Musings on the AGM and Mapping Evening
We now have well over 50 paid-up members all longing to look at maps. I hope that over the next year we can live up to expectations. A great start was made by having a small exhibition with the irrepressible Graham Roberts (from the Dumfries Archive Centre) waving his arms around (and indeed also some of the maps) and declaring that this one was boring while the next one was wonderful (“Just look at that splendid cartouche”).
All the maps were fascinating but the star was the division of commonty near Hightae, brilliantly coloured and beautifully drawn. This matched up well with the other division of the commonty map from Penpont which Robert Gladstone had kindly brought in.
Another favourite with me was the 18th century estuary map of the Nith. I do hope that you all paid attention to the work on the wall that had been done by school children under the supervision of Keith Walker [hope to get their fantastic work up on the site soon - Ed]. I had thought that about 30 minutes would do for around 12 maps but in fact one of the joys of the evening was to stand just outside the door and listen to the buzz of chatter in the room and the disinclination for folk to go and get their supper! We shall try and make the time a bit longer next time out. Very many thanks to Graham, Robert and Keith for bringing in their maps.
Following on was a talk by Chris Fleet, senior curator of maps, from the National Library of Scotland. Nigel (our web master) has purloined and placed Chris' slides on the “Members Only” part of the site, if anyone would like to have a flick through again. I very much enjoyed his talk and will look at Roy's map now in a totally different light after its brief comparison with the Soviet map of the 1960s; rather more worrying than my normal search for where the trees are! The momentary loss of Jura by Google maps seemed to entertain his audience and his swift track back through maps of the Crichton to Timothy Pont's great scribble was very illuminating.
He then gave us a quick overview of what the NLS had done with their digitisation, talking us through a variety of geo-referencing techniques and web presentation methods. The big thing that he said was that we should not get hung up about the methodology of this as the technology is changing rapidly. We have, I hope, now set up a technical committee to look at these things and hope that we will interrogate Chris further on these matters along with other experts in the field. I actually met Chris a week later in Perth where he was talking again and he was again eye opening. He also kindly re-iterated his invitation to go and ask as many questions as possible. He is a great asset for our project as well as the NLS!
Very many thanks to all of you who made it to what I hope will become an annual jamboree.