14 Dec 2011

Finding Antarctica: Mapping the Last Continent Exhibition

‘In 2011 Australia celebrates 100 years of Australian expeditions to the Antarctic. The Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), which departed from Hobart in December 1911 and was led by Sir Douglas Mawson, was the first Australian-led Antarctic expedition.’

To celebrate this centenary the State Library of New South Wales has an exhibition ‘Finding Antarctica: Mapping the Last Continent.’  The exhibition focuses on the mapping of Antarctica from the 15th to the 21st century and the story of the discovery, exploration and charting of this frozen South Polar Continent.

The maps displayed include the Antarctic Regions: Maps showing present state of research 1898 where the name Antarctica is shown clearly across the southern continent.  This map was produced for the Royal Geographical Society by our predecessor J. G. Bartholomew F.R.S.E at The Edinburgh Geographical Institute, for John Bartholomew & Co.  It is one of the first maps to show the name Antarctica, the first use of this name on maps is attributed to the cartographer John George Bartholomew.

The Naming of Antarctica
Highlights from the Bartholomew Archive The naming of Antarctica
National Library of Scotland, Scottish Maps Forum Cairt July 2008 extract

The exhibition runs from 3 Dec 2011 – 19 Feb 2012 in Sydney.  If you can’t make it in person then explore the maps and information via the library’s website.

13 Dec 2011

Scotland the Best

The true Scot's insider's guide to the very best Scotland has to offer.

Whether you live in Scotland or are visiting, why settle for anything second-rate when you can be guided to so much that is superb? Peter Irvine's personal guide points you towards the best places to stay (whatever your budget), the best beaches, the best ice-cream, the best hill walks, the best bakers, the best spooky places, the best seafood, the best places for kids, the best ceildhs, and so the list goes on.

Scotland the Best
However well you know Scotland, Peter Irvine will guide you to something excitingly new. That's why it remains the only guide to Scotland that the Scots themselves buy. Scotland the Best was first published in 1993. Since then its reputation has grown and it has been widely praised in reviews, won awards from the Tourist industry and, above all, delighted readers from all over the world. And it’s also sold close to 250,000 copies!

In this new edition, every recommendation has been reassessed to see whether it is still worthy of inclusion, and the selection criteria has become even more stringent. Clear colour mapping from Collins Bartholomew and website links for all entries, a new look to the cover, plus an exciting new picture section and new chapter intros make this a more vibrant book to have as your companion.

Quirky, personalized and informed, Peter Irvine's guide gives you what other travel guides only claim to - a true Scot's insider's guide.

'the book is also a gospel, a love poem to Scotland and a patriotic tract' The Observer

'Nobody tells it better…All that's wonderful about Scotland is in the book' Daily Express

'Infallible and quite brilliant' Daily Telegraph

'Makes all other guides to Scotland redundant' The Sunday Times

'Apart from a clever structure and the highest journalistic standards, this book is a joy. The clever thing about such opinionated copy is that pretty soon one picks up the character of the writer, and thus can get a much more accurate and tactile impression of a place than from so-called even handed reports. This book can only enhance the pleasure of visiting or living in Scotland' Amazon

Paperback edition out now

eBook (published 5 Jan 2010)

5 Dec 2011

Great Review of Times Mapping the Railways

Mapping the Railways
Great review of The Times Mapping the Railways: The journey of Britain's railways through maps from 1819 to the present day from Amazon’s #1 reviewer Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan".

See his comments Illustrated history of British railway maps

2 Dec 2011

Rod Peel on his inspiration and ambition for The Times Extreme Survivors

Since that day when I dug my first snow hole as a schoolboy in the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland, I became absolutely fascinated by human survival. How human beings can survive in harsh climates, how lost explorers would travel for days without food and water. I avidly read and collected every account I could. This was easy because my father, as a history teacher, had a vast collection of old books, and amongst these were epic tales of survival at sea, in war and captivity.

Like the journey of the James Caird by Shackleton's Expedition from Antarctica to the Island of South Georgia - an incredible feat of seamanship. Had the 3 man crew not taken turns to chip away frozen lumps of sea water from the boat every few hours during the 24 hour trip, it would have sunk. There were other stories as well, for example, the Mutiny on the Bounty is well documented from the mutineers' standpoint, but the fact that Captain Bligh sailed 4000 miles without charts and instruments is incredible.

