In the 1950s Professor E.W. Hofstee from the former department Sociology and Sociography developed a tool to create maps with statistical data of the Netherlands. You could consider this technique as a predecessor to today's GIS. The original puzzle frame and drawers with the puzzle pieces are still on display in the Leeuwenborch.
The cartophoot explained
Professor E.W. Hofstee (1909-1987), social geographer, developed the Cartophoot to easily create maps with statistical data because drawing maps was very time consuming. The Cartophoot was produced by Klaus Speelgoedindustrie, a Dutch toy factory in Bussum. The puzzle comprises a collection of different shaded puzzle pieces and a frame in the shape of the Netherlands.
In this video Anton Schuurman, Associate Professor of Rural and Environmental History at WUR, explains how the puzzle was used and why it was so unique. The Cartophoot, was a real innovation in scientific research in the 1950s. It can be seen as a predecessor to GIS (Geographic Information System).
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Cartograms in the Image Collections
A set of 500 cartograms and other images from the university’s former department of Sociology and Sociography can be found in the WUR Image Collections. The cartograms collection is a result of the scientific work of Professor E.W. Hofstee. The cartograms were created with the giant puzzle, the cartophoot.
We don't know how many cartophoots that the Klaus toy factory produced. We know that the Dutch Demographic Institute (NIDI) and the Central Bureau for Statistics both bought one. Have you ever seen one outside Wageningen or do you happen to know which institute also owns a cartophoot? Please let us know!