31st May 2013
Lots of anniversaries this month, so no problem at all in filling space or having to scratch around for tenuous links to historic moments.
Compared to today's pilots they flew incredibly low at 60ft to avoid detection. Given the lack of any sophisticated navigation aids it’s no wonder that at least one aircraft flew into power cables and another ditched in the sea. They also had to fly virtually the whole mission in the dark for the night-time raids and had to work out ways of maintaining exact height and distance from the dams so that the bombs hit the top of the dams and then dropped down, exploding by pressure fuse at what was assessed to be the weakest part of the dam.
If you have read your latest edition of Maplines, you will have noticed that the Historic Military Mapping Special Interest Group of the BCS is planning an autumn event that will tie in with the anniversary of the Dams raid. This will be a weekend in October based around a visit to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby airfield.This will include an opportunity to see their Lancaster, NX611"Just Jane", which is being refurbished with a view to making it airworthy again. At the moment it is only certified for tail-up taxi runs, sufficient speed to lift the tail wheel off the ground but no more.
Sixty years ago, on 29th May 1953, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary became the first people to climb Everest. What has nowadays become a fairly regular occurrence; their feat was certainly ground breaking at the time, done without modern equipment, although they did have high altitude boots, rubber walkie-talkies and experimental oxygen tanks. May is traditionally one of the best times of the year to climb Everest, and this year has been one of the most crowded seasons with more than 500 people having scaled the mountain since the start of 2013.
Since the first successful climb, more than 4,500 people have reached the top. Amid the celebrations there are concerns about the growing number of climbers on Everest and the pollution they cause, so much so that Nepalese officials are now considering placing a limit on the number of climbers allowed to ascend Everest.Interesting fact – the mountain as named after Colonel Sir George Everest, Surveyor-General of India from 1830 to 1843, whose name was pronounced Eve (as in the girl’s name) Rest, so by referring to it as Ev-e-rest we have been pronouncing it wrongly all these years!
The "map" on the left was designed to celebrate the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show. One hundred years ago, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show was held for the first time. Back in 1913 it was a three-day affair with 244 exhibitors, about half of them nurseries and a third sundriesmen (manufacturers of glasshouses, retailers of gardening tools and chemicals, stands for gardening magazines and makers of garden furniture). The remainder were a mixture of amateur gardeners, most representing the still-thriving world of country-house gardening, and professional garden designers. The RHS had held a Great Spring Show since 1862, but it moved to its current home and assumed the title in 1913. We haven’t yet hit the hundredth show as it was cancelled in 1917 and 1918 and for the whole of the Second World War.
Sundriesman is probably a word that is unfamiliar to most and is one of those professions that has become rare if not ceased to exist. In a recent article online entitled “Is Cartography Dead?”, the author speculated, "if “cartographer” is soon to be listed alongside “cooper” and “cartwright” in the tally of occupations of yesteryear?” Happily the author goes on to conclude that the answer to his question is “no”, full details at http://blog.visual.ly/is-cartography-dead.
The Society recently participated in the GeoDATA seminars in Birmingham and Sheffield and gave presentations on why cartography is still important, hopefully I helped to reinforce the message that cartography is still thriving. The talks went down well at both venues and encouraged a lot of questions at the stand afterwards. Both days were very busy and I signed up a number of new members at the events, four in Birmingham and five in Sheffield, so I'd like to say "Welcome!" to those receiving their first President’s monthly. The free to attend GeoDATA events continue during 2013 and BCS will have a presence at most, if not all, culminating in London in November. If you can help to man the stand in Edinburgh on 7th November or in Belfast on 21st November then please let me know.
The BCS 50th Anniversary Book is almost ready to go to press. We are offering this at a pre-publication price of £12.50 plus £2.50 P&P and have extended the deadline to 30th June. After this the book will be £15.00. See the website for full details.
Pete Jones MBE, CGeog, FRGS