Maps and charts

Page 1 of 3 1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 3:40 am

Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey by Rachel Hewitt - review

Ian Pindar on the creation of the Ordnance Survey

Ian Pindar The Guardian, Saturday 16 October 2010

The "cubist jigsaw of overlapping sheets" that is the Ordnance Survey of Great Britain is a national treasure, cherished by ramblers and right-to-roamers, but in Map of a Nation Rachel Hewitt reminds us that its origins are military and that it is, in fact, part of "a long history of British military efforts to subdue neighbouring territories through cartography".


Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey by Rachel Hewitt

The OS began with the idea of a "military survey of Scotland", which would facilitate the occupation of the Scottish Highlands. Redcoats trying to root out Jacobite rebels in the most inaccessible Highland regions were hampered by inaccurate intelligence. "This place is not marked on any of our maps," Captain Frederick Scott objected in a letter to his commander in 1746, a month after the battle of Culloden. The rugged landscape was, quite literally, "unreadable" and the rebels were getting away.

Employed by the Board of Ordnance, William Roy began mapping the Highlands in 1747, pushing a surveyor's wheel and using a simple kind of theodolite called a circumferentor. Later he was joined by a "ragtag bunch of young surveyors" and they finished mapping the entire Scottish mainland in 1755. The Military Survey of Scotland, drawn in pen and ink with watercolour washes, offered "a vast, gorgeous bird's-eye view of mid 18th-century Scotland". But Roy didn't stop there. His dream was a complete map of Britain.

The French had begun their own mapping project more than a century before, and the Carte de France (1756), a complete national map of unprecedented accuracy and scope, was a model for the OS. It was, Hewitt argues, "the highest ideal of the Enlightenment: perfect measurement of the ground beneath our feet". However, war with France changed all that. The survey, begun in 1791, quickly became part of Britain's defence strategy, as England's south coast and the far south-west corner of Wales were mapped to assess their vulnerability to French invasion.

Before it had finished mapping England and Wales, however, the OS turned its attentions to Ireland. The Irish Ordnance Survey, begun in 1825, is easily caricatured as a "tool of English imperialism", Hewitt says, but in fact it was an attempt by Irish-speaking Catholics to salvage Ireland's ancient cultural heritage. Place names were always "a mighty headache to early mapmakers". Some surveyors wrote down the first name they heard; others were more conscientious. Some of the mistakes are worthy of Finnegans Wake: the ancient name of Queen Taillteann, for instance, was transcribed by one mapmaker as Telltown, while Monaster O'Lynn (O'Lynn's Monastery) became "Moneysterlin".

This is a solid account of how Britain's national mapping agency came into being, though it lacks a certain pizzazz. Hewitt works hard to bring the story to life, but it is perhaps inherently undramatic. Nevertheless, she is good on the military, scientific and ideological impulses behind the OS and on its enormous appeal to the general public. The first map (Kent and part of Essex) was made available in 1801 and not long afterwards surveyors were being pestered by tourists in search of the sublime or picturesque. One director of the Ordnance Survey objected to these "swarms of idle holiday visitors" and fantasised about working in "almost inaccessible positions", free from "disagreeable intrusions". Paradoxically, the very men who had opened up the landscape to the people still dreamed of getting far from the madding crowd.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 3:47 am

Map of a Nation by Rachel Hewitt – review

An absorbing history of the Ordnance Survey charts the many hurdles map-makers have had to overcome

Ian Thomson The Observer, Sunday 17 October 2010


Ordnance Survey maps have been sold to the general public since 1801. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

From the hieroglyphs of Aztec Mexico to the red stripe of London's Central line, all maps are idealised representations of the world. A relief map of moorland fells can mesmerise with its geometric language of lines and symbols. Yet even with the world now so thoroughly mapped out by Google, many of us remain carto-illiterate. In the mid-1990s, drivers in Britain were wasting an extraordinary 80m gallons of petrol each year getting lost, according to the AA (one would hope that figure is lower now, thanks to satnav). Those of us with poor visual-spatial skills often find it easier to read road atlases upside down.


Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey by Rachel Hewitt

Maps of all kinds permit a greater understanding of history and the politics of cartography. Nazi map-makers redrew Europe's frontiers in the shadow of the swastika, with an emphasis on "Jew-free" (Judenfrei) areas of conquest. The first surveys of the Scottish Highlands were done to facilitate the crushing of rebel clans in the wake of the Jacobite uprising of 1745. In spite of their political intent, the maps provided a magnificent bird's-eye view of mid-18th-century Scotland. The bunched contour lines and triangulation points marked on modern-day Ordnance Survey maps would not have been possible without the earlier charting of Scotland. In this endlessly absorbing history, Rachel Hewitt narrates the history of our printed maps from King George II's "Scotophobic" cartographies to the three-dimensional computerised elevations of today. A marvel of exactitude and the quantifying imagination, the Ordnance project conjures a "Betjemanesque image" of cycle-touring and jolly tramps through bog and heather. Founded in 1791 as the Trigonometrical Survey, it nevertheless began life as a military venture, merciless to subject peoples.

Herself a keen hiker, Hewitt portrays a heroic enterprise assailed on all sides by professional vanities, lack of funds and other difficulties. In post-Culloden Scotland the map-makers had used a small, tripod-mounted telescope or prototype theodolite to measure sight-lines from landmark to landmark. Inevitably, their arrival in a land pacified by a foreign power aroused fears of continued surveillance. Half a century later, when the first Ordnance Survey map was released to the general public in 1801, the project was still viewed with suspicion. In intricate black-and-white the map revealed Britain's south-easterly corner as a mesh of bridleways, brooks and field boundaries. Few could have guessed at the difficulties involved. As the surveyors scanned the Kent horizon with their telescopes, locals had mistaken them for French spies.

Notoriously, in 1824 government map-makers moved to Ireland. Their presence provoked such levels of suspicion that it seemed the entire British judiciary, church and crown were under threat. The Irish Ordnance Survey became the subject of Brian Friel's play Translations; it remains an incendiary moment in Irish history.

The Irish were not the only people to see maps as instruments of intimidation and control. Hewitt charts the hostility shown to "engineer agents" by Romantic poets and writers. William Wordsworth, for all his avowed interest in the Ordnance project, was critical of those seeking to tame the countryside by means of their boxed precision instruments. The Board of Ordnance may share the enlightened conviction that the pursuit of knowledge was a sovereign good, but they preached a godless, functional clarity. For William Blake, the "ésprit géométrique" that defined the national survey project was nothing short of satanic. Why enslave the human mind to universal laws and the cold hand of rationality?

Triumphantly, the Ordnance Survey has swelled over the years into a cartographical institution that comprises 403 maps in the Explorer series of the British Isles. Each region, no matter how inaccessible, possesses its own "biography" of streams, pre-Christian earth mounds, coach stations and lay-bys. In her lively and informative narrative, Hewitt highlights the Ordnance project's legion of draughtsmen, surveyors, dreamers and eccentrics, and the disagreements that flared among them. Prior to the 18th century, Britain of course had its national maps, but, emblazoned with royalist insignia or overtly patriotic, their function was primarily symbolic. The entire nation is now mapped out in exact and unbiased detail. Something may have been lost by charting every last footpath, boulder and scree slope, but we have become more "map-minded" as a result.

