Sunday, April 10, 2011

United States Lighthouses Map: A Work in Progress

When we acquired the lighthouse maps of Hartnett House, we knew the map that covered the entire United States was a big seller. But there was something about it that bugged us. The biggest area of the map was taken up by a vast swath of the U.S. that has few if any lighthouses. Moreover, the cartography had no information other than state names and lighthouse locations -- no place names or roads to give context.

We decided there must be a way to make the cartography more detailed and meaningful. At the same time, we felt that most of the illustrations were too small, and we frankly felt we could commission better illustrations than some of those on the old editions. So we set out to create a design with improved cartography and more compelling watercolors.

It took a lot more time than we anticipated. Part of the challenge was assembling the most up-to-date, most complete database of standing lighthouses. No single source we know of is complete. We also needed to set a standard for inclusion, as there are many privately built structures that may or may not be considered true lighthouses. Our standard is that it must be, or have been, a Coast Guard accepted aid to navigation. Creating more than a dozen individual maps of states or regions, and checking to see that all of the information is correct, was also a big job. We thank our cartographers for their hard work; that part is done.

Now, as we complete the text, which will include location descriptions and latitude/longitude of each lighthouse, along with first year of lighting, and current status (operating or not), we have nearly finalized the rough design to send to our very talented graphic designer. Here is a version, direct from our kitchen table to you:

Today, we believe we're on track to take delivery of printed maps in late May. We thank our customers for bearing with us, and we hope you'll agree the result was worth the wait.

Monday, April 4, 2011

National Geographic Battlefields of the Civil War Map

Side 1 of National Geographic Battlefields of the Civil War Map.

On the hundredth anniversary of the shots fired at Fort Sumter, National Geographic Magazine’s April 1961 issue featured in-depth articles on the U.S. Civil War. The issue included a supplement map that located and described every battle, campaign and major event of the war.

Now, at the sesquicentennial of the War’s beginning, this historic map is available once again. In cooperation with National Geographic Maps, Bella Terra Publishing is distributing the two-sided map to stores at battlefields, historic sites and museums, and to bookstores. It is also available at Retail price is $7.95.

Side One of the map (above) covers the main region of the War, from New Jersey to Louisiana. Portraying the country as charted in 1863, it is based on a map on which General Grant marked his proposed lines of operation. Both armies’ major offensives are charted on an inset.

Side Two (below) features more detailed maps, including: “Cockpit of the Civil War” (southern Pennsylvania to southern Virginia), Nashville to Atlanta and Memphis to Huntsville. There are insets of Gettysburg; “Grant at Richmond”; the “War in the Southwest” (Texas to California), the Vicksburg Campaign and the battles for Atlanta.

All key battles and events are described with National Geographic’s renowned map notes. Each battle is located with a crossed-swords symbol.

Side 2 of National Geographic Battlefields of the Civil War Map.

Map & images © National Geographic Society.