Within the documentary series Guardianes del Patrimonio  produced by RTVE, we want to highlight this episode broadcast by La2 on January 18, 2020.

It deals about the theft of, among other documents, two world maps extracted from two incunabula of Ptolemy's work in August 2007.

The documents were recovered, with some damage, and the culprits were identified.

The Commission on Cartographic Heritage into the Digital of the International Cartographic Association (ICA) organizes, in collaboration with the Department of Cartography and Geoinformatics, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, a conference to discuss the state of the art in automatic vectorization of old maps, with particular emphasis on the use of free and open source solutions.

The Workshop Automatic vectorisation of historical maps will take place in Budapest on March 13, 2020.

All submitted works will be published online and a selection will be in a special issue of e-Perimetron.

Registration is free until February 25 by filling out this questionnaire.

The Fuller projection, or Dymaxion Map, can also be a great Christmas ornament. Seen in The Map Room and made by John Nelson.

Until February 21, the exhibition Latitude: Persuasive Cartography can be visited at the Carl A. Kroch Library at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York).

It is a collection of "persuasive" maps, that is, of maps designed primarily to influence opinions and beliefs instead of communicating geographic information. They use various tools and strategies (unusual projections and range of colors, partial selections of information, imaginative illustrations, allegories, satires and even intentional deceptions) to advance a particular cause or point of view.

Cartography is exposed from the 17th century to the present. Many of the works focus on historical perspectives on issues that are still relevant today, as is the case with immigration policy and gerrymandering strategies. Others seek to promote social change, the promotion of products and places or send notices about imaginary futures.

You can appreciate it by going around the virtual exhibition.

Until March 8, 2020, the Talking Maps exhibition can be visited at the Bodleian Libraries (University of Oxford).

From the funds of the institution, this exhibition brings together a selection of ancient, pre-modern and contemporary maps of different cultures and in different formats, as well as fascinating war maps, fictional maps and even imaginary maps.

It explores how maps are not mere transparent and objective scientific objects of communication, nor are they instruments at the service of ideological approaches, but proposals about the world that help people understand who they are describing where they are.

More information on Weston Library blog.

Every map tells a story. The exhibition shows how maps are creative objects that establish conversations between the people who made them and the individuals and communities that use them.

(Jerry Brotton, co-curator of Talking Maps)

In the year 2019 marks the fifth centenary of the start of the naval expedition initially led by the Portuguese navigator in the service of the Spanish Crown, Fernando de Magallanes, with the purpose of opening a new route to the Spice Islands. The trip ended three years later, on September 6, 1522, under the command of Juan Sebastián de Elcano, seaman of Guetaria (Guipúzcoa).

For the commemoration, which is considered an event of special public interest, the National Commission for the commemoration of the V Centenary of the first round-the-world expedition of Fernando de Magallanes and Juan Sebastián Elcano has been created and has been launched an ambitious program of activities that can be consulted on the V centenary website.

Cartography plays a central role in most of the activities, among which the following exhibitions can be highlighted:

  • «El viaje más largo» [The longest trip] in the Archivo General de Indias (Sevilla)
  • «Fuimos los Primeros. Magallanes, Elcano y la Vuelta al Mundo» [We were the first. Magellan, Elcano and Around the Round-the-world] in the Museo Naval (Madrid)
  • Exposition «Una vuelta al mundo en la BNE» [A roun-the-world in the BNE] in the Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid)

The Centro Interuniversitário de História das Ciências e da Tecnologia (CIUHCT), University of Lisbon, announces the celebration of the third conference on the history of nautical cartography On the origin and evolution of the nautical chart, which will be held at the Instituto Hidrográfico from Lisbon on June 4 and 5, 2020.

On this occasion the scope has been enlarged to include not only the genesis and evolution of the medieval portolan chart but also nautical charts in general. More information on the subject here.

Until December 31, 2019 work proposals are accepted, which must be exclusively in English. More instructions here.

In the 3rd session of the 1st cycle Dialogues between literature and science: the measurement and representation of the world, we will talk about the figure of the cartographer and navigator Juan de la Cosa (Santoña, between 1450 and 1460-Turbaco, 1510), known for having participated in seven of the first trips to America and for having drawn the oldest map of the American continent that is preserved.

