Why men don’t listen and women can’t read maps (or can they?)

Why Men Don't Listen and Women can't Read Maps.There’s a book Called Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. I’ve never read it. That’s because not only can I read maps, I love them! Here’s why:

When I was fourteen at my co-ed high school I was forced by limited subject choices to do Domestic Science (that’s what the girls got, only  boys did Geography). I was miserable in Domestic Science, and lippy with it too. Finally I got thrown out of class. By the next day I became notorious as the only girl in the school permitted to study Geography. And that was one of my very early life-defining moments. Because maps have shaped my life.

And map books themselves have changed in ways I could not have foreseen all those years ago. Cartography has come a long way from colouring-in maps of the Natural Regions of the world.

For example: Plotted – A Literary Atlas by  Andrew deGraff (his official title is Pop Cartographer, how cool is that?) provides us with beautiful maps, plans and landscapes for nineteen great books. (At last you can see what the literary insides of Jonah’s whale might have looked like!). I could kick myself that I never had this idea.

Spiritual PlacesOther recently published map/site books include Unfathomable City (an Arty New Orleans Atlas) and the perfectly charming Spiritual Places by travel writer Sarah Baxter.

Move on to The Art of Map Illustration – in which four contemporary artists (called Visual Storytellers – another great job description that I regret I have missed) explain how they include maps in their art.

There’s also the beautiful children’s book City Atlas with a search-and-find game on every page and the weirdly compelling Atlas of Lost Cities which will make you want to travel to places that no longer exist.

The Consolation of mapsAnd right here in a local Christchurch mall I spotted a novel I’d not heard of before: The Consolation of Maps. What a wonderful title. The library hadn’t purchased it, but I used the online form to Request an Item for our Collection and we now have five copies. It’s a wonderful story about the love of antique maps and the contrasts between life in Japan and the States. Okay, so the cover does make you feel that the only consolation one might gain from maps would be if a ton of them dropped on your head and put you out of your misery, but aside from that, it is a worthwhile read.

Back to my fourteen year old self: Geography is the reason I can talk at some boring length about Magnetic Declination. Why I have a good grasp of Adiabatic Lapse Rates and Great Circles. Why every home I have ever lived in has a globe of the world, several atlases and a box full of topographic maps. It is also responsible for my having only ever dated bearded men and why I always make good friends with ladies who bake delicious cupcakes!

The map of my life seemed to start from that point where I was thrown out of class. What a blessing that turned out to be!

More about maps

Map of a scheme suggested by the Port and City Committee showing a new road tunnel to Lyttelton: Picturing Canterbury

Map of a scheme suggested by the Port and City Committee showing a new road tunnel to Lyttelton [1926?] Port and City Committee (Christchurch, N.Z.). File Reference CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0001.
“An aerial view showing Christchurch in relation to the magnificent natural harbour of Lyttelton, and the proposed highway and vehicular tunnel through the barrier of the Port Hills which, in conjunction with the present railway, will enable the city to employ modern transport methods in the carriage of goods and passengers to and from the ships.”

Date: c.1926

Although a rail tunnel linking Lyttelton to Christchurch had been in existence since 1867, it wasn’t until 1956 that legislation was passed allowing for the construction of the Lyttelton Road Tunnel. Construction began in 1962 and was completed in 1964, opening on 27 February.

Do you have any photographs of the Lyttelton Road Tunnel? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Map Of A Scheme Suggested By The Port And City Committee Showing A New Road Tunnel To Lyttelton

Unruly enclaves and Ruly dogs: Cool stuff from the selectors

Beyond the Map: Unruly Enclaves, Ghostly Places, Emerging Lands and Our Search for New Utopias

9781781316382Places that maps can’t confine or identify, Utopias, pieces of land in the middle of a highway, political places and cyberplaces. Written by the author of Off the Map, this book is hard to define but easy to read.  Each chapter is short, creative writing about places that defy definition in the normal scheme of things. Makes you look at the notion of Place in an entirely different way.

