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Here Be Cats

Cat on the Map

My cat, Sneazer Agustus, is enjoying perusing the 2006 Antique Style World Map. The map was published by American Map Corporation, printed by Williams & Heintz on 80 lb. Aged Parchtone.

In early cartography, map makers used mythical beasts and said, “Here be Dragons,” when they came to a part of the world that was a mystery. They filled the page with fantastic beasts. Maybe even cats? Here be Cats!

Sneazer Agustus Cat on the map

Another reason why map makers may leave information off maps is because they  do not wish to make a political statement with their cartography. They may 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. “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Cat on the Antique Style World Map

This beautiful map, on parchment like paper, is out of print but a quick google search of “2006 antique style world map” will take you to several sources to purchase. Go ahead, we’ll print more! 😉

Here be Cats!

Here be Cats!

Oh, You’re a Map Printer, I’m So Sorry!

“Oh, you’re a map printer, I’m so sorry!”

That’s the kind of response I frequently hear when I tell people what I do.  They see all the GPS and cell phone map apps and think only of road maps that they don’t know how to read.

Well there are a lot of other kinds of maps out there to print, besides road maps. Here are a few, click on the tiles below to see the larger image and a little bit about them.

Williams & Heintz prints many different kinds of maps and charts

Williams & Heintz prints many different kinds of maps and charts

Here’s another thing, all those different kinds of maps were printed over 30 years ago, made by hand, with cameras and film. I scanned them off an old Williams & Heintz marketing piece; so old it doesn’t even have anything about a web site or email contact.

Just think what we can do now with computers, the internet, available data, and digital mapping tools!  (more about that in a later post)

All these new tools make cartography and map making more available, to many more people, to publish more maps.

And some of these great maps  even make it to print on paper.

When you want to see the big picture, nothing beats a big map on a big piece of paper.

It’s a great time to be a map printer!

More about map printing paper specifications

Determining the size of your map

Choosing Ink Colors

Communicating with your printer for best map design

Map finishing and folding

International Women’s day is March 8 and March is Women’s History Month – What Role Have Women Played in the History of Mapmaking?

Many women’s organizations and governments around the world observe International Women’s Day annually on March 8th. The United States designates the whole month of March as Women’s History Month.  The role of women in the history of mapmaking reminds us to celebrate the accomplishments of women and girls throughout history, and the need to keep working to ensure that women’s equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life, all over the map.

Judith Tyner, Professor Emerita of Geography, California State University, Long Beach, has researched and shared a lot of the history of women in cartography. She says that Women have played many roles in the history of cartography. There are the usual assumptions, marginal activities, traditional woman’s roles of piece work that could be done at home: coloring maps,  map folding, and stitching atlases. In the 19th century, women taught geography, maps, and “the use of the globes” to privileged young ladies.  The usual way that women would become involved in mapmaking business, was through family. The map trades, printing, and engraving have traditionally been family businesses.

But when you examine maps for the names of engravers, publishers and printers, you discover that women have been involved in cartography from the early days of mapping.   Women were publishers, map sellers, cartographers, drafters, editors, engravers, globemakers, printers, colorists, folders, stitchers, teachers of map reading and mapmaking, cartographic historians, map librarians, and patrons of cartography!

“By the beginning of the twentieth century, the identities of cartographers and map traders had become even more obscure.  Large cartographic firms such as Rand McNally and Hammond formed and began using wax engraving and lithography techniques; map engravers and compilers no longer signed their maps. As companies grew, few retained records… Over time old records were destroyed in the name of efficiency.”

This fits with what I have recently learned about Williams & Heintz, from my cousin Jeanette Schuder, about my Great Aunt Ruth, Born Ruth Lillian Heintz (1913 – 2011)

“Her father co-owned the William and Heintz Company, a lithographic business in DC.  She worked for her dad’s company as a topographical engineer and she drew maps of Bakersfield, California and other new cities.  She also worked for the Geological Survey and drew the original maps of the unmapped territory of the Yukon.”

