The Fundación Luis Giménez Lorente is part of the Polytechnical University of Valencia. It has cartographic collections of cardinal importance for the University community and the public in general. The real value of these original collections consists of their size and preservation, and that they show the quality of the cartographic abilities of all the producing countries between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries, since all the schools that took part are represented, the Flemish/Dutch, the French, the Italian, and the Spanish productions along with some English and German. We count for that reason on two complete original collections, the Valencia collection between sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, and the Spanish regional collection between sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.
To complete the cartographic archive, it also has a comprehensive collection of high quality facsimiles of atlases and nautical charts called Portolan charts between the thirteenth to the sixteen centuries, that we tried to extend insofar as it is possible thanks to the annual grant contributed by the Polytechnical University of Valencia. To sum up, the collections consist of 24 atlases, 90 maps of the world, 170 printed maps and 80 navigation charts.
Another important part of our collections is the referred one to the bibliochalcographic material, made up of original works, facsimiles and reproductions with more than one thousand engravings, laminae and books specialized in cartography, history and pharmacy, among them the original Valencian Pharmacopoeia of 1601.
It is possible to honor one of the discoveries of D. Luis Giménez Lorente, a beautiful portulan chart signed by Joan Martines in Messina in 1570, and that finally was declared Asset of Cultural Interest in 2002 and that it has served as image in the International Congress on Engineering in Geomatics and Surveying- Top-Cart `08 - celebrated between the 18th and the 21st of February 2008 in Valencia.
Such appreciated collections, as much by their individual value, but much more as a whole, by their incalculable cultural and historical value, they were transferred in 2003 to the Fundación Luis Giménez Lorente of the Valencian Community by an Agreement in which the Polytechnical University of Valencia by means of this Foundation was committed to guard them, to maintain them in their integrity, to increase them, to spread them and to foment their study and investigation.
ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT BY THE FOUNDATION:
From the reception of the collection, the foundation has not moved backwards in its persistence to carry out activities directed to the diffusion and the promotion of the study of these. Not in vain, one of the most important by its repercussion is that for the first time in the Valencian Community since the Academic Year 2006-2007 it is taught History of Cartographic Engineering and Historical Cartography in regulated teaching, as free election credits, in the premises of the Foundation and within the Official Curriculum of Superior Geodesic Engineer, fifth course. For that, in September 2008, the manual was written that serves as basis for the subject that is taught in the premises of the Foundation, called "Compendium of History of Cartographic Engineering". Aiming our old engineering history to be taught, because it is precise to explain the efforts of scientists, technicians and professionals of the western world who frequently in extreme circumstances made the progress of their specialty possible and served to the development of our culture and civilization and through them to the whole Humanity. In our opinion this must be inescapable in Universities and in Surveying and Geodesic Engineering Schools which have the right and duty of knowing and teaching their History.
And prior to this publication, in February 2008 the catalog of all the available collections "The Collection Giménez Lorente. Study and catalog" went ahead with the external collaboration of two specialists in Art, the University Professor in Fine Arts Margarita Ordeig Corsini and Mª del Mar Quesada Ordeig Bachelor Degree in Art History, whose help was fundamental to complete the study of the collections.
We now went back at the time of the reception of the collections in the premises of the Fundación Luis Giménez Lorente, around the year 2004, and the first carried out action consisted of adapting the facilities where the original historical documents were going to be lodged. For that a curator pertaining to the Archivo del Reino de Valencia (the Kingdom of Valencia Record Office) realized a study of the hygrometric conditions, of necessary temperature and illumination for the optimal conservation of the collections, that were adopted immediately.
Once the preparation of the premises was settled, the following step is aimed to the preservation of original cartographic pieces. They are to be capsulated in 100 micron Melinex films cut in "L" to allow ventilation. Their vertical positioning in closets with fireproof properties, maintains them free of the pressure produced by the weight in case of horizontal piling.
Once solved the question of the safeguard, the project of digitalization of the cartographic pieces starts, considering the directives for the planning of a digitalization project elaborated by IFLA and ICA (International Council on Archives) for the UNESCO.
Our aim, the characteristics of this collection, was the production of facsimilae from the original documents, using a 300 ppp resolution as it was carried out in the Spanish National Library. The products of this digitalization are TIFF master files that are stored as backups.
To that effect we needed a scanner that was adapted to our needs. This one was a zenithal flat scanner that was able to offer up to 800 ppp resolution and A0 size, special for planes.
From these great resolution master files, others in JPEG with smaller resolution for a more comfortable use are created.
In order to do that, the student pertaining to the school of Cartography Ignacio del Moral, made a Matlab programming which created five levels in descendant resolution, 150, 100, 75, 60 and 50 ppp, whose work was paid by means of free election credits. To get these images usable in publications, texts etc, they were processed through a digital adjustment image program, in our case Adobe Photoshop CS, to eliminate the backgrounds of the images and to control their aspect.
For the facsimilae reproduction issue, controlling the colour of the pieces was vital, as much in the input devices as in those of reproduction, arduous task, for which we counted on the Final Project for the major of a topography student and his project advisor.
Once the copies from the original ones went ahead, the following step that we had was the adjustment of an exhibition area to show cartographic works as a permanent display open to the public, something that has not been able to carry out yet for lack of personnel. Finally it was inaugurated on 13th November 2007. Up to now the exhibition only can visited under previous request.
It has been created in the Real Academy of Valencian Culture (RACV) a section of Cartographic Engineering and Geography in which the Foundation participates actively:
- In February 2008, the Foundation took its permanent display along with high quality facsimile editions of diverse maps and world-wide historical relevance atlases to the premises of the Real Academy of Valencian Culture, on the occasion of the celebration of the International Congress of Geomatic and Surveying (TOPCART) that was celebrated in February 2008 in Valencia and that was sponsored by the Real Academy of Valencian Culture, the Polytechnical University of Valencia and the Illustrious Technical Engineers in Topography Association.
- During the week from the 9th to the 13th of March 2009 it took place a season of conferences that took by title "Around Cartographic Engineering and its History", initiative that started from the Geodesy and Cartography School of the Polytechnical University along with the RACV. One of these conferences, entitled "Engineering in the Mediterranean from the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century: Instrumentation and Techniques for Surveying", was given by staff of the foundation.
In the present year the project of inclusion of historical cartography in the digital repository of our Polytechnical University of Valencia Riunet in collaboration with the Central Library is being carried out, and we will participate as well from the University Library of the Polytechnical University in Europeana (Network of digital collections) convened by the National Library of Spain.