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London Map Fair: the landscape of time

Europe's largest antiquarian map fair opens in London next week, providing a glimpse of the creative ways cartographers drew the landscape hundreds of years ago.

A world of maps at your fingertips

Massimo De Martini's face assumes a look of concentrated pleasure as he slips the delicate sheet of paper, 16in by 27in, from its protective plastic sleeve.

Hand-drawn London - picture preview

Cartography, in general, requires a degree of artistic licence. Drawing the shape and features of the Earth’s surface on a map is arguably less about creating an exact replica of it than about creating a useful tool by which to navigate it.

Venetian Navigators, By Andrea di Robilant

From the hieroglyphics of Aztec Mexico to the red stripe of London's Central Line, maps are merely idealised representations of the world; some maps have served as instruments of intimidation and control. The first surveys of the Scottish Highlands, notoriously, were done to facilitate the crushing of rebel clans in the wake of the Jacobite uprising of 1745. Two centuries later, Nazi map-makers redrew Europe's frontiers in the shadow of the swastika, with an emphasis on "Jew free" areas of conquest.

'Insulting' maps of Loch Lomond axed

Loch Lomond locals have forced park authorities to destroy copies of a new navigational chart.

London Calling, By Barry Miles

It is apt for a feted London bohemian (who has written extensively on the Beatniks, music and the 1960s) to turn his sights to London's post-war bohemia from which he arose as co-owner of the Indica Gallery (a famed haunt for the 1960's avant garde).

Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey, By Rachel Hewitt

Despite its title, Map of a Nation is not a "biography of the Ordnance Survey". Rather, its sphere of interest is confined to British cartography 1747-1846. Moreover, despite its meticulous scholarship, the book is less a history than a celebration of the OS, an almost triumphalist account of an apparently irresistible ascent. While the account is sensitive to the military and governmental demands placed on the OS, the focus is on human endeavour and achievement, driven by the characters who ran the show: William Roy, who surveyed Scotland after the Jacobite Rebellion;William Mudge, who masterminded the survey of the British Isles; and Thomas Colby, the hyperactive perfectionist who succeeded him. Personality is the motivating force of history here.

Minister: GPs must say 'fat' – not 'obese'

Doctors should tell people they are fat rather than obese so the message gets through, a health minister said.

Audiobook: 'Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives', By David Eagleman

You can forget about drifting through the paradise garden or snuggling into the bosom of Abraham. It won't be like that, according to the neuroscientist David Eagleman. He has considered the perennially absorbing question of what happens to us when we die – and answered it 40 times.

Best charity: Common Ground

People's attachment to the familiar things in their own lives has, down the centuries, never been considered an important emotion or quality or ideal, up there with love and hate, or freedom and justice; it's never formed the basis of a philosophy. It's not only been taken for granted; it's hardly ever even been articulated. Yet it is clear that what we grow up with, our landscapes, our townscapes, our dialects, our customs, our sights, our sounds, our scents, even our foods, play an enormous part in forming us, and exert a powerful pull on our hearts all our lives; which is why, for example, people have hated to see old town centres, even ordinary ones, torn down and replaced with shopping malls, in the name of modernisation.

Maps will always have mileage

When was the last time you were well and truly lost? For those of us who own a smartphone, satnav or laptop, the answer may be quite some time ago. The streets we walk are endlessly documented online, the countryside is comprehensively mapped and even the most winding country lane has had its dimensions captured by the TomToms and Garmins of this world. Even the trusty Ordnance Survey has just announced its presence online. But does this proliferation of digital data mean a golden age of mapping or is it the end of an era for the paper maps that have helped us around the world – and back again – for centuries?

Mark Francis: Arena, Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal

Scenic setting is full of surprises

Number of NHS managers rises by 84 per cent

The number of managers in the NHS has risen by 12 per cent in one year and 84 per cent in a decade, new figures revealed.

The truth about maps: How cartographers distort reality

As a fascinating new exhibition shows, it's not always what they put in that matters – but what they leave out

Google Street View awards: Shambles voted Britain's prettiest street

York has come top of the Google Street View awards after its historic lane 'The Shambles', a tiny cobbled street which lies in the shadow of the city's famous Minster and dates back to the fourteenth century, was voted Britain's most picturesque street.

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