Ruth was married August 22, 1936, so I figure that her work as a mapmaker was in the early 1930s.  A quick google search for “Bakersfield CA map 1930s” yields  these maps, from the University of Texas Libraries, that may be some of the maps that she worked on.

Bakersfield CA Quad USGS Edition of 1906 Reprint 1936

Avawatz Mountains CA USGS 1933

Even before the second World War, women were encouraged to work as cartographers and cartographic drafters.  During the war, they were hired to replace the men, due to the wartime demand for maps. Government agencies in the U. S. were hiring women because they recognized that our maps were out of date and had insufficient coverage. Women were preferred for drafting, computing and photogrametry. Collections were scattered. Map librarians played an important role in the collection and distribution of maps for the war effort.

Women did not give up cartography after the war. They were successful, and continued to take advantage of trainings  at universities, and job opportunities. Marie Tharp was encouraged to study geology and drafting, she made important contributions to mapping. You can  read about them in  Honoring Marie Tharp, Oceanographic Cartographer, for International Women’s Day

and

How Do You Map the Ocean Floor? A review of the book, Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor, by Hali Felt

Today, women work in all aspects of the mapping industry, from GIS to map printing. Since World War II, we have seen the greatest rise in the number of women involved in the field.  However, continued vigilance and action is still necessary to ensure that women’s equality is gained and maintained.

Mary Beth Smith, of “Girls Who Print” said, in response to an example of blatant discrimination in the work place today,

” Lets work together. Let the ignorant know that their behavior is neither admired nor tolerated. Show your spouses, your daughters, your sons, and everyone in your orbit your conviction that this is unacceptable behavior. Isn’t it time we stopped acting like this doesn’t happen? Do we not WANT young people and women to bring their gifts, talents, training and expertise to an industry sorely in need of a fresh approach?”

References:

Tyner, Judith, “The Hidden Cartographers: Women in Mapmaking,” Mercator’s World, volume 2, number 6, November/December 1997, pp. 46-51.

Tyner, Judith, “Millie the Mapper and Beyond: The Role of Women in Cartography Since World War II,” Meridian – Map and Geography Round Table of the American Library Association No. 15 1999  pp23-28.

Thanks Judith!

Map Printing News from the International Map Industry Association: Links between Paper and Digital Add Value to Your Map

Copper plate engraving showing hand drawn map symbols and typography. The beginnings of Williams & Heintz Map Corp.,  Est.1921

Copper plate engraving showing hand drawn map symbols and typography. The beginnings of Williams & Heintz Map Corp., Est.1921

Last week I attended the International Map Industry Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.    The world of cartography and mapping is changing.  Heck, we even changed the name of the organization from International Map Trade Association to the International Map Industry Association.  As one attendee, Eric Riback of Riback Associates says,

“The conference is smaller than it once was when the printed map publishing and retailing industry was flourishing. But as the industry, technology and players have changed in the past dozen years, the conference remains no less valuable than it ever was. Brainstorming, deal-making and information sharing are done with vigor there. If you have an interest in or connection to map/location-based technology or publishing, it’s somewhere you should be.”

As a map printer, we have been challenged by the new landscape of the mapping industry:  the changing demand for paper and print, the economic picture, and  GPS/GIS technology have changed the demand for printed maps. But as Directions media’s Joe Francica says in his article, ‘ “News of my death has been greatly exaggerated” … Print Map Publishers’,

“While you may perceive that “print” maps are dead and somehow dwarfed by the likes of the online, digital map publishers and portable navigation devices manufacturers, there is still much interest and business in a high quality, niche content-based paper map products.”

Much like the “paperless office” still leads to countless hits of the “Print” button, new toys and tools make it easier and more likely that people will print too.  New advances and digital tools make it possible for more people than ever to create maps that we can print.

Williams & Heintz was started  by my great grandfather, with stone lithography and copper plate engraving.  We have adapted to each new advance in technology, and we will continue to see new opportunities to share information with maps.  Providing the product in both digital and hard copy formats, and linking the opportunity to purchase either or both, results in cross pollination that drives the sales of both products.  It’s not an either/or decision;  the best option is frequently both.  We are exploring new digital products with ways to link between paper and digital, as well as new collaborations for digital delivery mechanism for both a print and digital versions for our customers. The IMIA Conference inspired me with opportunities to use the emerging trends in technology to complement my core business, map printing.

