The British Cartographic Society (http://www.cartography.org.uk/), the leading cartographic organization in the country, hold an annual award ceremony for that year’s best maps. These are a few of the recent entries, chosen because they are both outstanding examples of mapping but also because they each take a different approach to the traditional topographic map. They look good as well.
Jane Tomlinson, an Oxfordshire artist, has created a beautiful work of art in this map of North-West Europe on the theme of the life of Vincent van Gogh. Jane’s work regularly features maps, more can be seen here https://janetomlinson.com/medium/maps/
On the order page for copies of the painting Jane says ‘In this painting, I tell the story of the life and works of Vincent van Gogh through his paintings and words. As it’s a schematic map, I have shown motifs from some of his best-loved paintings very roughly in the locations where they were made….the actual putting down of paint took only about 6 weekends. But I can honestly say that really it’s taken about 38 years of study’. The page ends with a lovely, and cartographically appropriate, quote ‘You can’t be at the pole and the equator at the same time. You must choose your own line, as I hope to do, and it will probably be colour” wrote Vincent to his brother Theo, April 1888′ (https://janetomlinson.com/artworks/life-and-works-of-vincent-van-gogh/)
Maps International, part of the Lovell Johns group (https://www.mapsinternational.co.uk/), are a cartographic firm close to the Bodleian’s heart, literally as they are based in a village just outside Oxford. They have created this wonderful map of the wines of Europe, with the unique selling point of being Scratch map, so you can scratch off wines you’ve tried, it even has a count bar at the bottom that you scratch off every time you try a new wine. We have in the Bodleian plenty of tactile maps, be they 3-D relief models with hills, or braille maps and globes, but this is the first scratch map in the collection.
The last map comes from the University of Sheffield. This map of British islands 5km² or over takes familiar places out of their normal context and forces us to view them in a different way. Instead of being in their familiar locations just off shore the map makes us realise the different and complex geographical make-up of Great Britain. There are over 4,000 islands of over 0.2 hectares regardless of tide in Britain so these are just the tip of a very large iceberg, or maybe it would be more appropriate to say the cream of the archipelago.
The life and works of Vincent van Gogh, 2017. C1:3 (301)
European Wines 2018. C1 (1072)
Great Britain’s Islands… 2017. C16 (918)