Topographical v Geological Maps

I have always been fascinated by maps. Topographical maps can give one a sense of place (obviously) but can also give one a sense of time. Think about it for a moment, a good map will not only show you where you are physically, but it can show you what that place was like at the time of the maps production.

I remember when I was very small, sitting in the back of my parent’s car with my father following a road map to a ferry across a river in Devon. We arrived to find that the last ferry had left- in 1966! My Uncle, when he finished laughing, made sure that my dad received a new road atlas for that Christmas in 1970.

Geological maps are different, they tend not to change very quickly. The rocks and formations they show have been usually been there for thousands of years. If the RAC did a geological map of Great Britain, then I’m sure my father’s map of 1955 would have looked very similar to the one of 1970.

There are exceptions, for example areas of high erosion- coastal, areas of high volcanic activity, areas with active fault lines etc. Generally, in Great Britain the rock hasn’t changed much since the last ice age.

Therefore, the maps I’m using for the basis of my art are different to modern maps only insofar as the publisher has changed colours and styles and the representation of features. This could be to accentuate different structure or maybe as prosaic as changed fashion.


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