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!

Map of the Maryland Faerie Festival at Camp Ramblewood 2012

A map can be an artistic expression and a marketing tool. Going to press today, the Maryland Faerie Festival Map is a fun map, where the authors, Michael Wuyek and Ren Rick, sign it with their self-portraits. Can you find them?

Maryland Faerie Festival Blog

 

Come Celebrate the Year of the Goblin with Us!

Three Full Days! May 11-13, 2012  Lots of Faerie Festivities!   Three Stages with Storytelling, Puppet Shows, Music, Magic,  Faerie Tea Parties, Craft Cove & Glamour Glen,  Food, Fine Arts, Games, & Fun for All!

The Maryland Faerie Festival
Friday, May 11 – Sunday, May 13, 2012
Camp Ramblewood
2564 Silver Road
Darlington, MD 21034
www,marylandfaeriefestival.org

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From The Map Vault of Williams & Heintz Map Corp.- Tectonic Map of Mexico 1961

Tectonic Map of Mexico Printed by Williams & Heintz Map Corp. in 1961

Tectonic Map of Mexico Printed by Williams & Heintz Map Corp. in 1961

Tectonic map of Mexico LedgendWilliams & Heintz Map Corp.  printed the Tectonic Map of Mexico in 1961 for the Geological  Society of America.  The map was compiled by Zoltan de Czerna. The Bathymetry was compiled by Bruce C. Heezen.  The preparation of the base map and final drafting was done by David Saldaña.  They spent the years from 1956 to 1959 compiling and preparing this map.

After printing, we would inspect each individual sheet.  Because even though this is a multi-color map, it was printed on only a two color press,  a more common press in the early 1960’s.  This required the paper to be fed through the press multiple times.  The difficulty was, that if the paper did not feed into the press exactly the same every time, it would result in a misregistration of the image.  Since the run lengths of these jobs was rarely more than several hundred we used to run a significant amount of overs and when the job was finished each sheet would be individually inspected to catch the misregistered sheets.

This level of inspection is not possible with runs in the millions, so today it’s a good thing we have six color presses.

For more information on print registration and map colors see:

https://mapprinter.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/drilling-down-into-map-printing-specs-what-ink-colors-are-needed-to-print-your-map/

Mapping the Metrics of Mapping: Putting Africa on the Map

Screen Shot WordPress Top Views by Country

Screen Shot WordPress Top Views by Country

One of the things that I like about the WordPress platform is the statistics that it provides for me to see who is reading my blog.  I love stats: if you can measure it, then you can make it better.

Kind of like I like our ISO certifications at Williams & Heintz Map Corp. The processes make us keep track and measure everything:

  • We are ISO 9001 certified for “Cartographic Production, Large Form Cartographic Printing and Specialized Map Folding” to provide better product with greater consistency and quality.
  • We are ISO14001 certified; we have developed, and maintain an environmental management system to continually improve our environmental performance. The processes and materials that we use to create quality maps and charts are continually monitored to reduce our environmental footprint and to decrease the pollution and waste.

Anyway, about the WordPress stats, I can be pretty obsessive. I am pleased to see that WordPress now has a view by country panel.  The best thing about this view is that it is in the form of a map! So far the MapPrinter blog has been viewed by people from 40 different countries.  No views from Africa or China yet.  How can I fix these big holes in my map?

UPDATE:  One week after posting about Africa, tagging and using Africa in the title of the post, I now have views from 5 countries in Africa:  Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, South Africa and Uganda!  I even received a request for a map printing quote 🙂

Honoring Marie Tharp, Oceanographic Cartographer, for International Women’s Day

Marie Tharp's Physiographic Diagram of the North Atlantic Ocean

Marie Tharp’s Physiographic Diagram of the North Atlantic Ocean

In honor of International Women’s day my post today is about an important woman in map printing history.  In fact Marie Tharp (1920-2006) is an important contributor to the studies of, cartography, geography, and oceanography, woman or man.