One key thing that I felt would complement these stories would be an accurate map of the journeys that these survivors made. Surely I was not the only person who was curious about where the young Lt Farrah Hockley actually escaped after the battle of the Imjin River, and how far he travelled on foot behind enemy lines? What route did he take? Why did he decide to abandon travelling at night?
And the famous Cockleshell Heroes - what aspects of their escape contributed to the survival of Blondie Hasler and Bill Sparks? Could it have been small details like the fact that they never looked at any of their sketch maps in public, but kept them concealed in the palms of their hands, memorizing portions of their journey so to a casual observer they would just seem to be local labourers going about their business?

So this idea of a book that “mapped out” these extreme survivals was born, indeed a book of maps of each amazing survival. It certainly was difficult to decide on which stories to include - we think we selected some of the most gripping accounts, both modern and historic, but only you, as the reader can judge.

A review of The Times Atlas of London from John Davies, writer for Sheetlines, the Journal of the Charles Close Society.

Lovers of London and maps have been treated to several excellent publications in recent times. Simon Foxall’s Mapping London and Peter Whitfield’s London: A life in maps have been particularly well received. Now Times Books has produced yet another treat with this magnificent volume, the latest title in the prestigious Times Atlas series.

Unlike Foxall’s and Whitfield’s books, this is indeed an atlas, with 1:65,000 maps of greater London and 1:10,000 street maps of inner London. But hardly an atlas for every day navigation – and certainly not one for carrying around. The large page size (12½ inches by 10 inches), heavy paper and substantial binding create a sturdy tome weighing some 2.5 kilos. But resting securely on the coffee-table, this is a book that will be referred to and pored over with delight for years to come.

The book offers a cornucopia of maps, pictures and stories about many aspects of London, as promised by the sub-title the story of a great city through maps, history and culture.
The modern mapping is by Collins Bartholomew, another part of the HarperColllins empire, and, oddly, is the only less-than-totally-satisfactory feature of the book. Given the wealth of colour and detail on other pages, the outer London maps, in shades of pale grey, pale green and white, lack impact and, worse, lack any indication of terrain or land form.

The book is arranged in sections, starting with reproductions of famous historic maps such as Ogilby’s Britannia, Snow’s Cholera map, Booth’s Poverty map, Beck’s tube map and many others. London in Context, the next section, looks at the physical geography – with maps, old and new, charting such features as flood risk, geology and climate – and social and economic affairs, illustrated with statistics, photographs and charts. Successive sections deal with the growth of London, reproductions of historical views, a comprehensive chronology and a gazetteer of place-names and their meanings.

The main part of the book is organised geographically by borough, interspersed (slightly confusingly) with thematic features. Thus we get, for example, the sequence Croydon, Public transport, Ealing, Universities, Enfield, Roads and so on. However, the borough chapters are a delight, each a double-page spread with statistics and stories of famous residents, notable buildings and interesting events, lavishly illustrated with maps and photographs. Particularly fascinating are the series of ‘then and now’ maps and views.

A book such as this is inevitably out of date almost as soon as it appears, but care has been taken to include the very latest developments (such as Stratford City, opened just a week before publication date!) whilst a chapter on Future London describes buildings and transport links still to appear.

John Davies

The Times Atlas of London, Times Books, 2011, 304 pages royal quarto, hardback in slip case, ISBN 978-0-00-743422-0, £50

1 Dec 2011

Collins Country Factfile ebooks

Know Your World with these accessible ebooks full of facts and stats, available on the Amazon Kindle store and iTunes.

Collins Factfiles are packed full of statistical information on topics such as history, people, government, economy, geography, communications and transportation.

Graphics are included to support the statistics, and historical and present day mapping of each country is presented alongside the in-depth data.

All information included in the eBooks has been carefully researched and sourced from the latest authoritative sources. Each factfile opens with a snapshot overview of the country from which you can drill down to the more detailed information outlined within each chapter.

The easy-to-read format lets you explore each country, its identity and how it has changed over time. Divided into five chapters, they focus on the main geographical, demographic, economic and environmental aspects of the country and its people.

Features in the ebooks include*:

• Easy navigation from page to page or topic to topic
• Searchable content
• Tap on images for greater detail
• Alterable type/background style to suit personal preference
• Navigation from table of contents to specific topics of interest
• Bookmarking

*some features may not work on certain platforms