Wednesday 11 March 2015

President's Bulletin for February 2015

Last month we announced the joint event with the Society of Cartographers in York, in September, and preparations are now well under way for this. The “Call for Contributions” has been issued and closes on 20th March. We have called it a “Call for Contributions” rather than a “Call for Papers” as we are looking for a variety of formats this year. If you have a Paper that you would like to propose then we would love to hear from you or, equally, if you would like to run a more interactive Workshop, then please submit your proposal via The topics for this year are:
·    Neo-Cartography
·    3D Mapping
·    Mapping Yorkshire
·    Military Mapping
·    OpenSource Projects
·    Maps on Apps
·    Hand drawn maps
·    Planning for Change (Transport, Urban, Green)
·    An Open Category – “What’s New” – anything else mappy, new and innovative

A very important element of the BCS Symposium is the Annual Awards Ceremony, which is part of the Gala Dinner celebrations. These Awards recognise excellence in cartography in all its forms ranging from traditional paper maps to mapping apps on smartphones. Entries are open until 30th April, so if you have produced a great map since 1st May 2014 then please submit it for the Awards and if you have seen a great looking map then please encourage the producer to send it in. We accept entries from all over the globe as long as they have been produced in the last 12 months – for full details of the Awards, the Rules (Updated Rules for the John C Bartholomew Award) and how to enter, please visit Last year the overall BCS Award winner was showcased in Stanfords window in London, so if you would like to see your map there as well then you only have a few weeks left to enter.

Cartography on the Web

As the BBC reported, “The Times History of the World in Maps” has recently been published and if you enjoyed the BCS 50th Anniversary book, then this will be a “must have” purchase. Lavishly illustrated, it stretches from documents containing maps produced by ancient civilisations all the way through to the modern day. One of my favourites is the oval map of the battle of Gettysburg. Clear and simple, despite being a static representation of a battle that raged over three days, it manages to convey the terrain that was to play such a key role in the outcome:

It amazes me the number of times you hear about the “death of the paper map” and then

shortly afterwards about its “resurrection”. Recent press reports confirm that sales of OS paper maps have risen recently with 2014 figures showing sales up by 3%. A few thousand miles away in Cuba, the paper map is very much alive and well. With a growing tourist industry, designer Stephan Van Dam has designed paper maps specifically with the tourist in mind for a country where internet access is by no means readily available – about 5% of the island is covered. So if you turn up in Havana with your map app, you may we in for a bit of a rude awakening.

Forget all the debate about ‘becksploitation’ and worry instead about what could be happening to the London Underground Map this year. The handy pocket tube map, loved by many and collected by a fair few as well, is set to undergo some major changes in 2015 and with TFL taking over services and the growth of Crossrail, is the current format of the pocket map going to be too small to cope? Londonist has an intriguing video outlining the changes and the way that they could be incorporated. 

Loads of map related links on this site and the reason I chose it was for the piece on mapping anniversaries. Google Maps is 10 years old this year and in a relatively short space of time has done a great job by raising awareness of the importance of mapping in a digital age. Whilst we may have been critical of its style and portrayal in the early days, its inclusion last year as one of MapCarte’s 365 notable maps shows that it has truly “come of age”. Having been around a little longer, and still as powerful and popular as ever, National Geographic celebrates its Centenary in 2015

Ordnance Survey has recently undergone some significant changes, announcing plans to become a Government Owned Company or GovCo, redesigning its logo and just into March finally announcing its new Chief Executive. With the news that Nigel Clifford has been appointed as the new CE still relatively hot off the press, most column inches and twitter debate was devoted to the rebranding exercise which seemed to divide opinion. It also spawned a parody Twitter account “British Survey” which is irreverently funny and has made me smile on a number of occasions.

Special Interest Groups

This month I am spotlighting the Historical Military Mapping Special Interest Group, which does very much what it says on the can. This SIG would really benefit from some direct support from members and the Convener, Dr John Peaty, would love to hear from anyone who would be willing to get involved as either Secretary or Newsletter Editor for the Group. Last year The Group organised a very successful Bomber Command study tour to Lincolnshire which took in visits to East Kirkby Airfield, the home of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby, the visitor centre at RAF Scampton, as well as several “off the beaten track” venues thanks to the support of Phil Bonner the Aviation Development Officer at Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire.

This year the group is crossing the channel to visit First World War battlefields and will be organising a workshop at York. John has also recently been in touch with Simon Bendry at UCL, who is the national co-ordinator of the school centenary visits to the Western Front battlefields. He wants to meet because one of the things that the schools are crying out for is trench maps and BCS will investigate how we can become involved.

And finally…

Well, nobody guessed that the BBC quote in the last bulletin, “… a thing of beauty, with a wonderfully tightly packaged rear end” actually referred to the new McLaren F1 car for the 2015 season.

Pete Jones MBE FBCart.S CGeog

11th March 2015


Twitter: @geomapnut

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