A new, free, exhibition opens on April 30th at The British Library called Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art, running until September 19th, it brings together some of the most impressive wall maps ever created – some of which have never been exhibited before.
Why are maps so fascinating? I just find myself being able to look at them for ages. Maps are about far more that geography.
Remember looking at maps in old school atlases and being amazed at the vast areas coloured the pink of the British Empire/Commonwealth? or is that me just giving my age away?
Or looking at very old maps and being struck at how much or little of the World they knew, or just how accurate it was, even though created without satellites? Or now, with satellites, the view we get in Google Earth, is just mind-blowing.
But maps can show us much more than where places are or who thinks they own them. The method of projection (needed because the Earth is a globe and maps are flat) and viewpoint can raise or lower the apparent importance of a country; or be used to illustrate other things: how about an Upside Down Map – no longer is World Euro centric, and who said North was up anyway?
But what do other things look like? The Opte Project has attempted to map the Internet. Fascinating.
Have a look at Strange Maps for some unusual ones.