Better Homes and Gardens Decorating book

9781328944986Perhaps you are a child of the 50s and 60s, or you just love the design from this era? Better Homes and Gardens presents the new decorating bible for those favouring that wonderful mid-century design sensibility.  Crammed full of original designs, plans, colours, design and advertising. Great for ideas but also wonderful just to ponder times past.

 

Really Good Dog Photography

9781846149429I love cute dog photos, (I blame Facebook for this), and luckily Really Good Dog photography has plenty of them, but what has been surprising (and in a good way) is the depth of the photos and the accompanying essays.  These are no ordinary pictures, they tell a story both about the dog and the photographers. Many are startlingly beautiful, some fit the cute variety and others are just wonderful photographs with a dog almost there by chance. All tell a story and this is a great book for those who love dogs but also for those who are interested in photography.

On Love and Art and Maps

On our very first date my husband and I discovered that we share a love of maps.  In retrospect I can see now that we were coming from completely different planets, so to speak. His the planet in which the words “Cadastral” and “Great Circles” featured majorly. Mine the planet of the isolated farmhouse at the end of the road and my desire to visit it. But we both still find maps beautiful and own several sets of topographic maps. We have kept quiet about this bond, until now that is. Because Art and Maps are IN.

A Map of the World According to Illustrators and StorytellersTelling your life story through maps is the new therapy de jour. A great place to start is with a beautiful book entitled A Map of the World According to Illustrators and Storytellers. This book plays down accuracy in favour of getting the message across. Eighty-nine creatives map out their lives and their places. The variety of approaches is gobsmacking. One of my favourites is the Happy Planet Map on page 212. It may inspire you to look at your surroundings, and your life, and create your own map of how you feel about them.

Mapping ManhattanAnother take on maps and art and life  is Mapping Manhattan A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers. Here random New Yorkers were given simple, identical outline maps of New York and asked to tell their story of this city in any way that they liked. Seventy-five posted back their offerings to Becky Cooper who put them together into this fascinating little book. She says of this initiative:

Maps and Memories are bound together, a little like songs and love affairs are.

Making Art from MapsIn Making Art from Maps, the author Jill Berry starts from the belief that we all love maps. She loves them and she also loves art. These two loves started gelling somewhere along the way and resulted in this book where Jill and forty-one artists take maps and do astonishingly transformative things with them. This 2016 book would be a useful addition to the library of anyone who likes playing around with paper.

And closer to home, Even Smith’s Journal recognises that the day of the map is upon us in their online magazine of January 04 2017 with an article entitled Retro Maps of Modern Cities. The idea behind this approach is to treat maps as art and not just as guides to places.

So, if you’ve tried journalling and failed; succumbed to colouring-in and now sit with several partly completed books; and possibly even resorted to adult join-the-dots books (and please let this be just a very few of you) – but still you feel hollow, still your life mission has not been revealed to you, then let it be known that Mapping Your Life is the trending new thing.

More about maps

 

Christchurch mapfinders – William Smith’s geological map

The University of Canterbury has discovered a copy of William Smith’s 200 year old geological map of Britain.

The University of Canterbury’s copy has been identified by experts at the Geological Society of London as one of the early hand painted incarnations produced at the London office of publisher John Cary.

We now know from the Geological Society’s records that this map numbered ‘b4’ was signed by Smith on the morning of Tuesday 23rd January 1816. Along with his highly skilled colourists John Cary produced, on behalf of Smith, approximately 350 copies of the map with as many as 120 to 150 surviving today, according to Tom Sharpe of the Geological Society …

Sir Joseph Banks (who Banks Peninsula is named after), to whom the map is dedicated to, was Smith’s major sponsor in the research and production of his work providing funds for Smith to complete the map.

Read more: Library unearths the first geological map. Damian Cairns, Special Collections Librarian, who features in the article is a former alumni of Christchurch City Libraries, so feeling very proud of him!

