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Map History


Imago Mundi Volume 51 (1999)

General news in the history of cartography 1998/99
(compiled March 1999)


This represents the third of six sections (`Institutional and General News') from the annual Imago Mundi Chronicle.

The 37 brief entries that follow appear in Volume 51 (published July/August 1999). Where URLs were cited in the text they have been made active. No attempt has been made to add other possible links. The intention is to show what this section looks like in the printed volume.


American Friends of the J.B. Harley Research Fellowships announced in 1999 that a special fund had been established to support those attending the International Conference on the History of Cartography in Athens. Those whose paper or poster proposal had been accepted would be eligible to apply for a grant to cover travel costs and the conference fee.

Ancient China. The `China Daily' (26 November 1997) reported the discovery, in Hebei Province, of a 2,300-year-old map known as `Zhao Yu Tu'. Carved onto a copperplate (96x48 cm), it shows the mausoleum of Wang Cuo (344-313 B.C.).

Ancient Rome. The archaeologist Elisabetta Carnabugi discovered a fresco in what was once Nero's palace, which appears to contain a bird's-eye view of Rome. It has been dated to between the 1st century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D.

Atlantes Neerlandici. The first of the ten volumes in the revised version of Atlantes Neerlandici, edited by Peter van der Krogt, was published in 1998. It covers the Mercator-Hondius-Janssonius sequence. A combined online index to the original and new versions has been prepared by Jan Smits (Index).

Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Scholl Center for Family and Community History received a grant of over $300,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to produce seven further volumes, covering North Carolina, Iowa, Virginia and West Virginia, Tennessee, Minnesota, North and South Dakota and New Jersey.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France. (1) The Retroconversion continues. In December 1998, 37,000 records were mounted on BN-Opaline (Opaline) . (2) A feasibility study is considering the installation of the giant Coronelli globes (`globes de Marly') in the Musée-Promenade de Marly (Ile de France). (3) In October 1997 the theft of a Bologna Ptolemy (1477) was announced.

British Library Map Library. (1) The move of the map collection, and the other humanities collections in which cartographic items are housed, was carried out successfully in 1998. After one month's closure, the new Maps Reading Room in the St Pancras building was opened on 12 August. The entire map collection is now on-site. (2) The very detailed documenting of the move produced a new, reliable census of the size of the Library's map holdings, an increase of 75% on earlier estimates of the sheet map collection: 67,000 volumes, 4.1 million sheet and fiche maps, 1500 rolled maps and 145 globes. (3) The much-delayed publication of `The British Library Map Catalogue on CD-ROM' was published in Spring 1999. (4) The first Helen Wallis Fellow, Henry J. Steward, took up residence in the British Library in January 1999.

Brussels International Map Collectors' Circle (BIMCC) was formally established in March 1998. Its proceedings and newsletter are in English.

Canberra, National Library of Australia, conducted a trial rare map digitisation project to determine appropriate software and procedures to scan the rare map collections. A pilot project is planned, leading to a full-scale project in 2001.

Copenhagen. The Map Collection of the Royal Library moved to new premises in spring 1998. On 16 September 1998, the new reading room will open to the public; before then, access is by appointment.

Discovery Internet List was established . Postings are archived and issued annually by Peter van der Krogt on CD-ROM as part of the MapHist archive.

Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland. The Project Pont Steering Committee, chaired by the NLS, and through the University of Edinburgh, received funding from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities in Scotland for a one-year Research Fellowship, commencing October 1998, to look into the marketing and distribution of the digitally scanned images of Timothy Pont's late-16th century manuscript maps of Scotland.

Facsimiles. A new directory of facsimile maps has been published; the previous one had been issued by the Library of Congress in 1980. Antique map reproductions: a directory of publishers & distributors of antique map, atlas & globe facsimiles & reproductions has been compiled by Gregory McIntosh and issued by Plus Ultra Publishing Company, Dept H, P.O.Box 514, Lakewood, CA 9-714-0514, USA. It lists over 3000 facsimiles produced by 200 organisations.

'Forma Urbis Romae'. Experiments are underway to see if 3D scanning techniques could be used to piece together the more than 1000 marble fragments that make up the giant map of ancient Rome (c. 200 A.D.). See the Digital Michelangelo Project (DMP) .

German-language Internet list. Wolfgang Lierz, ETH, Zurich is the convenor of a new, German-language discussion list for the history of cartography `D-A-CH Karthist' .

Great Britain Historical GIS Project. A further major grant, from the Economic and Social Research Council, has been made to extend the scope of this project. This will enable the Historical GIS Group at Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London to link up with the Historical Databases team at Queen's University Belfast, for the construction of a historical GIS for the entire British Isles. (GBHGIS).

