Create your own map in a new museum

What would it look like if the powers that created our planet had modern computer technologies at their disposal?

Create the landscape with your own handsCreate the landscape with your own hands (Source: Slovak Museum of Maps )

The Slovak Museum of Maps opened its doors in May 2018 in the village of Kynceľová, close to Banská Bystrica. As the name suggests, you can discover interesting facts on the history of mapping and get to know various types and forms of maps. Its founders have opted for interactivity, playfulness and modern technologies, which enable visitors to be more than just passive observers during the tour.

They can become actively involved and try modern and traditional methods of making maps, look through a theodolite lens at the work of a geodesist, or try to form their own relief map of a landscape.

Since its establishment, the museum has focused mainly on child visitors, groups of students of elementary and secondary schools, and children’s camps, while families with children of all age categories will find something that interests them here. The youngest children can complete the maps with crayons, the older ones can become professional cartographers and make a real map on a computer. Expositions lead visitors from the well-known information and knowledge of maps toward new discoveries.

What would it look like if the powers that created our planet had modern computer technologies at their disposal? You can see and experience this with the Augmented Reality Sandbox – the most famous attraction and main lure of the Slovak Museum of Maps. You create the landscape with your own hands, according to your imagination, and watch how it creates colours of its own to morph into a real looking map according to altitude. The hilltops fade, plateaus turn brown and yellow, and valleys grow green in front of your eyes. Your movements are accurately followed by moving contour lines. Do you want to see how water sneaks its way through river basins and fills the earth cavities? Create them, and admire their magic, just like professional researchers around the globe often do, thanks to such models.

Right next door, you can see another demonstration of modern technology with the original geodetic drone. You can also learn how and with what land surveyors worked with before the drone flew into their profession. It looks similar in the cartography exposition where, alongside current map software, you can also find tools with which maps were prepared, both recently and in old times. You can even use the hand tools provided to try drawing a map of your own.

The history of the Military Institute of Cartography, the oldest, biggest and most famous Slovak producer of maps, has its place in Kynceľová, too. Here, you’ll jump back in time to the turbulent years of the 20th century, from the foundation of the former Czechoslovakia to its dramatic split during World War II and post-war rebirth, to great changes before the end of millennium. Maybe you will be surprised by what impacted the birth of modern Slovak cartography, the development of modern mapping, and the turbulent fates of our cartographers.

Of course, the museum cannot leave out the creation of painted maps. The CBS spol, s. r. o. company, which is the museum’s founder, produces the biggest number of them in all of Europe, and will surprise you with the inner workings of their production.

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