Saturday, 23 March 2013

Maps are forever (Part II)

I wrote earlier about a 1610 map from the Harvard University Library of the Cambridge UK region, a snapshot of which I simply edited the tear and restored it by eye-balling it in Photoshop Elements. I detailed before some local history and geology too.

click on image to enlarge, then 'back' on your browser to return here
When you compare it to the local Open Street Map (the on-line map with the most detail) you will see the differences in the distribution of settlements, roads and rivers.

click on image to enlarge, then 'back' on your browser to return here
I tabulated the differences in localities and rivers below - the left hand column indicates where in the map the features are to be found:


Note how towns important just over 400 years ago are either no longer important (Reach), no longer  there (Chester, Fledishe, Raddesley, Stane) or just coming back from nowhere (Northstowe). Also ten lesser towns aren't there... and Cambridge ranks with Reach, but Chester (Castle Hill?) ranks higher! Roman past is not only evident in the long straight roads (not shown here) but also in old ports (Reach along the old marsh shoreline) and fortifications (Chester). The rivers are called flu (as in fluvial) and bridges (causey) are marked, signifying their importance (and rarity) in this waterlogged area. Contrast also the rarity of roads (dotted lines) and preponderance of rivers in he 1610 map prior to the drainage of the Fens.

Last but not least, note the exquisite hand-drawing of buildings as another measure of locales' importance. These maps were often water colour and hand painted, hence their fragility and poor state as I repatched it in a manner of speaking. At the Geological Survey of Canada I once worked on old geological maps that were cut in squares, backed on linen for folding and transportation, but they were had painted in water colour too...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andrew,

    I'm glad you found that map of Cambridge, it's one of my favorites. It is also available for download as a georeferenced image from the Harvard Geospatial Library (http://hgl.harvard.edu).

    Bonnie Burns
    GIS Librarian
    Harvard Map Collection

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