Tijdschrift voor de Geschiedenis van de Kartografie
Bilingual ICHC Special (in Dutch and English)
Themanummer 200 jaar Topografische Dienst
Icons on title pages of early modern atlases
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 1, pp. 3-12]
Starting with Ortelius' Theatrum, atlas title pages were adorned with symbols strengthening the author's objective to present his map material,
well-structured as in a play, as well as his sources, and highlighting the universal character of the maps with allegories of the continents. Atlas (either as mythical king of Mauretania or as Titan),
that carries the terrestrial globe (Earth), was the perfect symbol. The fact that he originally carried the celestial globe was conveniently dropped. To symbolise the continents, ladies were shown on
different levels, with different attire, reflecting their status and their degree of civilization.
Another standard theme is the Earth's division in land and sea, as personified by Cybele, guardian goddess of cities, and Neptune, Roman god of the sea; for the atlas would bring both topographical maps and nautical charts. When the scientific character of the atlas products was increasingly highlighted, those forces that especially led to the increase of geographical knowledge were also used as emblems: Mars and Mercury, or Mars and Minerva, or all three of them. For inspiration, geographers would depend on the muses as well, with Clio (combining history with geography) as their particular inspiratrix, while the image of Chronos (as time discovers the truth) was frequently added to enhance the quality aspect.
These symbols or emblems were combined in different settings on atlas title pages, both reflecting the mercantile metropolises where the atlases were produced and the mighty princes to whom they were dedicated. But in the period of the Enlightenment, the staging of geography as a theatre lost its meaning, and the atlas concept was liberated from its mythological connotations, to be accepted as an ordinary book category. (back)
Gerard van Nes
Unique map of the Zijpe polder discovered in the North Holland Archives
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 1, pp. 13-18]
The North Holland Archives located in Haarlem, has a unique and later version of the famous map of the Zijpe (reclamation area near the coastal village of Petten in the northwestern area of The
The first state of this map was issued in the 1600s. The later state was most likely issued in 1620 and seems, at present, to be the only known printed copy. However, its physical condition is extremely poor and, as a result, its uniqueness has never been observed and described until now. The second state has several major changes including showing that the village Callantsoog can be observed for the first time in detail. The Wieringerwaard has been reclaimed and the 'Dromerdijk', instead of 'De Lay', appears near Petten. In addition, the area with houses is clearly more extensive.
Hopefully a better printed exemplar of this second state of the famous 1600 map will be found in the future for further investigation. (back)
Lo van Driel
The best way to sail to Sluis
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 1, pp. 19-29]
For ages the Zwin was the waterway from the North Sea to Sluis, Damme and Bruges, until the ships became bigger and the Zwin got silted up. In the course of time it became more and more difficult to reach Sluis by sea: by the end of the Middle Ages it was nearly impossible for cargo boats. We have no knowledge of navigation charts from that period, nor from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The discovery in the Sluis town archives of a chart of the Sluise Gat (Zwin), made by viceadmiral Gerrit Verdooren (1757-1824), contains detailed instructions on how to sail from the Austrian Netherlands (nowadays Belgian) coast to Sluis in the 18th century, just before the Napoleonic Wars. (back)
The oldest maps of the Scheldt estuary: a question of dating
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 2, pp. 54-66]
The course of the main waterway from Antwerp to the sea altered in the 15th century due to tidal changes caused by storm tides and floods. This resulted in ambiguity about administrative borders and the question who could levy toll at certain locations. Disputes arose which led to legal proceedings. For one of the lawsuits Charles the Bold had a map drawn in 1468. The lawsuit did not solve all questions satisfactorily, so that cases were reopened again and again until a final verdict was reached after a lawsuit running from 1496 until1504. Then a new map was drawn from roughly the same area which is kept in the Felix archives in Antwerp (the city’s record office). On the back of the left part this new map is stated to be a reliable copy of an existing map. In the past this copy was assumed to point at the original map from 1468, which is to be found in the Public Record Office in Brussels. In this article we will discuss the geographical and historical context of the medieval Scheldt area, the role of the maps and the arguments about their dating and interrelationship. The watermarks on the papers indicate the supposed original map should be dated between 1490 and 1500. Altogether this leads to the conclusion at least four Scheldt maps were drawn between 1468 and 1504, two of which have been preserved: a. the 1468 map, lost; b. the Brussels map produced between 1490 and 1500, possibly a copy of a; c. the map which served in the lawsuit running between 1496 and 1504, lost; d. the Antwerp map, a copy of map c. It is observed the latter map consists of two parts. Based on the fact that the verso text is found on the left part of the map, it may be assumed the right part, roughly covering present day Zeeland, is not a copy of map c, but was painted from a different source. (back)
Karen De Coene
Continuity or innovation? A non-existent dilemma in the Liber Floridus of Lambert of Saint-Omer (1121)
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 2, pp. 67-78]
