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Decolonising Welsh mapping talk launches Carto Cymru symposium

15 May 2022 3 minute read
Openstreetmap.cymru screenshot

The National Library of Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales are joining together once more to hold the annual map symposium Carto-Cymru.

Organisers say this year’s theme ‘Mapping in Megabytes’ explores how computer-generated mapping is changing the way maps are produced, used and preserved and what this means for those who hold such information and make it available to the public.

The free event on the 20 May is the sixth in the series which has been held since 2016 and this year’s symposium will again be held online, opening it to audiences from around the world.

The programme of speakers starts with Jason Evans, Open Data Manager at the National Library of Wales, who will be talking about ‘Decolonising Welsh mapping’ and how Welsh speaking users of Openstreetmap and Wikidata have been working to safeguard Welsh language place names and why it is important to do so.

He will be reflecting on a recent Welsh Government funded project, led by the National Library of Wales, to combine these two datasets in order to improve Welsh language mapping services.

He will also be looking ahead at the potential of crowdsourced data to empower Welsh speakers and ensure they have equal access to digital map-based services.

That will be followed by a presentation by Jon Dollery, Mapping Officer at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

In his talk he will explore the types of spatial data that is currently captured and how they are used within the historic environment sector and the opportunities new developments may offer.

Preservation

Later, Dr Gethin Rees, Lead Curator of Digital Mapping at the British Library, will outline the steps that the six legal deposit libraries have taken to ensure that digital maps published in the United Kingdom are available for current and future generations.

Sally McInnes, Head of Unique and Contemporary Content at The National Library of Wales will describe the Library’s approach to preserving born digital content, and how this fits into the Library’s new strategy: A Library for Wales and the World.

Closing the day, Dr Sarah Higgins, Senior Lecturer in Information Studies at Aberystwyth University, will close the day by discussing a project being undertaken in partnership between Aberystwyth University, The Royal Commission and The National Library to develop an AI enabled Trusted Digital Repository for Wales.

Organisers say this year’s symposium promises to be an exciting day with the chance to hear about some cutting-edge projects in the field.

Tickets are free of charge and can be obtained from the events page and you can read more about the presentations here:


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Cynan
Cynan
6 months ago

“Decolonising Welsh Mapping”? I would like to have seen that term explained further. Are we talking about the chaps from the bally Ordnance Survey renaming our places into Anglo? If so, that could be quite interesting for our history, especially if we can reclaim names from before the period of Victorian vandalism. For example, there is a little known valley near Coed y Brenin north of Dolgellau, called Cwm Camlan through which runs the Afon Camlan (now named on most maps for its waterfalls Rhaiadr Du). Within this area is a lake known since Victorian times as Monks Lake. Prior… Read more »

Sion Cwilt
Sion Cwilt
6 months ago
Reply to  Cynan

Absolutely! And that’s where OpenStreetMaps comes in, as they are open source and thus anyone is able to contribute to them, unlike the Ordnance Survey which is a UK government body, (though I do believe they have got much better on the Welsh language front in recent decades).

The biggest 19th century culprit for arbitrary name changes were of course the railway companies.

Ross Broadstock
Ross Broadstock
6 months ago
Reply to  Cynan

Great point Cynan. How about we also restore the damage done in the 19th century. I have put up a series of videos about the Camlan you mention and the Arthurian connects on youtube. Here is one of the battlefield with a local druid. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI_74ud0ck0&t=216s

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