28 Jan 2010

Magnificent Maps Exhibition Featuring the Largest Book in the World

I’ve just come across some details of what looks like being a truly stunning exhibition featuring some of the greatest maps in the world.

The British Library, the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries will put on the
Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art exhibition during the summer.

The show will feature around 100 maps from the library’s collection of over 4 million cartographic items. These will include some of most impressive, beautiful and largest maps ever created, many of them on display for the first time. The exhibition will place the maps in their original settings and reveal why these maps were designed for propaganda, as art or to convey power and influence.

The collection will include the 1.75m (5ft) tall, 350 year old
Klencke Atlas.

Images of the amazing maps from

Magnificent Maps exhibition will run from 30 April to 19 September, 2010.

26 Jan 2010

Aerial Imagery Archives Available Online

Fascinating aerial photographs of Scotland and Western Europe from the 1940s and 50s can now be viewed online. Two major collections are hosted by the National Library of Scotland (NLS) and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).

NLS Ordnance Survey Air Photo Mosaics of Scotland, 1944-1950 provide key information on the landscape of post-War Scotland. They complement paper mapping, and represent the first widespread use of aerial survey methods by Ordnance Survey in Scotland. Browse the air photos by zoomable map of Scotland, full interactive map overlays or by map sheet reference.

The National Collection of Aerial Photography, held by RCAHMS, is one of the largest and most significant collections of aerial imagery in the world. It is an invaluable resource for historical research. It contains the largest and most significant collection of historic and contemporary aerial imagery of Scotland.

The National Collection now also contains
The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives (TARA) - millions of military reconnaissance images of locations throughout the world declassified by the UK Ministry of Defence. The archives range from Second World War Allies and German Luftwaffe reconnaissance photographs to Cold War imagery.

RCAHMS links page has an extensive collection of resource links to UK Aerial Imagery, Worldwide Aerial Imagery, Aerial Imagery / Geospatial - Interest Groups, Archive Networks & Catalogues, Resources, Historical Military Maps and Geospatial Intelligence Agencies.

25 Jan 2010

The BCS John C Bartholomew Award for Small Scale Mapping 2010

There’s just one month to go to get your entry in for the British Cartographic Society (BCS) John C Bartholomew Award for Small Scale Mapping, sponsored by Collins Bartholomew and The Bartholomew family.

Yes, it's that time of the year again when the BCS seek entries for their range of awards recognising excellence in the field of cartography. The categories cover the whole spectrum of mapmaking from specialist digital cartography to small scale thematic mapping. These awards are open to everyone such as established publishing and design companies and new independent map makers and not just British cartographers but worldwide entrants.

Collins Geo is proud to confirm that our digital data and custom mapping arm Collins Bartholomew along with the Bartholomew family will once again sponsor this award for small scale thematic cartography which bears our founder's name. This award is presented for originality and excellence in the field of thematic (non-topographic) mapping at scales smaller than 1:100,000. Past winners have been so diverse as to include a wildlife and low flying avoidance map from the British Antarctic Survey, a map of key battles during the American Civil War, an undersea map of the waters around New Zealand and a thematic atlas of China.

Entries can be accepted for whole publications, parts of publications, or non-published maps. The entries will be judged on quality rather than quantity, so the single map from a student thesis has as much chance as the internationally distributed atlas from a major cartographic house!

The winner will be presented with a crystal trophy at the BCS Annual Symposium in Nottingham, England 9-11 June 2010. They will then go forward along with the winners of the other awards to decide the overall BCS Award for 2010 (currently held by Collins for its joint Collins Social Studies Atlas for Nigeria and Collins Keystart UK Atlas entry).

Oh yes, there is also a £500 prize for the BCS John C Bartholomew Award winner.

The closing date is 26th February 2010, see details and entry form.

Keith Moore, Head of Cartographic Services, Collins Geo.

