Changing Landscapes

“In the beginning, the land was soft”, thus began the first talk of the British Cartographic Society’s Symposium. By William Cartwright, the words relate the ‘feel’ of Australia before ‘lines’ (fences, roads, and railways) snaked their way into and across that continent; the ‘softness’ due, quite literally, to the absence of hoofed animals (or shod humans) to compact the ground.

Talks ranged from the historical, poetical, deeply thoughtful, through to the airy heights of hi-tech. I missed “Using PopChange Raster data with RStudio (nope, me neither), to attend “Adding an extra dimension: basemaps for modern GIS” on the grounds I understood most of the words used in the title. Yet here too, the excellent Nicholas Duggan lost me on software I am sure I could understand if my head wasn’t firmly stuck in the 18th Century.

The joy of these events is the quality of conversation between talks and the shared passions. Without understanding ‘how’, Nicholas has laid my recreation of Hutton’s (missing) contour map over a GIS generated relief map of Schiehallion, (follow this link for a fuller picture than these screenshots can give), opening up an entirely new approach to visualise and assess the data Hutton was working from: thank you Nick! (And a huge thank you to BCS for inviting me to talk).Next up: CSoP (see events page for an explanation)

 

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