The 12th century world maps or “mappae mundi” in the “Liber Floridus” of Lambert of Saint-Omer illustrate how didactic diagrams in medieval encyclopedias were fast becoming complex representations of the earth. Due to semantic changes in the definition of the map these diagrams differ from the present-day map, whose characteristics have gradually been developed until being largely determined by 18th century Enlightenment philosophers. Medieval “mappae mundi” are considered as cartography nonetheless, because of the common visual language. Different, however, from the modern cumulative scientific view of knowledge, does the medieval cosmographer never questions his predecessors’ authority, whose former ideas are building blocks in the development of future maps. (back)
The impact of cartography on the 1769 and 1779 French-Habsburg border treaties
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 2, pp. 79-87]
In 1769 and 1779 the Habsburgs and the French signed two border conventions, implementing territorial exchanges and a new trajectory of the Austrian Netherlands-France borderline. This paper examines the role of cartography in implementing the 1769 treaty and paving the way for the 1779 border convention. In their efforts to eliminate all enclaves in the borderlands, the Habsburg and French commissaries relied on the work of surveyors and mapmakers. By focusing on two case studies, one from Flanders and the other from Tournaisis, this paper reaffirms the impact of cartography on the demarcation of European borderlines. (back)
Habsburg cartography with French scientific flair: the circulation of mapmaking principles in the eighteenth century, through the example of the Ferraris maps
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 2, pp. 88-97]
Between 1770 and 1778, the Belgian territory was homogeneously mapped on a scale of 1:11,520 and 1:86,400 by the artillery brigade of the Austrian Netherlands under the guidance of count de Ferraris. Ferraris’s mapping project is a good example of the extensive, detailed surveys that started to emerge in the 18th century in Western Europe. This branch of mapmaking was characterised by its use of more accurate surveying techniques and its uniformity in style and content. France was particularly trend- setting here, becoming the first country where a truly scientific map of the entire territory was made. As the cartographic front-runner, the French example influenced many other extensive mapping projects, including Ferraris’s maps. This paper focuses on this exchange of cartographic knowledge across international borders, by looking at the extent to which the formal aspects of the maps and the surveying procedure were inspired by the French. (back)
The historical wall map: the late-comer of Dutch school cartography
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 3, pp. 115-124]
Both geographic and historical school wall maps were new teaching aids in 19th-century Dutch education. Whereas the first category found increasing application since 1840, the historical school wall map remained a rarity in Dutch class-rooms until 1908. After examining the state of history teaching and the cartography of historical maps in the 19th century, and after discussing the first Dutch historical wall map (1869), four explanations for the late appearance of Dutch historical wall maps could be given. These are: the low prestige of history teaching in the 19th century; the scarce use of maps in history teaching due to its verbal and abstract nature; the substitution of geographic or German historical school wall maps; and, finally, the high cost of publishing a series of historical wall maps. (back)
Collecting nautical charts: depiction of the hydrography and the sea bed on nautical charts
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 3, pp. 125-135]
Chart collectors, like the readers of Caert-Thresoor, tend to admire and study the really old nautical charts, from the 16th to the 18th centuries. And with reason.
But now that we are entering the era of digital cartography, and possibly even digital navigation, we should be aware of the variety and beauty of many of those rather recent paper charts from 1900 or slightly earlier. This article points out the different ways to depict the sea bed – before this became increasingly standardized worldwide – based on examples from the author's private collection. In whatever way 'soundings' have been collected, the local tidal height will always play an important role. In nautical charting all soundings will be reduced to the Chart Datum, which is a low water level below which the tide will 'but seldom' fall. That level will be very different from place to place and will be defined on charts. Resulting from this tidal reduction, in most cases the mariner will experience more water than that charted. The principle of nautical charting has not changed over the ages. Soundings should be registered relative to the coastline and preferably relative to some coordinate system.
The huge increase of data after the invention of echo-sounder and other technology is the main change for the cartographer. While, in the past, any available soundings would appear in the chart, later on a thorough selection was made from the millions of soundings. From the thousands of depths an experienced hydrographer made already aboard a pre-selection, which was drawn on a minute sheet or fair sheet. Nevertheless large parts of the earth have not been adequately surveyed and charted.
And this can hardly be speeded up by the use of satellites, as people might suppose. Depending on the quality of available surveys there will be large differences in the depicted sea bed on charts. This may also be dependent on the instructions in the individual hydrographic offices. The shallowest spots should always appear on the chart, whatever its scale. But representing the rest will depend on a number of criteria. This article shows a large number of situations leading to different ways to depict the sea bed. The different use of depth (bathymetric) contours is shown. The article briefly mentions other themes of the sea bed, like wrecks, mined areas, pipelines, doubtful data, etc.