 “Tharp was the first to map the unseen topography of the ocean floor on a global scale. Her observations became crucial to the eventual acceptance of the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift in the earth sciences. Working with pens, ink and rulers, Tharp drew the underwater details, longitude degree by latitude degree, described by thousands of sonar readings taken by Columbia University researchers and others. Her maps have since become modern scientific and popular icons.” http://www.columbia.edu/cu/news/06/08/tharp.html

Marie Tharp worked with Bruce Heezen at the Lamont- Doherty Earth Observatory.  They were the co-creators of the first global map of the ocean floor and co-discoverer of the central rift valley that runs through the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

“As details of the ocean floor emerged, Tharp noticed a fascinating feature. A well-known mountain range running down the Atlantic, known as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, appeared as expected. But as Tharp’s careful drafting made clear, there was also a valley that ran down through the middle of the mountain range. It was a hugely important geophysical feature; this “rift valley” marked a dynamic seam in the crust of the planet, the boundary of huge continent-size plates where new portions of crust rose from the interior of the earth to the surface like a conveyor belt and then, in a geological creep known as “drift,” moved outward in both directions from the midocean ridge.

The idea that vast tracts of the earth’s crust moved across the surface, known as continental drift, was unpopular at the time. Most geophysicists were “fixists” who believed the planet’s surface was static, and Tharp later remarked that a scientist could be fired for being a “drifter” in the 1950s. But she was the first to see the signature of plate tectonics on the surface of the earth, and Heezen was the first of many scientists who rudely dismissed it. “Girl talk,” he said. “It cannot be. It looks too much like continental drift.” It took Tharp the better part of a year to convince him.” http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/31/magazine/31Tharp.t.html?_r=2

Marie Tharp came to Williams and Heintz Map Corp. with her drawings.  From her camera copy, we made film negatives. From the film negatives we made the color separations for the land tint and the water tint. From these, we made printing plates.   The job printed in three colors.

Williams & Heintz Map Corp can still print your map using film, if you need it. We can still make edits to, proof, and print from film. The man-hours involved in updating a film job can be much less than the thousands of man-hours required digitizing a whole new map. We can even combine digital correction copy with film based layers.

UPDATE:  Read more about Marie Tharp in my book review of  Soundings:  The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor, by Hali Felt.

Maps in the News

Dave Imus, The Essential Geography of the United States of America printed at Williams & Heintz

Dave Imus, The Essential Geography of the United States of America printed at Williams & Heintz

The other day I got onto the internet and it was really exciting to see a customer, Dave Imus, and one of his maps that we print, featured in Slate Magazine.  The Greatest Paper Map of the United States You’ll Ever See Made by one guy in Oregon.

I am pleased to see author Seth Stevenson’s appreciation of the artistry, time, and skill that went into the creation of Dave’s map, “The Essential Geography of the United States of America”

It is also always good to see someone extolling the virtues of a large format paper map.

As a map printer, I find that Dave Imus is a joy to work for.  With his work comes a passion for maps and cartography that is rarely equaled.  This passion is equally matched by his design skills, expertise and experience in creating truly unique cartographic products.  When discussing upcoming projects with him you’re not just a consultant with an opinion, you become part of his design team.  You just don’t commit to his projects, you “sign on” as it were.

Jobs like this are a huge benefit to a map printing operation such as Williams & Heintz.  Our personnel are skilled in their craft, but to maintain an exceptional level of skill they must constantly be challenged by unique and demanding jobs.  We go out of our way to court such work for this very reason.  These types of jobs are necessary to help us keep our edge on.  An endless supply of easy jobs with lowered expectations will ultimately result in sloppy work becoming the norm.  Further, a map that looks fantastic when it’s done imbues our staff with a sense of pride.  That sense of accomplishment is also critical to maintaining a high quality environment.  When you are constantly presented with examples of what something should be like, it’s a lot harder, emotionally, to let something go that isn’t quite there.

Thank you Dave.

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