18. June 2013 09:30
What constitutes a city map, and what is it for? The two most familiar maps of London both originated in the 1930s: the diagrammatic Tube map devised by Harry Beck in 1933, and the pocket A-Z invented by Phyllis Pearsall in 1935. They are essential aids for Londoners and visitors attempting to navigate the metropolis, and most other large cities have their equivalents.
But city maps are almost as old as the city itself – and for much of history, they were not designed to help people find their way around. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, few cities were large enough to make that necessary. Despite its accuracy, the great marble map that hung in the Forum in Rome was not intended as a guide for visitors (they would have had to climb a ladder to read its upper portions) but to proclaim the imperial city’s prosperity and power.
From the clay tablets of the Babylonians to the latest satellite images, city maps have served a multiplicity of functions. They may come into existence as the work of surveyors and town planners before the actual cities they depict; they may delineate property ownership, express civic pride, or entertain the armchair traveller.
The first systematic collection of views of the world’s cities was Antoine du Pinet's
Plantz, pourtraitz et descriptions de plusieurs villes, printed in Lyon in 1563, using woodcuts to ‘show exclusively to the eye, in as lifelike a way as possible, the form, the position, the outskirts of the place’. Born in Besançon in 1515, du Pinet was a French Protestant pastor, an editor of Calvin, the author of a popular herbarium and translator of Pliny.More...
17. June 2013 09:14
Author: Gregor Swiderek
I haven't been in the US for more than half a year and I'm not going for another few months. But I'm not wasting my time. Instead I'm preparing another awesome trip for the autumn. At this stage I spend a lot of my free time studying maps thinking about future road-trips.
So, maps: let me share some thoughts about the subject.
Obviously everyone is aware of Google maps. This is great tool for route planning. It calculates distances, driving times and lets you look at street level (useful when you are trying to work out how to exit unfamiliar airport parking or drive to a small motel hidden down a side street). But as much as I like Google, its mapping has some obvious limitations.
Probably the most important is the lack of contour lines or other topographic information. You really can't work out how steep the road is or sometimes even if the terrain is flat or hilly. For that you need some proper topographic maps.
This is where the USGS comes in, which stands for the United States Geological Survey. Created by an act of congress in 1879 it is the agency of the United States government which studies landscape, geology, natural resources and natural hazards. It is like joining the Ordinance Survey and British Geological Survey into one agency and then throwing in a few more bits and pieces.More...
14. June 2013 09:00
Still need to find a gift for your Dad? Don't panic - just pop into our London or Bristol stores today or tomorrow! Maggie Murphy has gathered some great gifts to inspire you....
From Left: Bronze Pocket Compass (£14.99); Ultimate Adventures: A Rough Guide to Adventure Travel (£16.99); Travelogue Journal (£14.99); Victorinox Swiss Army Card (£19.99)More...
26. October 2012 08:55
The backlash against digital maps is underway. Whether people are conscious of it or not, increasing numbers of us want to travel back in time to see how things were in the days before Google Maps and sat navs.
This is according to cartography enthusiast and author Simon Garfield, who visited Stanfords to sign copies of his new book On The Map; a work that explores maps' influence in our understanding of the world.
"I think there's a greater appreciation of the beauty of maps; a nostalgia for the way antique maps look," he says. "And not just maps that you hang on the wall. There's a line in the book about Stanfords, where you can buy pencils with antique maps wrapped around them. You can't use them as maps, but they're beautiful things to have."
While the significance of paper maps as primary navigation tools has eroded, Garfield believes that a great love exists for old-style maps and traditional cartography. "People are absolutely devoted to them," he explains, "not only because they help you find your way but because they're very beautiful things.
"Cartography is a great British tradition More...
26. March 2012 11:46
Here at Stanfords we use all types of mapping, and recently, we’ve become rather taken with digital mapping. Here, digital mapping specialist Craig Wareham makes the case for one of the latest developments for walkers – digital mapping on mobile phones.
Maps have leapt from the page and onto websites such as the AA's route planner, Google Maps and Microsoft's Virtual Earth, to name but three. These have made digital maps widely available and often at no cost. However, while these services are of undoubted value for road-users, they lack the rich layers of information required by walkers, mountain-bikers, horse-riders and other ‘off-road’ users, who are used to relying on Ordnance Survey (OS) maps in all their glorious detail. More...
22. March 2012 15:12
Not since William the Conqueror recorded England in the Domesday Book has there ever been such a record of the country. A record that is so detailed as to show every road, every house, and every tree - the first ever complete and continuous colour aerial photographic record.
To set about the collection of such a data set is no ordinary task. The flight planning alone was groundbreaking in its enormity. More...
19. July 2009 13:00
An innovative ‘sculpture man’ has constructed a one-of-its-kind model of a relief map of Ghana, using topographic maps from Stanfords.
Dave Taylor was commissioned by the Lighthouse Chapel International, based in Ghana, to produce a relief map of the country, so they could use it to place markers representing their various building projects throughout Ghana.
The sculptor and modelmaker, whose studio is near Southend, Essex, bought some topographic maps of Ghana from Stanfords. Dave says, “We needed some detailed maps and everyone I asked suggested Stanfords. I found the website and staff on the phone very useful. I also got a good book on Ghana, which went some way to convince my client that I was serious about the project.”
Within just five weeks Dave and his assistant Phil Harlow had produced a 1:250,000 scale relief map of the African country, complete with More...
22. March 2009 14:31
We get a thrill whenever we come across descriptions of the wonders of maps in the world of literature. It all started for us with the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who in The Hound of the Baskervilles has Sherlock Holmes describing the transporting power of a map, and even referring to Stanfords by name as his chosen source of cartographic inspiration.
Here, then, are a collection of the best quotes that we've compiled over the years - and you can be sure we'll be adding more whenever we make a new discovery - or add your own in the comments field at the bottom of the page...
James M Barrie
Prominent among the curses of civilisation is the map that folds up "convenient for the pocket." There are men who can do almost everything except shut a map. It is calculated that the energy wasted yearly in denouncing these maps to their face would build the Eiffel Tower in thirteen weeks.
Shutting a Map in An Auld Licht Manse and Other Sketches, page 113 (1893). Taken from Cartophilia (1980). More...
5. February 2009 14:22
Stanfords Business Mapping, a leader in the provision of large-scale mapping, height and imagery data, has launched a new online one-stop shop for all business map products.
One of only three suppliers to meet the stringent requirements for Planning Portal, Stanfords is the proud recipient of Ordnance Survey's Outstanding Achievement Award for the past two years and was recently awarded OS Premier Partner status (the highest level possible).
Unlike other suppliers, Stanfords Portal offers all of the following benefits: More...