Petr Přidal awarded Bartholomew Globe by Royal Scottish Geographical Society

Friday, December 14, 2012

Yesterday we held our second conference on Working Digitally with Historical Maps. The first was held at the New York Public Library in February, and saw the original launch of the Old Maps Online web site. This time we were at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, and included the first public demonstration of the new and improved software for the site. Much more about that and the other presentations next time, but for a quick summary of the day take a look at Edina's Go-Geo blog.

One highlight of the day was a short ceremony at which Bruce Gittings, Vice-Chair of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, presented Petr Přidal, founder of Klokan Technologies and principal architect of the Old Maps Online system, with the Bartholomew Globe. Bruce is wearing the suit, and his speech follows.

"Through its publications and awards the Royal Scottish Geographical Society is pleased to acknowledge and promote notable research, development and innovation within the geographical sciences. Amongst these, the Society awards the Bartholomew Globe, which is named in honour of the notable family of Edinburgh cartographers, who worked in Duncan Street just around the corner from the NLS Map Library. This is given in recognition of an exceptional contribution to cartography, mapping and related techniques.

Today we have already heard from someone who has made a very significant and enduring contribution to online mapping, directly enabling the pioneering work undertaken here in the National Library of Scotland, and in the Moravian Library, in relation to making historical mapping available. This was followed by a significant contribution underpinning projects such as Old Maps Online.

This person is Petr Přidal. Hailing from the Czech Republic, where he gained a Masters in Applied Informatics in 2007 and he finalizes PhD in Cartography now, Petr is a software engineer whose career leaped forward through the springboard of the Google Summer of Code in 2008. He has gone on to found his own company in Switzerland - Klokan Technologies - having set himself the mission of empowering people, companies and institutions, to search, publish and enjoy the real value of the maps they own. For those of you who don't know 'Klokan' is his Czech nickname, meaning slightly bizarrely kangaroo. And there is no doubt that his work 'bounced' the traditional field of historical cartography into the 21st century, underpinning many of the projects we are hearing about today.

Petr has been responsible for innovative software tools including GDAL2Tiles, MapTiler (which permits the seamlessly rendering of maps), IIPImage which provides streaming of high-resolution images, geographical search with MapRank and crowd-sourced georeferencing with Georeferencer. He is strongly of the view that software should be free-and-open-source, and this philosophy has enabled the takeup of these valuable solutions in the often poorly-funded library sector.

It is with the greatest of pleasure I would like to present the Bartholomew Globe to Petr Přidal."

Detail from 1917 Parliamentary Boundary Commission map of Edinburgh (from A Vision of Britain through Time)
Tags: Bartholomew Globe, workshop