Cover of The map that changed the worldIf you’ve read the splendid The Map That Changed the World: The Tale of William Smith and the Birth of A Science by Simon Winchester you will know how interesting this is.  If you haven’t read it, get a copy – we have paper copies – one in large print, and an eBook.

NASA’s Earth Observatory has a good image of the map and an introduction to the work of geologist William Smith.

For us in Christchurch, we probably know more than most about the layers beneath us. We have all garnered geological knowledge post-earthquakes.

If you are a bit of a map lover, you might also like to delve into our collection which includes this 1840 Akaroa beauty and a 1983 Christchurch cycle map.

And these geological maps:

Geological map of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland, [ca. 1866]

Title: Geological map of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland, New Zealand by Julius von Haast, P.H.D., F.R.S., principal geologist. Date: [ca. 1866] Physical Description: The Alexander Turnbull Library holds a CT scan. Scale etc: Scale [1:1,000,000]. File Reference: ATLMAPS ATL-Acc-3233 Other Reference: MapColl 834.4caq/[ca.1866]/Acc. 3233

Geological map of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland, New Zealand by Julius von Haast, P.H.D., F.R.S., principal geologist. [ca. 1866] ATLMAPS ATL-Acc-3233 MapColl 834.4caq/[ca.1866]/Acc. 3233

Geological sections of Lyttelton and Christchurch railway tunnel [ca. 1875]

Title: Geological sections of Lyttelton and Christchurch railway tunnel [by Julius von Haast]. Date: [ca. 1875] Scale etc: Scale 1:480. File Reference: ATLMAPS ATL-Acc-3741 Other Reference: MapColl 834.44gme/[ca. 1875]/Acc. 3741

Geological sections of Lyttelton and Christchurch railway tunnel [by Julius von Haast]. [ca. 1875]  Scale etc: Scale 1:480. ATLMAPS ATL-Acc-3741 MapColl 834.44gme/[ca. 1875]/Acc. 3741

Selfies, Maps and a Prince Philip cult: Cool new stuff from our Selectors

Cover of Tigers foreverTigers forever: Saving the world’s most endangered big cat by Steve Winter
This book showcases a decade of beautiful photographs and stories of tigers in the wild.  Alongside the spectacular photography by Steve Winter, and award winning National Geographic photographer are the stories of the committed people from all around the world who dedicate their lives to saving the tiger from extinction

Cover of My first AnimaliaMy first Animalia by Graeme Base
Animalia was first published in 1986, immediately capturing the imagination of children and adults around the world.  My First Animalia celebrates the magic of Animalia in a playful introductory format for the very young, but will appeal to all ages!

Cover of GoGo : a Kidd’s guide to graphic design by Chip Kidd
The author is an award winning graphic designer who has created a kid friendly (and adult friendly too) book on how to get your design ideas across to the world, showing how to make design dynamic and interesting. The back of the book contains 10 suggested projects to get started and these can then be posted to gothebook.com

Cover of MapsMaps by Aleksandra Mizielinska
This collection of 52 highly illustrated maps details not only geographical features and political borders, but also places of interest, iconic personalities, native animals and plants, local peoples, cultural events, and many more fascinating facts associated with each region. Check examples of the maps – they really are quirky and very interesting.  The New Zealand map has lots of well known icons, but nothing for Christchurch.  What is our global icon now?

Cover of SelfiesSelfies: Self -portrait photography with attitude by Jan-Haje Kamps
Apparently the Selfie is more than just pointing the camera at yourself and making a duckface. “Selfie” was added to the online version of the Oxford dictionary in August and is being considered for future inclusion in the more traditional Oxford English Dictionary so it must be here to stay!  This book might be the answer to those endless rather banal images that clutter Facebook, or perhaps Kim Kardashian (the expert in self promotion) can also set you on the right path?

