JH Antique Maps @ GeoAlberta 2011


It took me a while to accept that the drafting table I use regularly is an antique, but the conference made me realize a few other things about my late-70s drafting classes. The first is that my cohort were about the last batch taught to draw lines as if it was something we might do for a living. CAD and the metric system were still a few years away. It seems that when drafting is taught now, it’s more the quaint study of an outmoded process. My second epiphany was that ‘in the olden days’, if you couldn’t letter, you were in trouble. Like being a guitar player who couldn’t sing, it didn’t matter how neat and accurate your drawings were if the lettering was sloppy. Finally, the U of C’s portion of the display contained an electric eraser, all memory of which I had repressed after the near destruction of a completed drawing in high school. Beastly things... should be banned.


Before the conference, I knew next to nothing about GIS, GPS, geomatics, or data point iterations. Talking with people who actually make maps was a rare treat and I’m not sure the people who study maps do this very often. Cloverpoint Cartography, representing the ‘Dreaming’ portion of the theme had the booth next to me and their 3D model  of the UBC campus was amazing. Not only was every building, tree, and light pole mapped, but you could zoom in to any room or lift the whole campus to see the underground pipes. After a short explanation about asset management and infrastructure planning, I only really had two questions: How do I reload? and Where are the aliens? Congratulations to Karl, Tanya, et al for their award-winning design. GeoAlberta presents awards to map makers in several categories each year. You can see all the 2011 winners here.


After snapping a photo of the entrance, I put my camera away and forgot about it, so if anyone has a photo of the booth, I’d love to have a copy. Below are shots of some of the maps displayed, in case anyone wants a second look. I mentioned the  turn-of-the-century school map of North America in a previous post. Note the similarity of this early Rand McNally map with the Johnson map (1867) below. A series of geological profiles by the British Geological Survey (1848) and the illustrated Natural Resources Map of Canada were along the back wall. A better view of the 1911 Mundy map of Edmonton and Strathcona is here, courtesy the U of AB. (Click a quadrant.) The British Columbia Department of Lands, Preliminary Map [of the] Queen Charlotte Islands, (now Haida Gwaii) has a scale of 1/253,440 or four miles to the inch. Notes on local conditions and resources fill many unsurveyed areas, while surveyed blocks are colour coded (green = timber leases). 

JohnsonJohnsonBR Geo SurveyBR Geo SurveyCanadaCanadaQCIQCISkidegateSkidegate

Stephens Isl.Stephens Isl.QCI - TitleQCI - Title





Finally, a special thank you to conference organizers Dennis, Bart, and Neil for their help in getting me set up and their hospitality throughout. Everything was first-class.

 Update: Thanks to LW and RW for the photo below.