The heritage of geological maps

  • Alex Maltman


There are facets of geological maps other than those discussed in the preceding chapters, such as the tremendous heritage they represent. The maps we use today have not always looked this way, and the earliest maps did not appear overnight. Geological maps have slowly evolved, in many ways reflecting the growth of geology itself. The first part of this chapter briefly outlines this history. Every geological map embodies parts of the story. The treatment here is brief, but references are provided which give much greater detail. Then there is the human aspect to maps. Many a geological map represents the culmination of much individual labour, and its production may have involved personal conflicts, adventure, even tragedy. There have been individuals and institutions who have contributed influential advances in map methods, and who have bequeathed magnificent maps. The second half of this chapter sketches the lives of six individuals in order to glimpse the personal stories that lie behind their maps and, because they all made influential advances, behind all maps. The choice of people is a rather arbitrary one, aimed at giving some chronological and geographical spread. Some very interesting persons and some very significant maps have had to be passed by.


Geological Society Grand Canyon Topographic Base Memorial Window Ordnance Survey 
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© Alex Maltman 1990

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  • Alex Maltman

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