Cover of Man belong Mrs QueenMan belong Mrs Queen : adventures with the Philip worshippers / Baylis, Matthew.
This has to one of the months more unusual books as it is about a Prince Philip- loving cult (Yes you did read this right – the Prince Philip of the dreadful gaffes) that exists on the South Sea Island of Tanna.

On the rumbling slopes of this remarkable volcanic island, banjaxed by daily doses of the local narcotic, suffering from a diet of yams and regularly accused of being a divine emissary of the Duke, Baylis uncovered a religion unlike any other on the planet. Self-deprecating, hilarious and enlightening, “Man Belong Mrs Queen” is travel writing at its horizon-expanding best.

It’s official – Middle Island is now allowed to be called Te Wai Pounamu!

Middle Island (Te Wai-Pounamu) New Zealand : showing principal waterfalls for electric power, and catchment areas of the principal New Zealand rivers.

Middle Island (Te Wai-Pounamu) New Zealand : showing principal waterfalls for electric power, and catchment areas of the principal New Zealand rivers. 1904

See also our post Middle Island or New Munster?

Middle Island or New Munster?

Map
New Ulster, New Munster, and New Leinster, 1844.

What is in a name? With the news that the North Island and the South Island may not be the names of two of our islands, people are all stirred up. Twitter got into the action, bestowing new names on our is-lands The North Island – Te Ika-a-Maui – and the South Island – Te Waipounamu.

Then I remembered some delicious old maps that reveal names of old. This 1838 map shows a transliterated version – South Island as Tavaipoenammo and the North Island as Eaheinomauwe.

Once we showed Irish roots with the names New Ulster (North Island) and New Munster (South Island) (Stewart Island as New Leinster), 1844.

Middle Island, 1850 map.

Te Waipounamu (the South Island) was once dubbed Middle Island.

See at left the Sketch of Middle Island (New Zealand) shewing the East Coast as laid down by Captn. Stokes 1850.

See also 1880 and 1904 examples of the South Island as Middle Island.

For more map goodness, check out our digitised collection of maps.

Christchurch evolution

CoverThe Christchurch of July 2011 is a very different city from the Christchurch of July 2010. But while recent changes have been dramatic, Christchurch has always been evolving.

The library has several collections that let you discover the many faces of our city through the years. There are beautiful books, such as Gwenda Turner’s Christchurch, and Christchurch Changing by Geoffrey Rice, and there are some wonderful hidden gems in our online collection:

If these resources whet your appetite, don’t forget to also search the library’s catalogue for more publications about Christchurch and Canterbury. Try the following searches:

coverI have just placed a hold on Canterbury – The Big Snow, 1992 to see how different Christchurch in white looked then and now.

What other gems showing our city and region’s history would you recommend?

And then there were 196 …

coverNations, that is. The latest, South Sudan, is not even a month old, having officially been ‘born’ on 9 July 2011.

It is undeniably trivial, but, as a librarian, one of my first thoughts was of the atlases that now need updating.

I have always liked maps – an interest no doubt fostered by the year I spent at intermediate school sitting facing a wall-size map of Africa. While the teacher droned on, I’d listen with half an ear, while my mind would take off on flights of fancy, flitting from the mosques of mysterious Timbuktu to the markets of Zanzibar.

I’d follow the path of the Nile from its source at the centre of the continent, near that tantalising line that signalled the Equator, past the pyramids in Cairo to Damietta and Rosetta where the mighty river fans out to meet the Mediterranean Sea. And I’d wonder at the bravery of those first explorers who, prior to the opening of the Suez Canal, ventured to circumnavigate Africa to reach the fabulous Spice Islands.

It’s difficult to fathom the many ways in which Africa and the world have changed in the twenty or so years since I sat daydreaming in front of that map. And I’m not thinking only in terms of political changes of borders and placenames. As we have recently been reminded, the earth is constantly transforming itself: mountains rise, sea levels fluctate high and low, and rocks crumble.