The way in which hydrography is presented in the chart will already be an indication of its quality. In addition the hydrographic offices – well aware of their liability – will warn the navigator about possible shortcomings of charts. The navigator, in turn, should remain aware that a chart is not the truth and should always practice 'Good Seamanship', which is further explained. Several recent accidents show that things can go wrong in spite of good charts and modern navigation tools. (back)
Bert van Zanen
Modification of the copper plate of Blaeu's map of Languedoc
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 3, pp. 136-144]
Between the different states of the copper plate of the map of Languedoc by W.J. Blaeu and his successors (De Wit, Mortier and Covens & Mortier) are striking differences. Cracks appearing in the lower left corner in the 2nd state disappear in the 3rd, while the geography of that part is completely changed. The method used appears to be by insertion of a new piece of copper, which possible process is described in this article. (back)
Ortelius' Brittenburg revisited
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 3, pp. 145-148]
In 1581 Plantin published a map of the Brittenburg ('Arx Britannica') by Abraham Ortelius. In 1566 and 1568 Ortelius' correspondence and the Plantin accounts mention an 'Arx Britannica' map by Ortelius. That map is identified here. The claim of an earlier woodcut map, presumably by Ortelius, is refuted. (back)
The rise and fall of an organization: Two hundred years of topographical mapping
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 4, pp. 164-170]
National topographic mapping in the Netherlands started during the Napoleonic period. A nation-wide triangulation was carried out by Krayenhoff and topographic surveying was carried out by officers of the Corps of Engineers. In the meantime the Topographisch Bureau (Topographic Institute) was founded in 1806.
This agency came to an end during French occupation (1810-1813), was refounded in 1814, and totally reorganized in 1815. From now on surveying and mapping were carried out by officers of the General Staff, brought together in the Militaire Verkenningen (Military Survey). Stone engraving and printing were executed by the
Topographisch Bureau, part of the Ministry of War. During the nineteenth century full coverage was completed at the scales 1:25.000, 1:50.000, and 1:200.000.
This division of responsibility between two separate agencies did not foster timely map revision. Demands for more accurate maps and the introduction of new technology (aerial photogrammetry, modern printing techniques) required an improved organization of mapping activities. To address these concerns the Topografische Dienst (Topographic Service) was established in 1932. This new agency included all activities of the two older ones. Aerial photography became the basis of a new strategy for aerial triangulation, terrain surveying, and feature delineation. The introduction of offset printing modernized map production for the benefit of the growing needs.
World War II brought this development to an abrupt end, and reconstruction after 1945 took several years. The establishment of NATO resulted in a huge increase in production of maps in the 1:25.000 and 1:50.000 series and the introduction of new series at scales of 1:100.000 and 1:250.000. Technical innovation developed rapidly as did map use by civilian departments. A serious problem for national mapping arose in 1966, when a change in military policy led to cancellation of the 1:25.000 military map series. Thereafter, 1:25.000 civilian maps could no longer be produced as a by-product of military mapping. A long period of discussion about financing began, and the Ministry of Defence covered the deficit for the time being. In 1990 the Topografische Dienst launched a programme to convert its 1:10.000 map series to a completely digital, vector format database which was completed in 1997.
The end of the twentieth century marked the end of an era in Dutch topographic mapping. Decreasing military needs and budgets and increasing civil demands for two-year updates led to a review of the agency's position as a public agency. In 2004 the Topografische Dienst moved out from the Ministry of Defence and was integrated into the Dutch Kadaster (Land Registry). (back)
Along paths and lanes: two hundred years of topographhical survey
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 4, pp. 171-178]
In the year 1798 the Dutch government charged C.R.Th. Krayenhoff to make a topographic map of the whole country at the scale 1:115.200. This map had to be compiled from existing maps and completed with a special terrain survey. The lack of a good framework forced Krayenhoff to execute the first primary triangulation of the Netherlands. Based upon this triangulation, map production could be continued by the Topograpisch Bureau founded in 1806. After the French occupation this Bureau was re-founded in 1814 and subdivided in 1815 into a First and a Second Bureau. The First Bureau was responsible for the triangulation measurements, the field surveying and the compilation of maps. The Second Bureau worked under the command of the General Staff as a training institute for field reconnaissance and production of intelligence reports. It soon came to be known as the Militaire Verkenningen (Military Survey) and began to execute terrain surveying and triangulation. This development did not promote good relations between the two Bureaus. Finally, the First Bureau disappeared while the Militaire Verkenningen developed into a complete mapping service. The methods for terrain survey, field completion and cartographic representation which Van Gorkum, the Militaire Verkenningen's director, developed, greatly influenced the cartographic design of the first topographic map at the scale 1:50.000 as well as all later topographic maps of The Netherlands. The activities of the Militaire Verkennningen were stopped suddenly in 1830 because of the Belgian Revolution. The army waited for several years in Noord-Brabant, during