The Travel Angel

Caitlin Dempsey
The Travel Angel, Los Angeles Farmers’ Market

Caitlin Dempsey, the editor of GisLounge sent us this beauty

“One of my favorite hidden gems at the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market is the “Travel Angel” which was installed in 2001 as part of a public art project. The piece is kind of hidden in a nook near one of the entrances, making it a delight to stumble upon.  I always look for it any time I visit the Grove.  The inside of the wings are covered with maps and the outer wings (which you can’t see in this photo) are collaged with postcards from places around the world.  “

Nice one Caitlin – you win the award as our first contributor


America loves concrete. Urban areas are absolutely covered in the stuff. Everything is made using the stuff. But I do like the fact that they imprint various patterns into the vertical walls they make using the stuff. often it’s something that reflects the neighbourhood. As a large citrus producing area, many in and around Redlands have oranges or orange groves. this, however, is near Loma Linda hospital and has the imprint of the world. It’s a little odd…two portions of a hemisphere either side of the underpass but, clearly, a considerable amount of artistic license in the positioning of land masses.

UN Council Chamber, Geneva

This brass version of the UN logo hangs in the Council Chamber in Geneva.

“A map of the world representing an azimuthal equidistant projection centred on the North Pole, inscribed in a wreath consisting of crossed conventionalized branches of the olive tree, . . . The projection of the map extends to 60 degrees south latitude, and includes five concentric circles.”

— Official Seal and Emblem of the United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General, 15 October 1946

The olive branches are a symbol for peace, and the world map represents all the people and the countries of the world.

Map on a wall

This map is painted on a wall next to a petrol station in Redlands CA. Originally painted in the 1950s and recently restored. I pass it almost every day and love it. What particularly impresses me is that it’s right reading. When you’re stood looking at the wall you’re pretty much facing east. So the map is oriented that way too. East is at the top. You look left and see the mountains and that’s north. Any map in a public space should be oriented correctly. North is not always up!

The Sheldon Tapestry Map of Worcestershire

The Sheldon Tapestry Map of Worcester was created around 1590. It now hangs in the Bodleian Library

I went to the Tolkien exhibition at the Bodlian Library in Oxford to see the amazing maps that he had drawn as both illustrations and planning for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Photography was banned but on the way out I spotted this massive tapestry map hanging in the lobby area.

“The Sheldon Tapestry Map of Worcester was created around 1590, one of four such tapestry maps commissioned by Ralph Sheldon. The map is woven in wool and silk. As a concept, these tapestry maps were unique in England, nothing else of this cartographic nature had been created at the time. The map content is almost certainly derived from the county maps of Christopher Saxon (1574-79)” – abbreviated notes from the Bodleian Library

Going global

One heck of a lot of globes

During the UK Mapping Festival Ken organised an excursion to Bellerby and Co’s globe making workshop in Stoke Newington for a small group of map geeks. Peter Bellerby gave us a tour of the workshop, explained some of the processes involved in making these magnificent globes whilst trying not to give away the secret sauce that makes a Bellerby globe so special. Cartographers will be fascinated by the decisions that have to be taken to fit content and labels onto a globe.

A Churchill “aka massive” globe

Every globe is made by hand, carefully balanced and hand coloured. They take weeks of painstaking work to complete which explains the cost, a massive globe like the Churchill above costs of over £70k! If anyone is wondering what to buy for the map lover who has almost everything …

Hand painting a globe