Ian Thomson's The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica won the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje prize 2010

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 4:09 am


Grid square TF, shown at a scale of 1:250 000. The map shows The Wash and the North Sea, as well as places within the counties of Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 4:11 am


Part of an Ordnance Survey map at 1 inch to the mile scale from a New Popular Edition map published in 1946.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 4:13 am


A map of Penistone from the 7th Ordnanve Survey series.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 4:16 am


The Ordnance Survey maps of Great Britain use the Ordnance Survey National Grid.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 4:18 am


Front cover of New Popular Edition 1 inch to the mile from 1945.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 4:26 am


Book 1 of Alfred Wainwright's famous pictorial maps of the Lakeland Fells.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 4:29 am


Christopher Tolkein's map of The Shire.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 4:31 am


Robert Louis Stevenson's map of Treasure Island.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 2:09 pm



Wiki:

The A–Z or A to Zed, or in full the Geographers' A–Z Street Atlas, is a name given to any one of a range of atlases of streets in the United Kingdom currently produced by Geographers' A-Z Map Company Limited. The first atlas, of London, was originally compiled in the 1930s by Phyllis Pearsall. The company she founded now publishes street maps of many cities and towns in the UK.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 2:14 pm


The current edition of the Geographers A-Z street map of London.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 2:34 pm


18th c. Plan of Aldgate ward, London.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 3:16 pm


Chart of the notorious Goodwin Sands ("The Ship Swallower") off the coast of Kent, south-east England, site of hundreds of shipwrecks over the centuries.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 3:19 pm


Map of the battle of Waterloo.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 3:23 pm


Mercator world map Nova et Aucta Orbis Terrae Descriptio ad Usum Navigantium Emendata (1569).

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 3:30 pm


First circumnavigation of the world by Ferdinand Magellan.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 3:36 pm


Sir Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the world on behalf of England and Good Queen Bess (Elizabeth I).

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 3:52 pm


Captain James Cook of the Royal Navy, portrait by Nathaniel Dance, c. 1775, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.


The routes of Captain James Cook's voyages. The first voyage is shown in red, second voyage in green, and third voyage in blue. The route of Cook's crew following his death is shown as a dashed blue line.


Captain Cook's 1775 chart of Newfoundland.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Mon May 30, 2011 4:06 pm


William Bligh, pictured in his 1792 account of the Mutiny voyage, A Voyage to the South Sea.


The mutineers turning Lt Bligh and some of the officers and crew adrift from His Majesty's Ship Bounty. By Robert Dodd.


Travel of Bligh's boat
5. Bligh's party set adrift (29 April 1789)
16. Tonga
17. Timor (14 June 1789)


Bligh's Lambeth tomb, surmounted by breadfruit in a bowl, at the rear of what is now the Museum of Garden History next to Lambeth Palace, London.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  eddie on Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:43 pm

Maps edited by Ross Bradshaw – review

By Aimee Shalan

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 18 October 2011 10.08 BST


Maps

This is the first in a series of annual themed compendiums to be published by Five Leaves gathering essays "from the vaults", from work in progress and some commissioned specifically for the collection. Contributors include Iain Sinclair, David McKie and Chris Arnot, writers from the London Review of Books and other academic journals, a journalist from the BBC World Service and several biographers. A curious rattle-bag of writing loosely based on the theme of maps, it covers subjects as disparate as Roman Britain, London fiction, poetry in Siberia, the lost cricket grounds of England, bread and pudding riots on the "English Riviera", art inspired by the north African desert and the death of Walter Benjamin in Portbou, Catalonia. Best of all, though, is a brief essay on the mapping of surnames via a website called Public Profiler, based on work carried out at University College London, which can plot namesakes across the world. You'll find yourself reaching for the mouse in no time and, as the author cautions, it may be a while before you do anything else.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  Constance on Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:08 am

Nice maps. I have a beautiful old map of Paris, and several maps of China I bought when I had more money.

Now that we have Mapquest, will maps become obsolete?

Constance

Posts : 500
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 59
Location : New York City

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  Constance on Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:10 am

My map of Paris looks something like this--


Constance

Posts : 500
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 59
Location : New York City

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  Constance on Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:12 am

1650 map of China--


Constance

Posts : 500
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 59
Location : New York City

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  Constance on Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:14 am

Oh well, another map of China didn't work.

Constance

Posts : 500
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 59
Location : New York City

Back to top Go down

Re: Maps and charts

Post  Sponsored content Today at 2:19 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 3 1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum