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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Spotlight on a Website (9): Brilliant Maps

I think it has been four years since I was moved to post anything in this series but Brilliant Maps is such an interesting website that I decided to make this post. Thanks are due to my friend Curtis Gallant who has a Cambridge Degree in the History of Cartography, for directing me to this site.
From the Whicker's World Foundation website: 
"Curtis Gallant is a Cambridge classics graduate who has a specialist interest in the history of cartography. As a lover of documentaries, particularly those shedding light on cultures around the world, he was very keen to work for the Whicker’s World Foundation as Jane Ray’s researcher. It’s rumoured that the Whicker’s World Foundation decided to employ Curtis as their researcher having seen him correcting Jeremy Paxman on University Challenge on a question about African coastlines."
Brilliant Maps beautifully illustrates what the function of a map can be. Of course, primarily they tell us where things are especially in relation to each other. But they can also tell us lot about history, geography, travel, politics, populations and humour (eg, see European Food According to Italians).

 Here is a selection of some their interesting maps. Clink on the links to see the page:

1. Percentage of Young Adults In Europe, aged 25-34, Who Still Live With Their Parents

2. How North Londoners View The Rest Of The UK Or Why The Rest of The UK Hates London

3. The Genetic Map Of Europe

4. European Food According to Italians

Take a look at their site for yourself!

I'm listening to Tom Rush's original 1968 version of his song No Regrets which later became a big hit in the UK for the Walker Brothers. Listen here

10 comments:

Parnassus said...

Hello Bazza, Maps can also tell us much about the mapmakers themselves, and the thoughts and hopes of the communities that issued the maps. I am thinking specifically of an article you wrote before about the mapmakers who deliberately included a non-existent town. Like all historical resources, maps have to be evaluated and interpreted.
--Jim

bazza said...

Jim: Usually a map would be considered as a primary source in historical research. So yes, they tell us a lot about the map-maker and their contemporary times.
I absolutely love that story about Agloe, the non-existent town!

Botanist said...

Brilliant concept. I loved the Italian culinary map!

Hels said...

My heart belongs firmly to London and the Home Counties, but even for me "How North Londoners View The Rest Of The UK" has one or two problems. I presume Ireland was misshaped on purpose.

It is interesting that Cornwall and the Isle of Wight got away with "acceptability" because of Londoners' gorgeous holiday homes there.

bazza said...

Botanist: It's a hoot isn't it? Apparently it's from an Atlas of Prejudice which does nicely illustrate my point about the uses of maps.

bazza said...

Hels: I think the map shows the correct shape of Northern Ireland. The whole thing is ironic/sarcastic and is registering popular (mis)conceptions!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bazza - I love those map sites ... they provide some wonderful thoughts ... and yes we need to look with open minds and eyes ... but they are a brilliant concept - cheers Hilary

bazza said...

Hilary: I find looking at maps a fascinating past-time. They can tell us so much that perhaps even the map-maker wasn't aware of.

Curtis Gallant said...

Hello Bazza: I feel honoured to be mentioned on your fantastic blog. I'm so pleased that you like the Brilliant Maps website and I love the examples you have chosen. The North Londoner's perspective of Britain wouldn't happen to be something you identify with, would it? That map is actually very reminiscent of a political map from the 1980s which purported to show "The World According to Reagan": https://jeffpelline.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/the-world-according-to-ronald-reagan.jpg
Cartography is such a fascinating subject because there are so many different ways that maps can be used. No map can ever be entirely objective or "accurate": cartographers always make decision about what they include and what they omit.
Another website which might interest your readers is Strange Maps, a cartography blog which features a wide variety of interesting maps: http://bigthink.com/articles?blog=strange-maps
I look forward to the next time we can discuss all things cartographical.
All the best,
Curtis

bazza said...

Hello Curtis. Thanks for commenting and for the further information. I don't see myself as a North Londoner and they are definitely not my views! I'm more of a North-east Londoner - an entirely different animal.....
Thanks also for the new links as well.