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Wallis, H.M. & A.H. Robinson, eds., Cartographical Innovations: An International Handbook of Mapping Terms to 1900. Tring: Map Collector Publications (1982) Ltd., 1987. ISBN 0-906430-04-6. 24x17cm., xx, 353pp, 25 monochrome illustrations. (48 High St., Tring, Hertfordshire HP23 5BH, England, £25)

Produced in association with the International Cartographic Association, this book is the culmination of an effort begun in 1972 to compile an historical glossary of cartographic techniques.  Dozens of experts were consulted.  There are 191 entries grouped under the eight headings: Types of maps, Maps of Human Occupation and Activities Maps, Maps Natural Phenomena, Reference Systems and Geodetic Concepts, Symbolism, Techniques and Media, Methods of Duplication, and Atlases.  Each entry consists of a brief definition of the term, an essay providing greater detail, and references.  For example Map Surface is defined as "Any substance on which a map can be constructed." Well, that's true.  This definition is followed with about three pages of discussion of how different surfaces were used beginning in ancient times and five references.  There are further entries for specific surfaces, to wit, birchbark, ceramic, cloth, hard animal tissues, metal, paper, stone and rock, and vellum.  I find some of the definitions strange.  For example, wall map is normally understood to be a large, floppy, portable thing to be hung on a wall.  However the definition notes "Sometimes the map is painted on wood or directly on the wall." A wall map and a map painted on a wall are not the same thing, as anyone asked to move the item in question will quickly discover. I feel the point is well taken, since the editors refer to the Catal Huyuk map painted on a wall in Turkey once as a "wall painting” and once as a "wallpainting," a much more sensible term, though mural map might be acceptable.  In another case imprint is defined as  “A brief note in the margin of the map... ." I am sure the editors well know that imprints can occur anywhere.  In fairness, the editors took these two definitions from Multilingual Dictionary of Technical Terms in Cartography, a work apparently due for revision.  In another case Dissected Map is given as the official term for a jigsaw-puzzle map.  To most, a dissected map is one that has been cut into sections, usually for mounting on cloth, and to most, jigsaw-puzzle maps are called jigsaw-puzzle maps.  The editors almost sheepishly admit this in the definition, but call the problem "not relevant.”  To use a term commonly used to mean something else to refer to something commonly called by its easily understood name flies in the face of common sense. Having ventilated the above criticisms, I I want to emphasize the overall value of the book.  The historical information is fascinating and accurate.  Under Windrose one learns how various cultures divided up the compass, and names for some of the winds.  The entries on printing techniques such as engraving, etching, lithography, and so on provide useful histories of their use in mapmaking.  My only complaint about the coverage is that there is only one page describing map projections.  Surely this most important topic deserves more, particularly when such things as Disease Maps are accorded almost equal space.  The effort to compile such a work is massive, and the editors deserve praise.  I have made this the lead review for good reason. Whether one is interest in Zoological Maps, Hard Animal Tissue Maps, Watermarks, or whatever, this is the book to consult first.  Librarians and others compiling catalogs will find the standardized definitions useful, while dealers and collectors will enjoy the wealth of information collected in one place.  The book is, incidentally, verv well designed and produced.  It is printed on thick, glossy stock and solidly bound. Buyers will smile at the jacket illustration, most fitting for a map handbook.

David C. Jolly, 1988
 

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