Harvard Map Collection, Harvard University has completed the restoration of its pair of 46 cm Mercator globes, the only matched pair in the USA (see Boston Map Society Newsletter, November 1998). (globes).

Historic Boundaries Project. The Economic and Social Science Research Council (UK) is funding the creating of a `Machine-readable map of English and Welsh historic parish boundaries', at the University of Exeter. This will build on the work already carried out by Roger Kain and Richard Oliver on tithe and enclosure maps.

History of Cartography Project. Volume 2, Book 3, Cartography in the Traditional African, American, Arctic, Australian, and Pacific Societies, edited by David Woodward and G. Malcolm Lewis was published in autumn 1998. The next will be Volume 3, `Cartography in the European Renaissance', for which two postdoctoral fellows have joined the project, both from the University of California at Berkeley, Daniel Brownstein and Victoria Morse.

Imhof. The `Virtual Library Eduard Imhof', celebrating the life and work of the Swiss cartographer, was set up at (Imhof).

Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division. The Division's friends' group, the Philip Lee Phillips Society, initiated an occasional paper series, with the first issue entitled, `A Separate Apartment for Maps and Atlases in the Library of Congress, by Philip Lee Phillips, F.R.G.S.', compiled and edited by Richard W. Stephenson.

`MapForum', an online `periodical for antique map collectors', edited by Ashley Baynton-Williams, was launched January 1999. (Map Forum).

Map Trade Internet list was established for announcing catalogues and offering maps for sale. Postings are archived and issued annually by Peter van der Krogt on CD-ROM as part of the MapHist archive.

National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. The Cartograhic and Architectural Branch is no longer a separate administrative unit. However, the cartographic, architectural and aerial photographic records are now administered as part of the Special Media Archives Services Division, which is headed by Robert Richardson, the former chief of the Cartographic and Architectural Branch.

Nebenzahl Prize for Dissertations in the History of Cartography, the successor to the Nebenzahl Prize for books on the history of cartography, was awarded for the first time in January 1999 [see Section 1 `Prizes and Awards']. The biennial prize, presented to the author of a submitted dissertation which is judged to have made the most significant contribution to the study of the history of cartography, is funded through the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Nebenzahl. For further details, see Mapline 84/85 (1998), p.7.

Newberry Library, Chicago. The Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography and the Center for Renaissance Studies co-sponsored the inaugural lecture in the `History of the Book' seminar. Valerie Traub spoke on `Anatomy, Cartography, and the New World Body'.

Ortelius copperplate found. A plate, covering part of the 1567 wall-map of Asia by Ortelius was recently discovered on the back of an oil painting of the Last Judgement (1608). See the article by Markus Heinz and Cornelia Reiter in Cartographica Helvetica 17 (1998), pp. 25-31.

Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek. To achieve more space and improved climatic conditions, the Library is considering three options: enlarging the Map Department and Globe Museum on their present site; a partial expansion into another building; a total move to another building.

`Portolan'. A continuing index to the contents of The Portolan, the journal of the Washington Map Society, can be found at (Portolan).

Royal Library, Stockholm has begun to convert the manuscripts map catalogue into the LIBRIS database.

School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), University of London has included its collection of (mostly 18th century) maps of Russia and eastern Europe on its online catalogue (SSEES).

Stichting Historische Cartografie van de Nederlanden (Netherlands Foundation for the History of Cartography) was established in April 1997, with the intention of offering support to researchers working on the history of Dutch cartography. It fund-raises by organising the European Map Fair (first held in November 1998 in Breda)..

Sydney Map Group was established in July 1998. A twice-yearly newsletter will be issued.

Utrecht-Duisburg co-operation. The Explokart research group in Utrecht and the Gerhard Mercator Universität, Duisburg are co-operating on a research project on Christian Sgrothen, financed by the Nordrhein-Westfälische Landesbank, and to be carried out over the next four years by Peter Meurer.

Virginia Garrett Lectures on the History of Cartography. The first biennial series of lectures was held at the University of Texas at Arlington on 2 October 1998.

Web-pages. Further map, or map-related, societies have developed their own Web sites, for example the International Map Collectors' Society and the Society for the History of Discoveries. Details can be found on the Map Societies web-page maintained by Bill Barrow < http://web.ulib.csuohio.edu/SpecColl/maps/MapSoc/ >(Map Societies). Use the information and links on the subject's `gateway' page (Welcome) to keep up with other developments.

Who's Who in the History of Cartography: The International Guide to the Subject (D9), edited by Mary Alice Lowenthal, was published by Map Collector Publications Ltd for Imago Mundi Ltd in 1998. Following the pattern set in `D8' (1995), this has a `What's What...' section, a vade mecum, at the beginning. `D9' reflects the growth in the Internet, giving email addresses for many of the 630 researchers listed.


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