Blog 2-Naegele

The idea to use a map to find something is not a new concept. However, in the 1800s Willam Smith was one of the first to use a map to strategize and find fossils through geology. Considering the fascination of fossils in the 1800s it comes to no surprise that there would be a demand for them but it does come as a surprise to myself at least the way you have to study the land to find them. Willaim smith’s map pictured below is a great example of what colors can be used to signify on a map. While I and many other modern explores may not have as much use for the map with as much technology we have it must have been revolutionary to use a map in such a way.

WilliWilliam Smith’s map of Bath using geology

As William himself described the use and his discovery:

“This discovery of the mode of identifying the strata by the organised fossils respectively imbedded therein led to the most important distinctions”

There seemed to have been no equivalent to his map during that time period. Really the way he integrated the colors to signify new meaning is the main takeaway from his map in a cartographical sense but he also did a lot in the way of improving our understanding of the land and where to find fossils.

Straub Blog Post 2

In this map, we see William Smith’s contribution to the mapping community. Here, we are looking at his thematic map, as it portrays the geology features of the area. Below, the land is depicted with a range of colors shaded across the European landscape.

What I found most interesting in this reading was the color coding which he used. William Smith entered the geology mapping field at the perfect time. The first set of color-coated maps entered the world in the 17th century, however, they were primarily used as a decorative element with nothing more than ornate value. However, as color-coding became easier, it also became more prevalent. At this point, cartographers began using color to display additional information on their maps. William Smith was fortunate enough to come across one of these. By chance, this experience would later go on to influence him to create one of the greatest maps in his field at his time. Using gradients, he revolutionized the way geologists mapped rock formations below the surface. Perhaps the most impressive part among all this is that he shaded these maps by hand. This process required extreme detailing, and he succeeded with relatively great accuracy. His commitment to the work, knowledge of the subject matter, and innovative mind allowed him to receive acclaimed recognition after many years in the shadows. Despite all the things he did right, one thing that stands out to me about this author is he managed to get very lucky to be credited with the creation of this map. Had he been born a century earlier, he would have missed this opportunity entirely, and had he been born a century later, one of his rivals would have completed this feat themselves. Overall, I would say it goes to show the importance of being in the right place at the right time when it comes to innovation.

On a closing note, one thing I wish the map included to improve the contents were the fossils in different levels of the Earth. As the pivotal revelation to his creation, fossils seem to be left out on the map. I would think these need to be integrated into the key below to help the viewer truly grasp the whole story the map is telling.

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The symbology does a great job of furthering the goal of this map in my opinion. For most of the map, we view Europe in a monochromatic fashion and our eyes aren’t drawn to anything in particular when looking at the map. However, when we look at Smith’s map and select William Smith’s collection, we can see the green trails light up. This is great for symbology as green often is related to nature and we can see the places and trails that he took to explore these areas. The scale of this map is also very helpful as well. When you select what you want to view, Smith’s map automatically adjusts the size and scope of the map to narrow in on exactly what you want to look at. The reader has the option to adjust the zoom view of the map, whether they want to zoom in or out as well.

This map was made by William Smith, who lived from 1769 to 1839. This map was created for multiple different groups of people. I would argue the first and foremost group of people this map was created for was Geologists. First, on the map, each section in some way is broken down by Geology. Whether it’s Geology of England & Wales with part of Scotland or Modern Geology, these sections were broken down for specific answers for various Geology questions and research applications. The next group of people that I would say this map is for are fossil collectors. In the William Smith reading, we learn that “Two of the men, Joseph Townsend and Benjamin Richardson, were clergymen and fossil collectors”. The team-up of these three innovative people in the eighteenth and nineteenth century are responsible for creating an array of information that is geared to help fossil collectors as they are trying to get more knowledge out to people.