The Beauty of Maps

BBC 4 (4 x 30 mins)

  • Info

bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/beautyofmaps

The series explores the beauty of maps, their historical significance, their relevance to modern map-making, and how they shape the future of cartography. The Beauty of Maps series was part of BBC Four's 'Maps Moment', which will aired in spring 2010 alongside the British Library's new exhibition, "Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art".

The Beauty of Maps puts the art back into cartography by taking a look at the development of key maps throughout history, examining how they have become works of art rather than simply objective representations of space.

Each episode focuses on one map and uses human stories and testimony, original sketches and artistic impressions, private journals and historic archive sources to tell its story. The series addresses the cartographers' roles and how big an impact their creations have had in the art world. The maps which feature in the series are from the collection at the British Library. Peter Barber, Head of Map Collections at the British Library, is acting as consultant on the series.

The Beauty of Maps also has an online counterpart, which delivers original and exclusive content thematically aligned to the TV series. Users are able to explore five historic maps. This interactive online content is a mixed-media combination of pictures, video, audio and text and guides the viewer on a journey through modern day map-making, exploring the most intriguing and beautiful maps of today.