Detail View: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection: The Air Age Map of the World centred on London.

Author: 
British Overseas Airways Corporation
Date: 
1945
Short Title: 
The Air Age Map of the World centred on London.
Publisher: 
Edward Stanford Ltd.
Publisher Location: 
London
Type: 
Wall Map
Obj Height cm: 
105
Obj Width cm: 
97
Scale 1: 
42,240,000
Note: 
Date estimated.
World Area: 
World
Subject: 
Airlines
Subject: 
Transportation
Full Title: 
The Air Age Map of the World centred on London. / Compiled by the British Overseas Airways Corporation.
List No: 
10539.000
Publication Author: 
British Overseas Airways Corporation
Pub Date: 
1945
Pub Title: 
The Air Age Map of the World centred on London. / Compiled by the British Overseas Airways Corporation.
Pub Reference: 
British Library: Maps 921.(8.) / OCLC: 558030451; National Library of Scotland: Maps.s.12.3 / OCLC: 642580647; National Library of Wales: Folded Map Ab1577; University of Oxford – Bodleian Library: B1 (222); University of Manchester Library: Special Collections, Map Collection (Flat) B1 (2); National Maritime Museum (Greenwich): G201:1/10; OCLC (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Northwestern University Library): 85892686; American Geographical Society, Current Geographical Publications (New York, 1948), p. 216; Olive GARNETT, A Book For Teachers And Students In Training (London, 1948), p. 109; The Statesman’s Year-book (1945), vol. 82, fly-leaf advertisement.
Pub Note: 
"A rare, large wall map depicting the globe on an azimuthal equidistant projection, centred on London, made by Edward Stanford Ltd. in the final days of World War II for the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), the predecessor to British Airways. This rare and fascinating large wall map was made by the leading mapmaker Edward Stanford Ltd. for the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), the predecessor to British Airways, in the final days of World War II. It depicts the globe on an ‘Azimuthal Equidistant Projection’, whereby all points on the map are at proportionally correct distances from a base point, as well as being in the correct direction from said base point. The globe is abstracted accordingly in preference to these priorities. Azimuthal Equidistant Projection is well suited to aviation, being a modern application of the ‘Great Circle Route’ used for centuries by maritime navigators. In this particular instance, the base point is London (BOAC’s principal hub), with the red lines connecting 27 major international destinations, noting the distances in nautical miles. As the note in the upper left corner explains: ‘Azimuthal Equidistant Projection - On this projection a straight line from London to any part of the world is a Great Circle Track and can be measured by means of the scales. The bearing to any place, measured at London is the initial Great Circle Bearing. Bearings and distances between places other than London cannot be measured.’ While the present map is undated, it was published early in 1945 while World War II was still underway. The map features pre-war international boundaries, and was the subject of advertisements published in 1945. The map is sometimes erroneously dated ‘1947’ in library catalogues. Aviation maps on an azimuthal equidistant projection first became popular during the latter part of World War II and the post-war period, which saw the rise of the popular commercial aviation industry and the advent of jet travel. While flying during the late 1940s and 1950s, especially on overseas routes, was still incredibly expensive and reserved for the elite, the period saw a sharp increase in civilian air travel and the opening many new scheduled routes. While the present map was made while the war was still on-going, the conflict’s end was in sight, so anticipating the imminent peacetime boom in civilian air travel, including to many of the destinations shown on the present map. Notably, most of the great aviation maps on an azimuthal equidistant projection were American, using U.S. hubs as their base points, making the present London-centric map somewhat unusual. The British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) was, like PanAm, one of the big names during the golden age of commercial air travel. The company was created in 1939 from the merger of the original British Airways and Imperial Airways. During the great lift-off in air travel in the wake of World War II, BOAC was Britain’s flagship carrier. In 1974, in response to the oil crisis, BOAC merged with three of its rivals to form the modern British Airways. BOAC commissioned the present map from the firm of Edward Stanford Ltd. Founded in 1853, and still operating to the present day, Stanford was for most of its history the leading commercial mapmaker in the British Empire, fulfilling innumerable important governmental commissions, as well assignments from real estate syndicates, railways, and mining companies and, of course, airlines. The present map would have been used by BOAC for a variety of purposes, including strategic planning in the boardroom, training pilots, and as advertising in travel agencies and ticketing bureaus. Contemporary publications also reveal that examples of the map were publically sold and used in classrooms to showcase the ‘air age’ to the next generation." (Alexander Johnson, 2020)
Pub List No: 
10539.000
Pub Type: 
Wall Map
Pub Height cm: 
105
Pub Width cm: 
97
Image No: 
10539000.jp2
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Authors: 
British Overseas Airways Corporation