The Beauty of Maps – BBC Series

This is the last chance you will get to view this series.

According to the new source (below) this will NOT be made available on DVD or BluRay .

“Seeing The Art In Cartography”
An amazing array of interesting cartographic maps spanning centuries of maps that changed the perception of the world we see today.

Psalter 1260 Map

Desceilers World Map 1550

Digital World Internet Data Movement Map

Clips can be previewed (UK only? iplayer restricts uk only – advise foxyproxy & a uk proxy)
If you use get_iplayer with Tor (Tor, Polipo and Vidalia bundle) even better

*Can be seen on BBC Four in the coming weeks or on the BBC iPlayer

1/4. The story of the Hereford Mappa Mundi, the largest intact Medieval wall map in the world.
Next Monday 19th April, 20:30 BST on BBC Four
Medieval Maps – Mapping the Medieval Mind

Beauty of Maps main page

Also see ‘Animated History of European Mapmaking’

Look out for “Windows on the World” [starts Sunday 18 April 2010 21:00 BST BBC4 & HD]
“In a series about the extraordinary stories behind maps, Professor Jerry Brotton uncovers how maps aren’t simply about getting from A to B but are revealing snapshots of defining moments in history and tools of political power and persuasion.”

Google Earth: An Illustrated History of the World

Robert Rosenberg recently emailed us to let us know about a very ambitious new project he’s working on, called the Illustrated History of the World. In his words:

The IHW project is the Foundation’s effort to bring together existing multi-media web content such as Google Earth, You Tube, and Wikipedia in order to create an interactive narrative of world history based upon the content of our Tables of Instances.


If things go as well as they’re hoping, the result could be a very useful resource for teachers and students to help supplement their history and geography lessons.

As of now, the project is a bit cumbersome to load on your computer, as the main KMZ file is roughly 108MB! They’re already working on ways to reduce the size of that, likely putting it into a network link so it can be loaded in smaller chunks as needed. The other advantage to using a network link is that the data can be automatically updated, rather than requiring the user to re-download it from their site.

You can learn more on their website at They’ve also started a thread in the Google Earth Community to help solicit more feedback.

Google Earth: Le Tour de France

The 2011 Tour de France has recently gotten underway, and Cycling the Alps has built some fun tools to help you see the conditions that the riders are up against.

We’ve shown you some of their work in the past, such as the great games that they added to the site earlier this year. Now they’ve combined that technology with the Tour de France and the result is quite cool.


They’ve gone through and created 3D tours, Streetview tours, profiles and games for every leg of the race. It’s quite an impressive list. Here are a few of the highlights to look for:

Stage 8

There are two stages in the Massif Central which are going to be very challenging, including the last two climbs in this stage: Col de la croix Saint Robert and Super-Besse Sancy.

Stage 12

In the Pyrenees and the climbs of this stage are epic. The Tourmalet is the most famous one but Luz-Ardiden gets a lot of attention in the media as well.

Stage 14

Stage 14 in the Pyrenees is probably the most difficult stage in the race, with six significant climbs.

Stage 18

This years tour is celebrating 100 years of high mountain stages, and every race featured a climb of the Col du Galibier. This year they’ll be climbing the pass two times; once from each side. In stage 18 they will even finish on the Galibier. This is the highest stage finish in the history of the Tour de France.

Stage 19

The next day they will climb the Col du Galibier from the other side, and all three climbs on the 19th stage are legendary.

There’s an amazing amount of info on this site about the Tour, and the games make it fun to ride around on each stage. Congrats to the CTA team for putting this all together.