One of the latest additions to my map collection at home: this Leesbaar Amsterdam map of Amsterdam. Created by Yolanda Huntelaar, Louis Stiller and Erik Nieuwenhuis, this map guides you through the city through quotes from literature, poems and songs. It’s cleverly designed showing you streets, water, parks etc filled up with quotes that actually match the location on the map perfectly. It is possible to wander through literature by simply looking at the map. Or, to stroll down the streets of your city and learn more about authors or singers with a strong connection to your own neighbourhood.
And after the big success of the literary map of Amsterdam, the map of Bergen will be presented this weekend. Bergen is a small town in the Netherlands with a very rich local history filled with authors and poets. So, if you like literature and maps, this might be a perfect gift for you. Best to be combined with a trip to Amsterdam and/or Bergen of course, so this could be your perfect excuse for a city trip! You’re welcome.
Well, since the holidays are only 1 nod away (at least it feels like it when autumn kicks in) I thought it could be useful to help you with some map inspired gift ideas. We’re starting off with this beautiful book just published in Oxford: ‘Treasures from the Map room’. I know from first hand that the map room of the Bodleian Libraries holds some very beautiful treasures, such as the awesome map below (I wrote my thesis on cartoon maps during my masters programme in Oxford).
But, lets get back to the wishlist for the holidays this year. Check out this beautiful publication, edited by Debbie Hall. You might want to add this to your personal wishlist!
Something awesome for a Friday: check out this ‘Can you identify the book from its map? – quiz’ by The Guardian. Worth your time. I must admit I only scored 6 out of 10.. Go go go! Here’s one of the questions to get you warmed up:
From next week on, there is an exhibition on show in the Chazen Museum of Art called Marginalia in cARTography.This exhibition (February 28 until May 18) explores the visual discourse between marginal artistic images and the maps where they appear, as this marginalia sheds light on the content and purpose of the maps, their authors and patrons, and on the historical period when they were made. The exhibition also explores cartography as an art form, with a focus on the representations in the map margins. Guest curator is Sandra Sáenz-López Pérez, an Spanish art historian who specializes in the iconographical analysis of maps and the artistic interest of historical cartography.
If you don’t happen to be around the corner of Wisconsin (like me), you might like the fact that the catalogue is downloadable here.
Map: Blaeu, Willem Janszoon, Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula, Map, Amsterdam, 1635, 41 x 54 cm., Courtesy of the Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Looking for a nice gift? (Probably not of much use with an e-reader, but luckily most people still have printed books.) Now someone’s last thoughts of the day won’t be on the last sentence he/she read, but on New York city instead. Not bad at all!
Gestalten recently added a new beauty to their range of impressive map books. ‘A Map of the World’ showcases contemporary maps by designers, illustrators and mapmakers from all over the world. As the publisher states: ‘Maps help us understand and navigate the world. For centuries, maps have become better, more refined, and more precise—there are no blind spots anymore. While Google Maps and GPS systems have become our tools of choice for navigation, contemporary maps have evolved into platforms for cutting-edge illustration, experimental data visualization, and personal visual storytelling.’ Couldn’t agree more! ‘A Map of the World’ consists of a great collection of maps, varying from very personal narrative maps to accurate street plans. Full of cartographic experiments, bright colours and enough pretty maps to look at once in a while: this book will make a great addition to your book collection. Oh, and do you remember the Cosmographies by Carlos Romo Melgar I blogged about last year? He is one of the featured artists in this book!
Lazy sundays are perfect to flip through my collection of map books. The Map as Art is one of my favourites (and was the first gift my boyfriend ever gave me. Good thinking of the guy!). This piece by Susan Stockwell is also in it: a London Subway map of red cotton that is stitched on calligraphy rice paper. Make sure to check out her website because she creates awesome art work. Happy sunday!
London Subway by Susan Stockwell, 2007
You know I live in Amsterdam. A great city to live in, also because of the charming canals that give the city its beauty and historical feel. In the Stadsarchief Amsterdam, an exhibtion called Booming Amsterdam just opened. The expo is about the building of the canals in the Golden Age. In 1613, Amsterdam was growing quickly and expansion was needed to house all people living in and coming to Amsterdam.The city council decided to build city canals. Booming Amsterdam gives you a great overview of 400 years of urban development. You will find maps, architectural plans and cityscapes to tell the city’s story. And it is quite the story!
And of big importance to me: two books were also recently published: Kaarten van Amsterdam (Maps of Amsterdam), Part 1: Amsterdam from 1538-1865, Part 2: Amsterdam from 1866-2012.
