Monthly Archives: July 2012

Christmas in July

Williams & Heintz Map Corp. Hospice Tree

Williams & Heintz Map Corp. Hospice Tree, decorated with re-purposed nautical charts

Last winter, Williams & Heintz participated for the first time, in Calvert Hospice Festival of Trees  We got to decorate one of over 60 trees, which were displayed over Thanksgiving weekend, and then went to homes and businesses.  This year there will be a new Gingerbread House Competition, in addition to  Breakfast with Santa.  The vendors at the festival provide a great start to the holiday shopping season too.  All proceeds from the Festival of Trees go to support the Burnett-Calvert Calvert Hospice House. The House is available to anyone in Calvert County living their final days for whom care at home is not an option.

Our decorations were made of re-purposed nautical charts. It makes me happy to get creative and make pretty things out of old stuff, so I derive great satisfaction making decorations out of reused maps.  We made paper snowflakes, angels, paper map beads, and origami boats.

We publish updated Maryland and Virginia Cruising Guides every two years because of the hundreds of changes to information on buoys, water depth, tidal currents, marinas, ramps and channels.  Whenever we have leftover books from a prior printing, they get recycled. As nice as recycling is, making the old charts into something new and beautiful, for a good cause, is far more fun.

Paper beads and angels from re-purposed maps and nautical charts

Paper beads and angels from re-purposed maps and nautical charts

UPDATE:  See pictures and read about the 2012 hospice tree here.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet. But what about that place on the map?

Tectonic Map of China and Mongolia showing Korea and the sea to the east

Tectonic Map of China and Mongolia, 1974.  Showing Korea and the sea to the east

In Shakespeare’s play, Juliet asks Romeo,

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.”

But what about that place on the map?  Place names are often contested.  For example, the Persian Gulf is a name that has been in use for a long time. Arabian Gulf is a relatively new name for the same place, that some Iranians object to.

The Sea of Japan is most commonly used to identify the body of water between Japan and the Korean Peninsula and China.  The Republic of Korea would prefer that it was called the East Sea.

Map makers, who do not wish to make a political statement with their cartography, will often go out of their way to make the map so that the name or boundary is not included, or is not legible, to stay out of the conflict.  When the issue came to our attention, we dug back into the Map Vault at Williams & Heintz to see if we could find any older map, to see what was on it.  Sure enough, this Tectonic Map of China and Mongolia, that we printed for the Geological Society of America, in 1974 has the name of the sea conveniently omitted.

Now, I firmly believe that some old place names are better changed:  place names that are racist, or sexist would smell much sweeter without an offensive name.  My view of political names  is,  “a rose would smell as sweet.”

What do you think?

Paper Map Rose made from a reused map

Paper Map Rose for you, sweet!

With respect to maps it’s a mistake to see it as a print vs mobile media competition. The greatest result is achieved when the two are used together. The printed map provides the “big picture” and the resulting spatial awareness shows you where to crunch down for detail using the mobile device. Without the mobile device you lose the enormous resources of the internet. Without the printed map you don’t know what to do with the mobile device. A salesman once explained it to me as follows: He had covered sales territories using both printed maps and using his gps. In both instances he could get from point A to B and back again, but when only using gps, he never really knew where he was. That sounds to me like missed opportunities.

Two Sides

Yesterday SI Live published an article titled: Paper trail: Staten Island lawmakers push legislatures to go paperless”.  It contains several misleading environmental arguments on going paperless in favor of electronic communication, including this statement by the author:

“Whole forests are destroyed to comply with this quaint and, in this day and age, entirely unnecessary tradition. It’s a colossal and, frankly, shameful waste in a time when government is supposed to be more environmentally conscious. “

Below I address the main points, but I would also encourage people in the print and paper industries of NY State to voice their concerns to:

As a private forest owner who has made his living in the forest and paper industry, this type of misinformation really disappoints me.  I wish that more people…

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