views.

Pictures. GeoScenic is the National Archive of Geological Photographs. Tens of thousands of images from the vast collections of photographs at the BGS are now available to view and download The whole archive is searchable and free to use for non-commercial purposes.

Give it a go and let me know your comments.

7 Dec 2009

The Copenhagen UN Climate Change Conference opens

The 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) opened this morning with representatives from the world’s nations warned that “this could be the best, last chance for a deal to protect the world from calamitous global warming”.

The conference taking place in the city of
Copenhagen, Denmark, runs from the 7th - 18th December, 2009 with 15,000 participants expected. Major commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions and funding climate change adaptation in developing countries are being sought.

Also this morning a journalist and a photographer from
Aftonbladet, the popular Swedish newspaper, came into our Geo offices in Glasgow to research articles and mapping showing how climate change is reflected in the Times Atlases. These items are to appear throughout the duration of COP15.

5 Dec 2009

Treasure Trove of Classic Map Plates

On Friday, David Jamieson (Geo Librarian/Collins Archivist) and myself spent a couple of hours in a treasure trove of maps, Christmas had come early as we examined the riches on display in this cartographic wonderland. We spent our time extracting all the flat sheets needed to create the landmark Times Mid-Century Atlas and the Bartholomew Survey Atlas of England & Wales.

The Times Atlas of the World, Mid–Century Edition was a completely new atlas. It was published in 5 volumes, between 1955-59 because of the long production times involved in the painstaking work of compiling the detailed maps. The volumes were arranged in continental groupings with volume III, North Europe, coming out first, followed by another volume each year. It had 122 coloured, double page map plates and a comprehensive index of over 200,000 names. 25,000 copies were printed at the published price of £5-5s-0d per volume. See the Times Atlases website Heritage pages for further detail as map plates.

Bartholomew Survey Atlas of England & Wales (
1939) was printed on heavy-duty paper, standard sheet size, 24 inches (61 cm) across by 18.3 inches (46.5 cm) mostly in landscape format. The atlas plates comprise 10 maps showing the geographical features of England & Wales as a whole; 67 sheets showing the countries at a scale of two miles to one inch (these have very attractive relief shading and clearly show the road and rail network, and the extent of urban development, between the World Wars) and 4 sheets showing the main cities at a larger scale.

The individual map plates for these atlases are all original Bartholomew printing from their Edinburgh Geographical Institute. They look as fresh as the day they were printed. All individual plate for these atlases and others can be ordered through R P A Smith’s website, they are superb for framing and make great gifts. R P A Smith also has nearly 100 street plans available to order from his website, covering about 650 towns and villages in Scotland.

3 Dec 2009

25 years since the Bhopal Disaster

Today marks the 25 anniversary of the 'Bhopal disaster'.

The Indian city of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh will forever be associated with the world’s worst industrial catastrophe. “Thousands of people died and over half a million people have health disorders after a leak of toxic gas from the Union Carbide plant in December 1984” - Collins need to know? The World.

Campaigners and survivors claim that dangerous toxins are still leaking from the site into the soil and drinking water, causing birth defects and chronic illnesses, and demand clean up action.

See also BBC News online: Bhopal: 25 years on

2 Dec 2009

Glass Biodiversity Map at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The John Hope Gateway (new entrance hallway) to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh opened recently after two years of construction. This massive state-of-the-art, eco friendly building has been designed to create space for travelling exhibitions and showcase some of their worldwide conservation work. It also boasts a Real Life Science studio, shop and restaurant.

Visitor numbers at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh have hit record highs since the opening of the John Hope Gateway in October. More than 65,000 people have toured the £15.7m visitor centre since it opened on Wednesday 7 October. The weekend following the opening was the busiest in the Garden's history, with a total of 8,386 visitors to the Gateway over the two day period” -
RBGE website.

The centrepiece of this new hall is a permanent biodiversity exhibition, the focus of which is a huge glass biodiversity map installation, and the map they used for this stunning object is one of our very own custom mapping projects. The huge map is 6 metres high by 30 metres wide and printed on glass.

Photos by Carol Cumming (click to enlarge)

The map really is something different, and it’s hard for photographs to do it justice. If you are in Edinburgh, go along to see the real thing (and enjoy the gardens of course).

Reviews of visits to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh via Google

Keith Moore, Head of Cartographic Services, Collins Geo.

1 Dec 2009

World AIDS Day 2009

Today is World AIDS Day. UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation has published new research to highlight key trends in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The AIDS Epidemic Update 2009 shows the number of new AIDS cases decreasing worldwide, and HIV prevention programs are making the difference.

● The HIV pandemic was first identified in 1981
● In 2008, 33.4 million people worldwide were living with HIV worldwide
● 2.7 million people were newly infected in 2008
● 2 million people died of AIDS related illness in 2008
● In sub-Saharan Africa, the worst affected region, new infections in 2008 were 25% lower than their peak in 1995

See also the
UNAIDS website