Bantu MapMaker version 3.1

copyright 1996
John B. Lowe, University of California, Berkeley
Thilo C. Schadeberg, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, The Netherlands


BMM is a Hypercard stack which allows you to "color" or "mark" maps. As provided, BMM comes with maps of Africa and an inventory of about 500 Bantu languages names with their locations. By pointing and clicking, you can tell the program to color in various (linguistic) regions of Bantu-speaking Africa according to your needs. You can also control the coloring of the map using external files. So, for example, if you wanted to make a map in which languages having a particular attributes were colored according to a certain color scheme, you could provide the program with a text file listing the languages and their attributes, and the map would be generated. The resulting Maps may be copied to the Clipboard and pasted into documents as bitmap images.

BMM is a "stand-alone" Apple Macintosh application developed with HyperCard version 2.2. You do not need the HyperCard programme to run BMM. To see the full window of BMM you need a somewhat larger screen than is standard for most types of Macintosh. However, BMM works on any type of Macintosh that we have tried. (we have only worked with system 7.1 and higher).

You may

BMM is provided with two basic maps: a language map and a geographical map. The language map is based on the original "Tervuren Map" (1967). Multiple alterations (hopefully improvements) have been made to this map. We would like to acknowledge the help of the "Linguistic Service" of the Royal Museum for Central Africa at Tervuren, Belgium, for permission to use their map as well as for help and advice.


BMM v3.1 is the latest in a series of Hypercard stacks developed for making linguistic maps, particularly those of the bantu area. Version 1.0, created by Prof. Thilo C. Schadeberg, was released in April 1995. BMM1 provided the "basic" mapmaking functions needed to easily make linguistic maps of the Bantu area which would be suitable for publications and presentations, including: Dr. John B. Lowe, building on these basic functions, incorporated code that he developed at CBOLD in support of linguistic cartography. He revised the stack substantially during the next several months, and created a new version, 1.1 beta, which provided a number of new features: Prof. Schadeberg continued the development process and, based in part on version 1.1 beta, released in May 1996 a much improved version 3.0, with additional features including: Version 3.1, incorporating a number of minor improvements by Prof. Schadeberg was released in January 1997. It differs from version 3.0 in the following points: BMM is specifically geared for Bantu languages, but the programme could easily be adapted for other language groups. It "only" needs a different map (or pair of maps), and a new inventory of languages with coordinates. If you are interested in adapting BMM for a different language map, let us know and we can work something out.

Comments and suggestions are welcome. We will try to repair bugs as quickly as possible

Please use and distribute BMM freely for research purposes; if you use BMM in preparing a publication, please cite it as follows ("nnn" below stands for the version of the program you used):

John B. Lowe and Thilo C. Schadeberg. 1996. Bantu MapMaker [version nnn] (computer program). Berkeley and Leiden.

(and the authors would appreciate an offprint). Any commercial use of this program requires a written license.

John B. Lowe.
Thilo C. Schadeberg. schaberg@RULCRI.LeidenUniv.NL


Bantu MapMaker 3 is a tool for displaying the geographical distribution of primarily linguistic features of Bantu languages. It provides two basic maps:

The two maps are congruent. They have been adapted for this purpose from the map known as "Tervuren 1967", using information from older and from more modern sources. The maps are as accurate as has been possible, given the limitations of knowledge and technology. The resolution of the maps is the same as that of the Macintosh screen (72 dots per inch), and no higher resolution can be achieved in printing.

BMM has an internal database (called "Main Inventory") with over 500 names of Bantu languages, dialects and language groups; about 450 of these have associated coordinates referring to mapped areas or to points. (Language names and coordinates may be changed and new languages may be added by the user.)

The user may copy one of the two basic maps and mark languages. There are two types of markings: Patterns and Symbols. Patterns are only appropriate for the basic map "Languages", and only for languages which have a designated area. Symbols can be used on either basic map, and for languages with and without and area. All marks added to a map are stored in a map-specific subinventory. The subinventory can be edited and manipulated. It is also possible to merge the subinventories of two maps and thus create composite maps.

BMM allows the user to import a database which contains the information to be represented. BMM also has a (simple) facility to create legends.

Maps and legends can be copied to the clipboard from where they can be imported into programmes such as Microsoft Word. Maps and legends can also be exported to (graphic) files or printed directly.

This short manual deals with the following subjects:

  1. Move around in MapMaker -- the GO menu
  2. Do things with maps -- the upper MAP menu
  3. Mark languages -- the EDIT menu
  4. The map-specific subinventory -- the lower MAP menu
  5. The main inventory -- the INVENTORY menu
  6. Use a database -- the DATABASE menu
  7. The legend -- the LEGEND menu
  8. Save, Export, Print and Quit -- the FILE menu
  9. About the distribution disk