He had a leading role in the first and second voyages of Christopher Columbus to the Antilles and in 1499 he participated as a senior pilot in the Alonso de Ojeda expedition to the coasts of the South American continent. On his return to Andalusia he drew his famous world map and shortly after he embarked again towards the Indies, this time with Rodrigo de Bastidas. In the following years he alternated trips to America under his own command with special commissions from the Crown, including a mission as a spy in Lisbon and a participation in the Junta de Pilotos of Burgos of 1508. In 1509 he undertook what would be his last expedition to take possession of the coasts of present-day Colombia. La Cosa died in an armed confrontation with indigenous people before being able to serve as chief sheriff of Urabá (excerpt from Wikipedia).

María Antonia Colomar is a retired historian and facultative of the Archivo General de Indias, of which she was deputy director. 2017 National Prize of the Spanish Geographical Society for their contributions to the history of cartography. Among other topics, he has been interested in the relationship between Juan de la Cosa and the Casa de Contratación.

Javier Tazón is a novelist and author of a tetralogy about the sailor and cartographer of Santoña, Juan de la Cosa: El cartógrafo de la reina (Memorias de Juan de la Cosa) (2010), Las rutas del Norte (2011), El mapa perdido (2014) and La estela del cartógrafo (2017).

The dialogue will be moderated by the GEHC member Carme Montaner.

The session will take place next Wednesday, November 20, at 7:00 pm, at the Archivo de la Corona de Aragón (Palacio de los Virreyes; Carrer dels Comtes, 2; Barcelona).

The entrance is free with pre-inscription to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the 2nd session of the 1st cycle of Dialogues between literature and science: the measurement and representation of the world, we will talk about the expedition that the Academy of Sciences of Paris carried out in Ecuador for the measurement of a degree of latitude during the first half 18th century. On the table was the controversy between Newton's followers, who considered the Earth flattened by the poles, and the defenders of the French posture, who claimed that the flattening was in the equator. The novel theory of gravity faced geodetic measures and Cartesian reasoning defended in Paris.

The expedition was led by the French astronomer Louis Godin along with Charles-Marie de la Condamine, Pierre Bouguer and Joseph de Jussieu. They were accompanied, on behalf of the Spanish crown, by the navy officers Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa. Between 1736 and 1739 they established the geodetic network necessary for the measurement of a section of meridian. Between 1739 and 1743 they carried out astronomical measurements at the extremes. Throughout the project the expeditionaries had to face the harshness of the environment and work, they were often misunderstood by the locals. Nor did the important dissensions among the members of the expedition help, which appeared from the beginning and culminated in the return of many of them separately. Others stayed in American lands for having founded family, for finding a job, for not having resources to return or for dying, naturally or violently.

Antonio Lafuente is a CSIC researcher and author of the study Los caballeros del punto fijo: ciencia, política y aventura en la expedición geodésica hispanofrancesa al virreinato del Perú en el siglo XVIII (1987), pioneer in the analysis of the expedition cited and, in general, of the institutionalized scientific development from the century of the lights.

Juan Vergara is the author of the novel Meridiano Maldito (2011), finalist, in the narrative section in Spanish, in the XV edition of the literary prizes Ciutat de València.

The dialogue will be moderated by the GEHC member Joan Capdevila.

The session will take place next Wednesday, November 13, at 7:00 pm, at the Archivo de la Corona de Aragón (Palacio de los Virreyes; Carrer dels Comtes, 2; Barcelona).

The entrance is free with pre-inscription to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the 1st session of the 1st cycle of Dialogues between literature and science: the measurement and representation of the world, Lluís Reales, scientific journalist, interview Ramon J. Pujades, an expert in portolan charts and member of GEHC, from whom we have extracted some interesting notes:

The portolan chart or "navigation chart" was designed to serve as a navigation tool, but would end up revolutionizing the whole way of perceiving, representing and managing the space of societies ...

...the Catalan culture transformed it (the models of north-western Italy) into an own product...

The Catalan charts came to be sold in places as far away as Alexandria or Flanders...

... monumental maps, beautifully decorated with great abundance of gold and miniature ... the famous Catalan Atlas of 1375, elaborated by the Mallorcan Jewish Cresques Abraham, was given by the infant John (future John I) to the king of France.

...news extracted from the narration of Marco Polo

Gabriel de Vallseca (1449) introduced the signal tower (Torre del Farrell) on Montjuïc mountain as a distinctive element.

The session will take place next Thursday, November 7, at 7:00 pm, at the Archivo de la Corona de Aragón (Palacio de los Virreyes; Carrer dels Comtes, 2; Barcelona).

The entrance is free with pre-inscription to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.