Why Flying Turtle?

Why did you call yourselves that?

The name of the company is taken from a sea monster that can be found on medieval and renaissance maps. Given that one of our primary specialties is maps and spatial data, we thought that this would be a fitting name for us! At least you’re not likely to forget it…

The flying turtle has been seen on several maps from this period, with the earliest example being a map of Europe printed by Arnold Nicoli (1558), and other, later examples including Abraham Ortelius’ maps of Europe (1564) and Asia (1567); Thomasso Porcacchi’s map of Scotland (1572); Gerard Mercator’s map of Europe (1578); and Urbano Monte’s manuscript maps (1587 and 1590).

Apart from its obvious aesthetic charm, our favourite thing about the flying turtle is that it is now believed to have been the publisher’s mark from Nicoli’s publishing house, which was called ‘the sign of the turtle’. It is quite a pleasing thought that all of those subsequent cartographers, including some of the greatest names in the history of cartography, were unwittingly reproducing the logo of a competitor!

Tramezini's 1558 Flying Turtle
Mercator's 1578 Flying Turtle