An early Christmas message as Roger our Administrative
Officer is taking a well earned rest from Membership renewals for a couple of
Yes, it is a deliberate
mistake in the title, I have dropped the ‘h’ from Christmas. Why? Well there is
much debate about the correct use of English and dropped aitches have been
around for many a year, but usually at the beginning of words. The example I
found recently was more subtle and led me to wonder if a new word had been
coined. Hopefully you will have spotted the error in the extract (left) from
The Times list of ideal Christmas presents ‘For Him’. Firstly I would take
issue with a book about maps being in the ‘For Him’ section and secondly just what
is ‘cartograpy’? Is it a combination of maps and wine, which may be of interest
to many, is it the mapping of wine regions? Either way, perhaps it’s a good
excuse to raise a glass or two during the festive period as ‘map books’ are becoming
increasingly popular and mainstream, showing that there is a continued and
growing interest in the subject.
Maps produced by Mary Spence
On the subject of books, those of you who have bought, or
may receive as a Christmas present, ‘Brazil’, the book that accompanies Michael Palin’s recent TV series, will be interested to know that the maps in the book
were produced by Mary Spence, past
BCS President and still very much involved with Programme Committee. We are
very pleased to announce that Mary has persuaded Michael to give a talk to BCS
members next year as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations. The
talk will take place at the Royal Geographical Society in London on Friday 12th April. Full
details will be sent out in the New Year, but definitely a date for your diary.
The big event this month was the London Mapping Festival
Mapping Showcase held at Lord’s Cricket Ground on 6th December. This
was the culmination of the Festival and was a huge success. BCS had a stand at
the Showcase and we were kept busy all day speaking to existing members and
encouraging new members to join. We had taken along some examples of the
Restless Earth resources and maps produced by Year 10 students, which generated
a lot of interest.
The London Mapping Festival was the brainchild of the
GeoInformation Group and I would like to offer them my congratulations on an
excellent initiative. The 18 month-long festival encompassed a wide variety of
events and I hope that you managed to get along to some of them? The Mapping
Showcase was notable for the wide range of exhibitors, from the entire spectrum
of the cartographic industry and the extensive range of attendees from the GIS
professional to the self confessed ‘map nut’. There was also a good range of
presentations throughout the day on some very thought provoking topics that are
very relevant to the cartographic community at the moment. With over 500
registered delegates it showed that the industry is in very good health at the
moment and The BCS needs to capitalise on this by further increasing our
membership base and ensuring that we fully meet the needs of our members, no
matter which sector of the industry they are working in.
50th Anniversary Events
Following on from the London Mapping Festival’s example, for
our 50th anniversary year in 2013, we are aiming to hold events on a
regular basis around the country to offer the chance to attend a BCS event to
as many members as possible. A provisional programme has been put together by
the Programme Committee, but if there is an area or event that you would like
to organise, please do get in touch with us as we want the year to be as
inclusive as possible. January sees the BCS having a stand at DGI Global from
22nd to 24th. This is aimed at the Defence community and
is attended by delegates, as the name suggests, from a global audience. BCS has
had a stand at previous events when it was DGI Europe and we have generated a
lot of interest in the Society.
On 24th January the UKGEOforum 2013 Annual Lecture will be held
at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in London. This year’s lecturer is Mark Ovenden
and his lecture is entitled “How Beck's
diagram re-mapped the modern world”. Early booking for this event is
recommended as places are limited. Roger sent out full details of the lecture
on 19th November. Mark was a presenter at the Symposium this year,
where he delivered a workshop entitled ‘Making a practical transit map’ and
from the delegate feedback it was very well received.
For those of you with children, or if you are just a big kid yourself, then you may be interested in keeping up with Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve by following him on the NORAD Santa Tracker website -http://www.noradsanta.org/.North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a joint organization of Canada and the United States that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and defence for the two countries and whilst Santa is not seen as a ‘threat’ he does get tracked every year. It’s good fun and is a useful persuasive measure to get children to bed, although given that they are usually so excited there is no guarantee of sleep I’m afraid. So log on and follow his progress across the world map and ensure that you are in bed before he arrives to deliver your presents!
Which, I think,
just leaves me to wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let’s
hope that it is a peaceful and quiet time that we can enjoy with family and
This is my first monthly bulletin to you as your
new President. Peter Jolly started the monthly report and I certainly valued it
as a way of keeping in touch with what was going on within the Society and so I
intend to continue in this tradition with a few little tweaks of my own.
For those of you who may be relatively new to the
Society, or whom I have yet to meet at one of our many functions, I thought you
might like to know a little more about me. I have worked for the Ministry of
Defence for over 30 years and when I started my career in 1979 I said that when
I became fed up with working with maps I would then know that it was time to
move on. Well, I am still here and not in the least fed up! Maps have always
fascinated me and I can remember at primary school when the class was told they
could choose their favourite book for "quiet time" I always reached
for an atlas. I have been involved with BCS since 1999 and I have spent the
last 4 years as Chair of the Programme Committee. I come to the role of
President with a sound grounding in both the Society and its Activities.
