Saturday, November 18, 2023

Introducing the Sunderland Collection

The Sunderland Collection of antique maps has been digitized in full and can now be explored in detail on the new virtual platform Oculi Mundi (Eyes of the World).

The Sunderland Collection was started by Dr Neil Sunderland in the 1990s. The collection now consists of around 130 vintage globes, maps and atlases which date back to as early as the 13th century. The new Oculi Mundi platform takes a very visual (some might even say annoying) approach to presenting and exploring the Sunderland Collection. In 'explore' mode you are forced to scroll through a 3d scrolling virtual gallery choosing maps to explore in closer detail from their floating screenshots. Personally I prefer the 'research' mode which allows you to explore the Sunderland map collection in chronological order. 

If you select a map in either the explore or research modes you can then explore the selected digitized map in close detail, exploring the map by panning and zooming in and out. Each map also includes 'gallery notes' which provides information on the selected map with details about when it was drawn and the name of the cartographer.

The chronological 'research' mode of the Sunderland Collection actually presents a neat visual view of the history of cartography, encompassing examples of early T & O maps, Ptolemaic maps, and medieval Mappa Mundi. At the moment the Oculi Mundi is seriously missing a 'search' option, which would allow users to more easily search the collection by individual cartographer or map. However the stories section of Oculi Mundi does provide some great guided tours of some of the vintage maps in the collection and a neat introduction to the historical development of map projections over time.

The David Rumsey Documentary

If you are a fan of antique vintage maps then you won't want to miss A Stranger Quest. Directed by Italian filmmaker Andrea Gatopoulos A Stranger Quest explores the passions of David Rumsey and his famous map collection. The file will premier at the Torino Film Festival on November 30 and will be released in 2024. The David Rumsey Map Collection has one of the largest online collections of digitized vintage maps.

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