Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Detail of Churchill's War Map

The British Imperial War Museum released a detail of the map Prime Minister Winston Churchill's staff used to map threats to shipping during World War II.  One can clearly see how the beautiful map was used via push pins to provide a complex understanding of the maritime situation.

Image from the Imperial War Museum

Spatial awareness has always been key to strategic and operational planning.  What I think has been lost to a certain extent is the artistic element in military cartography.  The artistic side of military maps has been sacrificed to computer-based spartan efficiency.  In Iraq and Afghanistan most of the maps I used were on the computer and the few that I printed out were simple GIS/Google Maps marked up with my pen.  The last day of my Iraq deployment I took all my map printouts and burned them in a bonfire in a little no-named wahdi.  I did not feel an emotional/artistic attachment to the maps, something that is extremely rare to me.  In fact cannot think of any War on Terrorism-examples of a field map which matches the beauty of military maps from World War II, the Civil War, or the Revolutionary War.


DoverGirlStands said...

I stood probably for hours with my nose pressed against the glass, studying these maps in London last year. I was imagining the patterns, and the people pushing the pins, studying the patterns and analyzing them. You can still feel the intensity there, if you stand quietly for a bit.

Beautiful maps. Also liked the work tools and calculating "debris" left behind. Cannot wait to go back.

Catholicgauze said...

I am jealous. I hope to go one day. Thanks for sharing.