21 Jan 2010

BBC Radio 4 'On the Map' recording

Yesterday we had a visit from Mike Parker and his programme producer to record some interviews for a forthcoming BBC Radio 4 series called On the Map. The Collins Geo staff talked about the Times Atlas of the World - its history, the production process, updates, decisions on name forms, boundary issues and content.

Mike Parker, author of Map Addict, will present the ten, 15-minute programmes. They will go out on Radio 4, Monday to Friday at 3.45pm in the weeks beginning 22nd and 29th March. The series looks at maps and map-making since the beginning of the twentieth century and will cover the use of maps for everything from leisure and motoring to propaganda and story-telling. It will also include the different approaches which have been taken to the mapping of cities, the use of maps during war, the creation of atlases and the political agendas behind different maps. And it looks at the future of cartography as digital technology opens up mapping to everyone.

Mike Parker presented with a copy of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World. Photo: Mark Steward.

20 Jan 2010

2010 the International Year of Biodiversity

The UN has declared 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity.

“Throughout 2010 countless initiatives will be organized to disseminate information, promote biodiversity conservation and encourage organizations, institutions, companies and individuals to take direct action to stop the loss of biological diversity worldwide.” International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network. It has recently created an eye-catching ‘Species of the Day’ button to place on websites. This links directly to their new look Red List of Threatened Species webpage.

Our new 11th edition of the Times Concise Atlas of the World features a Biodiversity spread among its World Today pages. It has been compiled to show a global view of biodiversity, its value, trends and conservation. Click on image to enlarge.

Why not look at the IUCN website and add their Species of the Day button to your own blog/website.

18 Jan 2010

Cartographic Conferences and Exhibitions for 2010

Want to know what’s happening in the cartographic world this year?

A popular source for general worldwide map related events is John Docktor’s:
Cartography - Calendar of Events (Conferences and Meetings)
Cartography - Calendar of Exhibitions
These listings are a great first point of call.

I don’t know much about John Docktor, there is a connection with the Washington Map Society. Any further information would be appreciated, please let me know.

15 Jan 2010

Buy Historical Maps from Mapseeker and Collins Bartholomew

Looking for a historical map? Mapseeker in association with Collins Bartholomew now offer a comprehensive range of historical mapping for you to select and order online.

Mapseeker was formed several years ago by Paul Line, and offers one of the most comprehensive collections of British historical maps currently available, as well as an expanding selection of world and thematic maps.

“The collaboration with Collins Bartholomew is an exciting time for everyone involved in the project, with new maps appearing on the Mapseeker website on a daily basis” says Paul. The last few years have seen a sudden increase in interest in historical mapping, and not simply because old maps look great framed and hung on the wall, but also because they are being increasingly used in historical research and education. This latter use is one Paul is very keen to promote through Mapseeker. “We welcome non-commercial and non-profit making institutions such as schools, colleges or universities to use any information presented on this site for educational research and study purposes.”

The task of getting maps from the Collins Bartholomew archive to the website is not as straightforward as you might think as the best possible maps are selected and then processed into the finished digital file. The process starts with Paul making the long drive from his home near Birmingham, north to Glasgow where Collins Bartholomew archive is located in the Collins Geo office. Paul and myself then spend several fascinating hours appraising dozens of maps and atlases from our archive. Once the final selection has been made Paul returns south, where he hands the maps over to his small team of experts for processing. The original maps are carefully scanned, cleaned and coloured up before the finishing touch - the addition of a suitable border. While this is taking place, I am compiling the text descriptions that will sit alongside the maps on the website. These are usually based on one of the many old Bartholomew Gazetteers held in our library. The image is then ready to be uploaded to the website.

Bradfords plan of Birmingham 1750. Click on images to enlarge.
The original map is first scanned to create an unprocessed digital image. In this example the Birmingham plan shows a dissected map with the 'fold gaps' between the printed map squares that were glued onto the fabric backing.

The digital image is cleaned and the dissected parts brought together to form a continuous map coverage.

The map image is coloured up.