which period former officers of the Militaire Verkenningen commenced a terrain survey at the scale 1:25.000. In 1842 it was decided to cover the whole country. The minutes at the scale 1:25.000, drawn in the field, were to be reduced to 1:50.000 and afterwards engraved and printed by the Topographische Inrichting of the Ministry of War. This division of responsibility between two separate agencies did not foster timely map revision. Demands for more accurate maps and the introduction of new technology (aerial photogrammetry, modern printing techniques, a new nationwide reference system) required an improved organization of mapping activities. To address these concerns the Topografische Dienst was established in 1932. Aerial photography became the basis of a new strategy for triangulation and terrain surveying. The task of the military surveyors was taken over by photogrammeters and topographers. The topographer was a specialist in the analysis of aerial photographs and field completion. In the flat Dutch landscape the bicycle remained his means of transport till 2000. Nowadays topographers no longer visit the terrain; they use panorama-photography taken by specially-fitted motor cars. (back)
Changes in the legend of the topographical map of the Netherlands 1815-2000
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 4, pp. 179-187]
Dutch topographic maps are characterized by an intensive use of colour. Not only is red used for buildings, but colours are also used to indicate land use, where other countries prefer black area symbols. Despite this general characteristic, in the last two centuries the representation on the maps of (groups of) features changed considerably. Water-related features such as wooden bridges were gradually exchanged for more permanent stone fixtures and the onset of motorized traffic is also clearly reflected. This is visible in the sequences of map extracts for two landscapes: a rural one in the central Netherlands, and an urban one on its eastern border. The reasons for these changes are indicated as well. (back)
Nico Bakker, Jasper Hogerwerf & Ferjan Ormeling
Toponymy on Dutch topographic maps since 1800
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 4, pp. 188-197]
The first state-sponsored measures to regulate Dutch orthography date from 1801, and when the first state-wide topographic mapping started in 1804 an attempt was made to implement this new orthography. This clashed with the views of local authorities who preferred the archaic spellings to which they were accustomed, however detrimental this may have been to oral
communication. 19th-century Dutch toponymy also suffered from the fact that the various ministries each kept its own list of place names, with many differences between them. Attempts by the Academy of Sciences and by the Royal Netherlands Geographical Society to standardise the toponyms were in vain as their attempts
were thwarted by a number of spelling reforms, the last major one in 1937. Contrary to Flanders, where this place names spelling reform was also implemented, these reforms have not had any effect on Dutch toponymy, street names excepted. Matters were aggravated by the non-existence of a central authority in charge of place name spellings, so that the mapping institutions,
with the Topographic Service in the lead, produced a de facto standard, based on spelling in official documents such as laws or regulations. From a few years ago, in the framework of the implementation of central key registrations, the Dutch Cadastre has been legally charged with the responsibility to produce a central topographic database, including names.
In Frisia, where Frisian has been an official language since the 1950s, the Frisian toponyms have increasingly been replacing Dutch toponyms on official maps since the 1990s. (back)
Two hundred years generalization of topographic maps
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 4, pp. 198-206]
Generalization is one of the basic tasks of cartography. This paper describes how the Topografische Dienst (the Dutch official mapping agency) has dealt with generalizing its topographic maps over the past 200 years. In the 19th century topographic maps at the scale 1:25.000, 1:50.000 and 1:200.000
had a lot of details, often hardly readable. Taking into account the drawing techniques, copper and stone engraving in mirror image, they were admirable products.
From the 1960s more attention was devoted to generalizing the maps. Special generalization models were made which became the base for drawing or engraving on the 'target' scale. The generalization process is very time-consuming. Since the introduction of digital cartography in the 1970s the Topografische Dienst has investigated techniques for automated generalization. Recently advanced software has enabled automatic generalization from the scale of 1:10.000 to 1: 50.000. (back)
Paul van den Brink
Where secrets become ridiculous: the Dutch Topographical Service in the media from 1815 to 1900
[Caert-Thresoor 34 (2015) 4, pp. 207-213]
This article describes the transition from a secret government service under a new King (since 1815), via an enlightened ruler and the political developments in Europe around 1848, to the more open and outgoing attitude under later cabinets in the Netherlands. The initial secretive approach to Dutch topography/cartography had led to an underestimation of its quality, as no news was disseminated to prove otherwise. The article promotes use of the new Delpher website [www.delpher.nl] as a treasure-trove of historical information and reports how the public became progressively more involved: via publications in the press; through many national and international exhibitions; and by nominating a number of libraries as depositories for maps and charts, thus making them better accessible to the general public. The author suggests that sufficient information is available to further investigate the effects of the earlier embargoes and the interaction between government and later private-commercial efforts in the field. (back)
Laatst bijgewerkt op 2015-11-22