Part 2 is an updated and extended version of a book published in 2002, Part 1 is completely new. I had the honour to speak with the author – Marc Hameleers- a few weeks ago and he told me the project has been a part of his life for the last 20 years. The base for these two books is a catalogue written by D’Ailly in 1934. Marc Hameleers: “A.E. d’Ailly was working at the Stadsarchief of Amsterdam (the municipal archives) and he wrote a very thorough, detailed catalogue of the maps of Amsterdam. Unfortunately not very exciting to read, but the content is impressive. Don’t forget: D’Ailly didn’t have the resources we have nowadays to research the existence and availability of maps. His research is really impressive.”
Obviously, there are some big differences between the catalogue from 1934 and these new books: D’Ailly included the maps in a chronological order of its content. This means a map from the 19th century would be found in the beginning of the overview because it presented Amsterdam in the 17th century). Hameleers decided to follow the chronology of the map itself, making the overview also useful to study the cartographical developments and focus. Another big difference: Hameleers included all different versions, fascimiles etc of one map in one catalogue number. This makes the overview the books offer much more useful and practical. The Stadsarchief Amsterdam has a huge collection of maps of Amsterdam, but research was also done in other collections worldwide to get closest to a complete overview as possible.
The result of these years of work by Hameleers? Two beautifully designed books (by Ronald Boiten and Irene Mesu) with almost 1100 images. The books are intriguing because of their massive amount of great content, super printing quality (the maps look great) and the information they provide about the development of my lovely city. A must have if you ask me!
Information about the exhibition Booming Amsterdam:
15 February – 26 of May 2013
Admission adults: 6 euros
Adress: Stadsarchief Amsterdam, Vijzelstraat 32 Amsterdam
Information about the books:
ISBN: 978 90 6868 620 3 (part 1) and 978 90 6868 621 0 (part 2)
Price € 69,50 (per book)
You can’t be surprised by my love of underground maps. Now look at this beauty:
© Maxwell J Roberts, 28/01/2003, all rights reserved (Click here for full size version)
Max Roberts, expert on underground maps, has designed this new way to look at the London tube map. The commonly used map of the London Underground is becoming even more cluttered, hence this new circular approach. But besides this intruiging map there is even more: Roberts wrote a terrific book about metro/underground/tube (whatever you like to call it) maps: ‘Underground Maps Unravelled’ and is doing a lecture on February 19th in the Design Museum! I quote from their website about the talk by Roberts: “Since 1999, Dr Maxwell Roberts has been working on an ongoing research project to understand transport schematics, their effective design and how to evaluate them using objective methodology. In this lecture he presents his comprehensive catalogue of visual experiments and discusses his findings.” Go, go, go!
Furthermore: the book is very detailed and the book design is incredibly fresh and suitable for the subject: various tube lines running over the corners of the pages. It’s on my wish list!
To me On the Map by Simon Garfield is a great addition to the world of map books. ‘Why the world looks the way it does’ suggests this book will entertain the reader. And it does.
The book wanders through history in a relaxed way, and Garfield really takes the reader along on the discovery journey he takes. You can almost hear him speak out loud about every map. Whether it is about the Vinland map -and the discussion about it in the cartography field- or about Google Maps, Garfield gives you the feeling that each map story is a very special one. Of course I was happy to see a chapter included on stereotype mapping in the nineteenth century (my own thesis subject).
The part about women’s inability to read maps was also fun to read. Usually I get in defense mode the minute someone starts that discussion, but that proved not to be needed with Garfield. He does have a point though when he says women usually rely on landmarks to find their way, and men are slightly better in using spatial clues to find their way. Fair enough.
This book is a perfect gift for anyone intrigued by maps. I can’t say I read a lot of map topics that were new for me, but I like the broad variety of maps that are included. The fact Garfield even included the recent Apple Maps developments makes this book very up to date. That completeness of the book (plus the over 60 illustrations in it) makes it your perfect partner for a cold winter day on the couch.
‘A pub quizzer’s dream . . . Rather than over-romanticise the experience of map-reading, Garfield allows his varied, expertly researched stories to speak for themselves, and in so doing helps us see that there are fewer things in life more useful, rewarding and beautiful than a map that does what it’s supposed to. Perhaps if Apple had read the book a few months ago, today’s iPhone users would have a much better idea of where they’re going.’, David Clack, Daily Telegraph
On the Map
(In Dutch: Op de kaart will be published in June by Podium, ISBN: 978-9057595714)