Towards a national museum of map-making in Great Britain: a feasibility study

Stevenson, David (2008) Towards a national museum of map-making in Great Britain: a feasibility study. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation was a feasibility study for establishing a National Museum of map-making in Great Britain. At the present time, unlike many other countries, there is no museum in Britain that explains the history and development of the many disciplines involved in producing maps.

    This feasibility study set out to establish the amount of support there is for a proposal to establish a national museum of map-making in Great Britain. The matters of finance and location are both highlighted but not dealt with in any detail because both of these aspects would have to be the subjects of separate studies at a later date.

    Maps of various types and differing scales are in constant daily use by national and local government, the armed forces, police and public services, businesses and ordinary citizens. Without maps, life in Britain or any other civilised country, could not exist as we know it. Maps are trusted by those who use them: published detail is taken for granted and the accuracy of dimension and features shown is seldom called into question. The object of establishing a museum of map-making would be to enable the history and development of the technology needed to achieve the high standards of British maps to be fully understood.

    Early maps were artistic not scientific, but as technology developed, accuracy improved. Britain lagged behind European countries and by the mid-eighteenth century, the state of British mapping gave cause for concern. A military initiative in 1745 led to the eventual establishment of the Ordnance Survey. Development from then on was rapid and today British maps are considered to be the best in the world. With advances in technology, methods of mapping have changed completely in recent years. Electronic and digital technology has now replaced that used for centuries. Classic instruments are now seldom used and old methods and techniques are liable to be forgotten. It is to prevent this happening that a museum of map-making should be established.

    The results of this study show that there is strong support for the proposal, particularly among professionals in the industry. The study recommends that a concerted effort should be made by members of the professions involved and other interested persons to further the argument for the establishment of a national map-making museum in Great Britain.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: ?? EDAM ??
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2011 16:15
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:17
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/1136

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