Our schools' initiative, "Restless
Earth", which began in 2011 following on from a discussion of how best to
take mapping out to schools, supports the current geography curriculum and is a
very popular workshop for GCSE students. In November we delivered 2 workshops in
3 days, in Altrincham and Fleet and there are a further 6 planned for the
remainder of the Academic Year.
I am pleased to announce that one of my final
achievements as Programme Chair was to secure sponsorship from the Great
Britain Sasakawa Foundation which was established as a result of a visit to
London in 1983 by the late Ryoichi Sasakawa. The purpose of his visit was to
meet a number of senior British figures to discuss the international situation
and, in particular, UK - Japanese relations.
It was agreed that it would be in
the interest of both countries if more could be done to enhance mutual
appreciation and understanding of each other's culture, society and
achievements. We are delighted to have the Foundation as our prime sponsor for
Restless Earth and look forward to working with them in the future.
noteworthy item in the press has been the controversy over Sandy Island. Shown
on Google Maps and nautical maps (sic) – I am sure you could hear the
hydrographers shouting at the radio report "They're charts, not
maps!" – it has been discovered, or rather not discovered, that it doesn't
actually exist! Initially it was thought that perhaps it was simply a
digitisation error, but it has since been identified on a 1908 chart in an
Auckland museum. It has been reported that the island was the result of an
error recorded in 1876 by the crew of the Velocity, a whaling ship, who
reported a series of "heavy breakers" and some "sandy
islets". This highlights the fact that you cannot always believe what you
see on a map or a chart!
This cartographic controversy also emphasises the
point that I have made at several events, that cartography is as important now
as it has ever been, if not more so in this era of Geographic Information
Systems where software packages, designed by IT specialists, freely available
on the internet, "make" your map for you with not a cartographic
consideration or principle in sight, which can result in very poor quality products
that betray the true essence of a good map. The Society needs to ensure that we
reinforce the message that good design and presentation will significantly enhance
a cartographic product and that bad design can often cast doubt on a perfectly
accurate product that simply does not inspire confidence. Of course, the
reverse is equally true, but that is another story!
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity in
my first President's Bulletin to thank Peter Jolly for his Presidency over the
past 2 years. During that time our membership has continued to grow, which is
no mean feat in this current climate. He has handed over a flourishing Society
and I look forward to all the events planned for our 50th Anniversary in 2013. In advance, I encourage you all to attend as many events
as you can as it promises to be a memorable year for The British
back October has been a quiet month for all sorts of reasons. A number of our
members attended the Frankfurt Book Fair and I’m looking forward to reading
Alan Grimwade’s report on the event in the next edition of Maplines. The IMIA,
International Map Industry Association, was IMTA so ‘Trade’ has been changed to
‘Industry’, had a stand there and a number of our members were involved.
Restless Earth Workshop at Sandhurst was first delayed 2 days and then
cancelled by the school which is a great pity as our resources are limited.
Going along with the cancellation theme we had to cancel the GIS SIG because of
a lack of attendees! The lesson learnt here is that, in future, we need to
ensure that a GIS SIG takes place alongside another event. However, the GIS SIG
in October 2013 should be packed, there’s a clue below.
Peter Jones, DGC, and
new BCS President
a cheerful note the AGM at the RAF Club on 31st went as planned. I’m
pleased to say that the Society continues to ‘buck the trend’ as our membership
continues to grow and our finances are stable showing a small surplus over the last
financial year. After the AGM I duly handed over the chain of office to Peter
Jones from DGC our new President. After the reception we had an excellent
presentation from Steven Feldman during which he described the development of
web mapping over the years. After another short break we had dinner which
appropriately enough was held in the President’s room.
starts with a Council meeting which is followed by 3 GEOData events in Glasgow,
Bristol and Belfast where we have a BCS stand and a Restless Earth Workshop at
Altincham Boys Grammar School.
plans for 2013, our 50th Anniversary, are beginning to firm up and
I’m sure you’ll be pleased to learn that Michael Palin and Jack Dangermond,
President of Esri Inc, have both agreed to take part in the celebrations. Some
6 months ago we invited the SoC to join us at our 2013 Symposium in Leicester
during September but I’m sorry to say that they have declined our offer. I
remember the joint event we held in Reading some years ago and what a great success
that was. I’d like to think there might be a change of heart.
this is my last monthly email as your President. I hope they have helped to
keep you up-to-date with the Society’s activities and events. It has been a
great pleasure and privilege to be your President. I firmly believe that the
Society has a great future promoting good cartography to those thousands of map
makers many of whom might well benefit
from a bit of advice. Thank you all for your help and support. Finally,
my Very Best Wishes to Peter Jones, our new President, who already has
persuaded me to become chair of the Programme Committee.