The Collins Bartholomew collection on Mapseeker now includes some country maps from the Collins World Atlas 1852, Australian town plans and maps from The Royal Atlas & Gazetteer of Australasia 1890, English town plans from The Royal Atlas of England and Wales 1898 and Scottish town plans from the Atlas of Scotland 1895.

The Mapseeker website has an online shop, through which, maps can be purchased as photographic prints or giclée fine art prints. These are available in a range of sizes, with a wide selection of frames to choose from.

David Jamieson, Collins Bartholomew archivist and map librarian, Collins Geo

14 Jan 2010

Smallest Map in the World

Wow, technology sure is making the world seem so small and accessible these days. Computer and phone screens provide us, instantly, with the latest geographically-related information, the world is definitely now at our fingertips.

The Photonics Research Group of Ghent University-IMEC has just created a world map, a small map, very small map, tiny, almost infinitesimally minute. Using the application of nano-technology, IMEC have created this world map through microelectronic fabrication. At a scale of 1:1 trillionth they have reduced the 40,000 km equator to 40 micrometers – a map half the width of a human hair. It may not help your navigation around the globe, but the processes used to create it may have a major influence on future technological advances.

For more details see their blog post It's a small world...

By comparison our smallest world atlases T
he Times Atlas of the World Mini edition and the Collins World Atlas Mini edition are pocket-sized world atlases, presenting detailed, accurate and attractive maps of all the world in a convenient size.

13 Jan 2010

Deadly earthquake strikes Port-au-Prince in Haiti

A massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti on the evening of 12 January. It was centred just a few miles to the south west of the capital Port-au-Prince. It's feared that thousands of people have been killed, with the Red Cross reporting that up to three million people have been affected.

For further details see:
British Geological Survey report
Edinburgh Earth Observer - Worldwide Earthquake Locator
BBC News online

12 Jan 2010

New Collins Primary Atlas and School Atlas

With the start of a new year, we are pleased to announce the publication of two new editions of our educational atlases.

The new Collins Primary World Atlas is a curriculum supportive Primary World reference atlas for children aged 7-11 (Key Stage 2). Designed for use in the classroom or at home, this revised edition includes informative politically coloured reference mapping of all major world regions.

This atlas provides an introduction to mapping of the UK, Europe and all major regions of the world. It includes information on map reading skills, the meaning of scale and measuring distances.

The continental maps are linked to the regional mapping and are supported with a selection of satellite, aerial and terrestrial photographs. Continental relief maps show layer colouring and major physical features are highlighted.

This atlas is part of the Collins Primary Atlas series.

Collins Primary World Atlas sample pages download (1MB PDF).

The new Collins School World Atlas is an introductory atlas for secondary school students aged 11-14 is designed to help students develop map, atlas and data handling skills. The content adheres closely to the requirements of the National Curriculum and incorporates results of classroom testing. It features 96 pages of clear, easy to read maps, satellite images, an atlas skills section and hundreds of statistics.

Its clear and accessible layout will motivate pupils of all abilities at Key Stage 3 and S1-S2. An easy to follow introductory 'map and atlas skills' section, useful for both teacher and pupil, is followed by clear, easy to read reference maps presented with locator maps, fact boxes and flags, descriptive text, detailed map keys and photos. For this new edition more detailed reference mapping of the British Isles and plans for London 2012 are included.

Carefully selected focus country studies include mapping on contrasting regions and special topics. New special topic mapping of China is included in this edition. The extended world section covers all the global issues required by the National Curriculum e.g. climate, population, biomes, earthquakes and volcanoes.

“Here is an atlas that really targets its intended audience. It is pitched at just the right level…an atlas tailored to the curriculum and your pupils” TES Teacher.

This atlas is part of the Collins School Atlas series.

Collins School Atlas sample pages download (1.2MB PDF).

A full range of interactive flipcharts to support these atlases are available as downloadable files. These charts are easy to use and allow teachers and learners to further develop atlas skills. For more information go to Collins School Atlases Flipcharts post.