Magazine article Geographical

Young Geographer of the Year Competition 2006: With Almost 3,000 Personally Designed Maps Submitted, This Year's Geographical Young Geographer of the Year Was the Most Successful to Date. Competition Judge Rex Walford Muses on Some of the Highlights and Comes to the Conclusion That Cartography Is Alive and Well among Tomorrow's Geographers

Magazine article Geographical

Young Geographer of the Year Competition 2006: With Almost 3,000 Personally Designed Maps Submitted, This Year's Geographical Young Geographer of the Year Was the Most Successful to Date. Competition Judge Rex Walford Muses on Some of the Highlights and Comes to the Conclusion That Cartography Is Alive and Well among Tomorrow's Geographers

Article excerpt

"I'd never have been able to climb Everest without this," said Rebecca Stephens, the first British woman to climb the world's highest mountain, as she brandished a clearly well-used and much-loved survey map at the annual Geographical Young Geographer of the Year awards ceremony.

Rebecca (who is also the first British woman to climb the 'seven summits') was guest presenter at this year's ceremony, and provided a series of fascinating personal insights into the theme of this year's competition, which simply asked entrants to "make a map".

A recent leader-page article in The Times suggested that, in the face of satellite-navigation systems, soon "the paper map will surely die". This over-sanguine assumption was comprehensively demolished by the judges and commentators (including Geographical publisher Graeme Gourlay) who spoke at the ceremony, as well as by the evidence of nearly 3,000 competition entries.

The breadth of topics made it a difficult task for the judges, whose key criteria were elegance, communicability and originality. In the Junior category, for example, a neat computer-generated map of 'Dive Sites in the Caribbean' (full of clever logos) had to be evaluated alongside an intensely personal, hand-crafted map of 'My Worst Nightmare'. A bleak and comprehensive world map called 'Aids: Know the Facts' stood alongside a local map showing the significant relationship between dropped litter and the provision of rubbish bins in Croxley Green.

Personal reading and interests featured in many of the entries. Narnia and Willy Wonka's chocolate factory were recurring topics among the many Junior maps based on fiction. Mythical islands and imaginary lands were duly charted alongside the global spread of tourists and burger bars.

Notable entries in the Young Geographer category ranged from 'An Intended Guide to the Thermal Wonderland of Rotorua' to 'Ram's Journeys in the Hindu Legend of Ramayan' and the scientifically informative 'An Energy Delivery Charge Map of a Water Molecule'. In the Senior category, 'The World as Foreseen by George Orwell in 1984' caught the eye, as did an encyclopaedic portfolio that portrayed 'Millennium Projects in Britain'. …

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