Grand Pré company’s maps travel the world

Wendy Elliott welliott@kingscountynews.ca
Published on August 25, 2015

Cartographer Marcel Morin, an Acadian living in Grand Pré, has had three of his maps recognized internationally. He stands beside one at the visitors’ centre.

©Wendy Elliott

Grand Pré - A small Grand Pré company is being recognized in a big way for putting some Nova Scotia heritage sites on the map.

Three of Lost Art Cartography's maps have been chosen by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) to be featured in its annual map book. The map book recognizes important and innovative accomplishments of geographic information system (GIS) users around the world.

"The maps show McNabs Island, The Landscape of Grand Pré World Heritage Site and The Tides of Grand Pré to a large international audience," said Marcel Morin, president of Lost Art Cartography.

"The Esri Map Book is an important collection of maps for GIS users, cartographers, collectors, and map libraries,” he added. “We're thrilled to be included. It's great exposure for our work - and for Nova Scotia."

The three maps were selected from over 1,100 submissions from around the world, according to Morin. He noted that only a handful of maps are selected by the California-based institute to show how GIS technology helps evaluate the sustainability of resources, determine efficient transportation routes and mitigate the effects of natural disasters.

The same three maps have also been selected to represent Canada at the International Cartographic Conference, a major industry event being held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Aug. 23-28.

 "We congratulate Lost Art Cartography on its great achievements and global recognition," says Cathy McCarthy, president of the Friends of McNabs Island Society. "We know this highly detailed map has really improved visitor experience on McNabs Island. It looks beautiful and helps them understand the historical, cultural and natural history of this beautiful island.”

Lost Art Cartography

Lost Art Cartography has been providing clients across North America with cartography, GIS, graphic design and consulting services for large-scale map installations, architectural works, signage, interpretation and way finding projects since 2007.

Morin trained at the College of Geographic Sciences (NSCC) in Lawrencetown and returned to Maritimes after 15 years working for a forestry consultant in Vancouver.

The firm has considerable expertise in traditional use mapping for First Nations and Metis communities, Morin said.

It has undertaken major cartographic projects for the Pimachiowin Aki, a UNESCO nomination site comprised of five First Nations located in the boreal forest of Ontario and Manitoba; the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg, Manitoba; SC Johnson’s Fortaleza Hall, Racine, Wisconsin; and Eaton Experience Center, Cleveland, Ohio.

The company was responsible for the recently installed interpretation, way finding and location signs in the first phase of signage within the Landscape of Grand Pré World Heritage Site.

 This first map for the new UNESCO site was challenging, Morin said, but clearly demonstrates the fascinating field patterns that continue despite modern agriculture practice.

The map, he said, has proven to be a valuable and fascinating first step in helping visitors and residents understand the unique geography of this UNESCO site.

The second map showing the Tides of Grand Pré offers a unique series of perspective views and applies lidar data and ortho imagery to demonstrate the impact of the massive tides of the Bay of Fundy surrounding and always affecting the landmass of the Landscape of Grand Pré. 

McNabs Island

The third map that was selected shows McNabs Island at the entrance to Halifax Harbour. This 372-hectare natural environment park is steeped in history, but is only a short boat ride from Halifax.

The map was commissioned by the Friends of McNabs Island Society. The orientation map is one component of a welcome kiosk that combines a series of five themed interpretive panels.

This first-ever map presented distinct challenges, Morin said. It also had to be convertible from its large, static display format to interactive versions on the society’s website as well as a smartphone app for users’ self-guided tours.

Notably, he pointed out, the map is colour-coded with icons that readily highlight distinct island features by category- lighthouses, fortifications, prior settlements, natural landmarks and recreational possibilities.

The Environmental Systems Research Institute was founded in 1969 as a land-use consulting firm. Published annually since 1984, the Esri Map Book acknowledges the important and innovative accomplishments of GIS users around the world.