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World War 1 and Detailed Maps

Newcastle 1913 topo

British Forces, aerial photography and more in WW1 …

“British surveyors made a crucial contribution during World War Iβ€”an accurate map of the battlefield”

writes Jeffrey S. Murray. His article highlights even more surprising advances in that short 4 year period. Continue reading World War 1 and Detailed Maps

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Online Mapping Course Returns

Maps and the Geospatial Revolution

This free online course is back again.

Learn how advances in geospatial technology and analytical methods have changed how we do everything, and discover how to make maps and analyze geographic patterns using the latest tools.

Continue reading Online Mapping Course Returns

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OCAD HQ Starts Blogging


OCAD better informs us

The ‘new’ OCAD AG (hq) blog is a welcome addition to their information services. Complementary to our Australasian oriented blog, their news will better cover new features and re-learnings of OCAD.

OCAD 11 users, from version 11.3.14 (1809) you will get new blog entries displayed when you start up OCAD. You can turn this off in Options | OCAD Preferences | General. Users of earlier versions can subscribe via RSS under the Meta heading bottom right column of the blog.

Flavour of blog posts to come

These topics to date indicate the type of information in future posts to this blog;

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The latter may appeal for checking control sites on a GPS enabled smart phone. However, if under any tree cover and your phone is anything like my HTC Desire S , I would continue using a handheld GPS for that purpose πŸ˜‰

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Learning about Geography & Geospatial

A MOOC from Penn State

Last week I started Maps & Geospatial Revolution, a Massive Open Online Course from CourseRA. CourseRA delivers varied free courses for universities around the world.

It is a 5 week course. Given the first week took only a couple of hours, you could easily catch up. The quality of the course in both content and execution is so far excellent.

So if you want to learn more about maps and geography within the geospatial revolution then enrol now at CourseRA.

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Book Review – Atlas of Design

Atlas of Design swirling seas

Why read Atlas of Design?

I’m not sure you would ‘read’ it. I rather think you would use it as a reference and/or have it grace a coffee table for the pleasure of returning to it from time to time. Certainly the cover, stark slate grey with a gunmetal number 1 (or perhaps more appropriately, the international symbol for turn on?) is very smart. Unfortunately fingerprints tend to show up for a while.

What might be in it for you?

Atlas ofDesign contents
Numbers relate to page numbers in text

New takes on classics

Such as p10, US highways. At first glance it is an extended London Tube map (1931, Harry Beck). And p36, Marlborough Sounds, must surely be a NZ government topo map? Subtly but definitely, no.

The new wave of popular prints?

Move over Monet, Manet, and Buffet. Surely these city maps composed of names will soon be adorning apartment walls. Modernity for the streets, rivers and parks of Washington D.C. on p4. Tradition through the first streets of Madison Wisconsin on p58 via signatures of the signers of the US constitution.

From form to function

Designed for a Brazilian annual report, the Hora Mundial (world time) map on p8 places Brazil at the centre of its world. It assailed me at first glance and I didn’t spend much time on it. But each time I look at it I discover more good design for its anticipated users.


There is imagination in every map in this book. If you can’t see it, just read the accompanying story of the map. But a few maps exemplify an imagineering approach. p28, eCartacoethes, is a series of this ilk. Melding the visual languages of electronic design and maps, the series is smart, amusing, and a few of the maps are initially realistic.

Williamette R

Art forms

β—Š Extrapolated defines p20 (took me a few goes to divine this clever history)
β—Š Purposed p28
β—Š Re-purposed p31
β—Š Captured p70 β€” absolutely gorgeous, see portion at left.


The cold hand of death on p34 contrasts with the warm climes of p36 and gorgeous colour laid down on p68 β€” my 2nd favourite visually.


À la London Tube in curvaceous tendrils on p14. Graphic design melds with GIS on p50.


You won’t see this book the way I did. That scope for interpretation is what makes it so interesting. Don’t be misled by my selection above. There is no uninteresting map in this atlas.

Still, don’t rely solely on my opinion β€” that this atlas is in its 2nd printing, within a year of release, speaks well of its acceptance. It seems these maps indeed represent the editors’ opinion that β€”

[quote]To truly engage map users requires that we present them with something worth looking at.[/quote]

Atlas of Design, Volume One. Editors: Timothy R Wallace & Daniel P Huffman. Published by North American Cartographic Society (NACIS). 2012. US$35 +shipping.