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Map Showoff

September 21, 2012

Last night, I did a brief turn at the Museums Showoff night in Brighton. It was a fun night: the format worked well, and it was good to have a chance to mingle with one’s professional peers in a state of mild inebriation. The organisers, Steve Cross and Rachel Souhami, deserve a big thanks for putting this together, along with Rosie Clarke of Culture 24. If you get the chance to go along to a Showoff night — or, better still to perform — I’d highly recommend it.

My turn, entitled The Joy of X was about the history of mapping in Brighton, using the Royal Pavilion and Museums Map the Museum as a jumping off point. My thesis, in so far as it was coherent beneath the layers of lame jokes and innuendo I deployed, was that there is a tradition of using maps to convey narratives that has been largely lost. Digital mapping, and the ability to augment this with additional data, provides an opportunity to revisit and revive this tradition.

In case it’s of any interest, you can download the slideshow I used last night. There is very little text, so I doubt it will make much sense on its own. But if nothing else it’s a chance to enjoy the entertaining photos at the end of the presentation. These are selections from a large collection held by the Royal Pavilion and Museums showing Ordnance Survey officials marking revision points in Brighton. They are one of the funniest collections we hold. We’ve well over a hundred of these photos, and one day, we really, really ought to do an exhibition of these. Until then, I’ll leave you with this wonderful image of a man marking the spot with little concern for his safety…

Ordnance Survey official marking point revision in Brighton, Feb 1938

Ordnance Survey official marking point revision in Brighton, Feb 1938

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