Stichting Vrijwilligersproject EXPLOKART
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The research program of the
history of cartography, entitled Explokart, was founded 1981 by professor Günter Schilder at Utrecht University. The name of the program is derived from "Exploration and accessibility of Dutch cartographic documents, 16th-20th century".
Explokart is dedicated to making an inventory, description, and facsimiles of Dutch wall maps, topographical maps, sea charts, hydrographical maps, and globes. The aim of Explokart is to offer guidance to the users of old maps. This is accomplished by informing the users about the specific characteristics of cartographic materials, as well as the problems involved in their interpretation. Explokart classifies these documents and makes them accessible to members of the discipline and to the general public.
As means of communication, maps are expressions of their times. Thus, to completely understand these documents, the investigator must delve into the diverse links in the communication process. That is, one must study the interaction among cartographers, publishers, and map users. In this light, archive research is indispensable to the work undertaken within Explokart.
Dutch cartography has played a key role in the dissemination of geographical knowledge about the world. The economic and political situation of the times allowed commercial publishers in the Netherlands to gain a monopoly on the production of maps, atlases, and globes from the end of the sixteenth century until well into the second half of the seventeenth century. Accordingly, there is great international interest in the study of cartographic documents from that period.
Utrecht University had until 2004 the only Chair in history of cartography. It functions as a hub of national and international contacts. A high level of expertise has been built up in Utrecht. Moreover, research in the department has led to the publication of several authoritative texts on the discipline. These have received international acclaim. The importance of the work conducted within Explokart was affirmed by the decision to designate the history of cartography as a priority research theme in faculty's research program. Explokart has a protected status, forming from 1996 to 2008 one of the four official 'jewels' of Utrecht University, thanks to the high standard of publications on the field.
Social relevance of the programme
Interest in old maps as a source of historical information has increased enormously during the last two decades. The history of cartography can provide insight into many other fields and disciplines; e.g. history, geography, mathematica, town- and country planning, archeology, art history, and the history of book printing and trading. All of these disciplines are more or less connected with the history of maps. Scientists often use the map as historical evidence.
The social relevance of the research program Explokart - now and in future - may be summarized as follows: the preservation of the cultural heritage of the Netherlands. This aim can be archieved in various ways:
See further the Self-assessment report 2000-2006.
Van Keulen Cartografie (Cooperative project involving 5 scientific institutes, Explokart is represented by Günter Schilder)
The Van Keulen Cartography research project was initiated in 1995. The main aim of this project is to locate, study and catalogue the manuscript charts of the Van Keulen Company, and also the genealogy of the family and the firm's history. Five Dutch scientific institutions are jointly involved in the project: Maritime Museum Amsterdam; Maritime Museum Rotterdam; City Archives, Amsterdam; University Library, Leiden; and Explokart of Utrecht University. The results were published in 2005: The Van Keulen cartography Amsterdam, 1680-1885 / Dirk de Vries, Günter Schilder, Willem Mörzer Bruyns, Peter van Iterson and Irene Jacobs; with contr. By Nils Persson and Ton Vermeulen. - Alphen aan den Rijn: Canaletto/Repro-Holland, i.s.m. Van Keulen Cartography Research Project, 2005. - 633 blz. + katern Indexsheets. - ISBN 90 6469 807 4. This work contains a number of essays and a completely illustrated cartobibliography of about 700 ms-charts in colour.
Catalogue of the Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem (Peter van der Krogt in collaboration with Erlend de Groot of Nijmegen University) The Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem, the seventeenth century collector's atlas (Austrian National Library), offers a pictorial encyclopedia of contemporary knowledge ranging from geography and topography to warfare and politics. In 2004 the cultural value of this collector's atlas was underlined when it became part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Register. The aim of the current project was to prepare a catalogue of this collection which includes all 2,400 maps, plates, views and drawings in black and white reproductions with relevant cartographical, historical and art-historical notes. The project was finished with the sixth volume in 2008. For further reference , see: http://www.explokart.eu/research/vanderhem.html.
Development of thematic cartography in the Netherlands and its overseas territories (Ferjan Ormeling)
Although the drainage requirements led to some early contributions like the invention of isoline maps in the 1580s, the real development of thematic mapping in the Netherlands started in the nineteenth century. This research project aims to establish the use of cartographic visualisation techniques in order to inventorise, analyse and communicate the results of research into the geosciences and statistical surveys, not only in scientific publications but in educational materials as well.
The use of GIS in historical cartography (Elger Heere, promotor: Ferjan Ormeling / Jelle Vervloet [Alterra]).
This research project consists of two parts. In the first part, the possibilities of the use of computers, with the emphasis on GIS, in historical cartography will be investigated. Examples of these possibilities are the description of old maps, the analyses of accuracy of old maps and the use of several GIS functions on old maps. The second part of the research project is an users research. By using methods, recently used in modern-cartography users research, which are developed in social sciences, an attempt will be made to get to know more about the strategies users of old maps develop in their use of old maps, and in their use of computers in their research.
Promotion: 27 June 2008.
The cartographical work of Von Derfelden van Hinderstein (Piet Broeders [associate researcher]; promotor: Günter Schilder).
Baron Von Derfelden van Hinderstein (1783-1858) was a self-taught geographer/cartographer. He collected the most up-to-date information about maps and the maps themselves (from all over the world). As a member of the dyke board he has drawn some maps of the river Lek between 1820 and 1829. From 1814 he was interested in Dutch east India. Till 1822 he drew maps of the bigger islands of the Indonesian archipelago based on older data. Between 1828 and 1837 he made about 300 drawings and sketches ('preparatoir werk') and tried to incorporate the most recent information he received from his wide network. In 1841-43 the 'Algemeene kaart van Nederlandsch Oost-Indie' [General Map of Dutch East India] was published. The current study's main objectives are to trace the different channels of information, the significance of the maps Dutch and colonial society, and the place of these maps in the history of cartography.
Promotion: 21 November 2006.
Three groups prepare volumes for Van der Krogt's Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici