DC Public Library Adds Historic Maps to Online Portal

platte-grond-washington
Platte grond van de stad Washington, 1793. Printed map, 8¾″×11″. DC Public Library, Special Collections, Washingtoniana Map Collection.

Last week, DC Public Library announced “the release of a century of historic Washington, D.C. maps in Dig DC, the online portal to DCPL Special Collections. These maps cover the District of Columbia and the region from the 1760s to the Civil War. To see them, head on over to the Maps: City & Regional collection on Dig DC!” Of the 8,000 or so maps in the library’s Washingtoniana Map Collection, 250 have been digitized so far; they’re working on scanning the entire collection. [via]

‘Keep Your Hands Off My Gazetteer’

DeLorme publishes other state atlases and gazetteers, but the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer is the one that started it all, the one Mainers rely on heavily, the one they’re worried might disappear now that DeLorme’s been bought by Garmin. Hence screeds like Troy Bennett’s (I should warn you, there are song lyrics):

Is there any other publication so complete, showing roads, trails, campgrounds, public reserve land, rivers, coves, islands and city streets? Am I the only one who didn’t know what an esker was before they picked up a Gazetteer? I doubt it.

If the new owners kill the map that helps define the state, what will happen to us? How will we know the Crocker Cirque even exists, let alone how to find it. (Map 29, D3, by the way.)

So, I’m looking at you, Garmin, out there in Kansas: Keep your hands off my Gazetteer.

Of course, nothing’s happened yet, and nothing may necessarily happen, but Maine losing the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer would be like London losing the A to Z or Winnipeg the Sherlock atlas: paper maps that are local, idiosyncratic, and essential. [via]

Previously: Maine Reacts to DeLorme’s Acquisition by Garmin.

Vintage Map Postcards and Stickers

cavallini-tins

Cavallini and Company is a stationery and gifts company that uses vintage imagery from the 19th and 20th centuries in its products, including botanical drawings, travel posters—and maps. There are map calendars, file folders, pencil cases, notebooks, magnets and wrapping papers, among many other items. You’ll often find them in stationery and map stores.

This month I decided to participate (at least a little) in A Month of Letters, and for that I needed to restock my stationery supply. Since I’m known to have a thing about maps, I figured I’d try out two of Cavallini’s products: their vintage map postcards and their vintage map stickers. Both come in metal tins that feel retro in and of themselves.

Continue reading “Vintage Map Postcards and Stickers”

Mapping Pluto’s Geology

pluto-geology
Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI.

New Horizons mission scientists have created a geological map of a portion of Pluto’s terrain. “This map covers a portion of Pluto’s surface that measures 1,290 miles (2,070 kilometers) from top to bottom, and includes the vast nitrogen-ice plain informally named Sputnik Planum and surrounding terrain. As the key in the figure below indicates, the map is overlaid with colors that represent different geological terrains. Each terrain, or unit, is defined by its texture and morphology—smooth, pitted, craggy, hummocky or ridged, for example. How well a unit can be defined depends on the resolution of the images that cover it. All of the terrain in this map has been imaged at a resolution of approximately 1,050 feet (320 meters) per pixel or better, meaning scientists can map units with relative confidence.”

pluto-geology-key
Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI.

U.S. Coast Guard Okays Electronic Charts

In a circular distributed earlier this month (PDF), the U.S. Coast Guard sets out rules allowing mariners to use electronic charts instead of paper charts to fulfil the requirements of keeping charts on board a vessel.  “Due to the current state of technology, the Coast Guard believes that official electronic charts provide substantially more information to the mariner, and therefore may enhance navigational safety beyond that of official paper charts.” Commenters on the Practical Sailor’s Facebook page are by and large skeptical. [via]

Mitchell’s New General Atlas (1860)

mitchells-general-atlas

mitchells-coverA facsimile of Mitchell’s New General Atlas, first published in 1860 by August Mitchell Jr. with hand-coloured maps, is now available from Schiffer Publishing. “This reproduction of Mitchell’s New General Atlas restores all 76 maps from the original plus its 26 pages of geological, statistical, and geographic information from 1860. Included are intriguing looks at the political boundaries of the United States at the outbreak of the Civil War, as well as maps of other countries and regions that look vastly different today.” Press release. [via] Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)

A 19th-Century Tactile Map

L. R. Klemm, Relief Practice Map: Roman Empire (New York, 1894), 29 × 32 cm. Scale 1:20,000,000. The Library of Virginia.

L. R. Klemm’s Relief Practice Map: Roman Empire (above) is an example of the printed tactile maps used to teach sighted and blind students alike during the nineteenth century. [via]

Most of the maps for blind and visually impaired users I’ve encountered to date are of modern provenance. Previously on The Map RoomJoshua Miele’s Tactile MapsA View of Prague for the BlindVirtual 3D Maps for the BlindMaps for the Visually ImpairedMaps and Directions for the BlindOnline Maps for the Visually Impaired.

DCRM(C)

The Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Cartographic), available as a PDF file (direct link), “provides instructions for cataloging rare cartographic materials, that is, cartographic materials of any age or type of production receiving special treatment within a repository.” This is a substantial, technical document (364 pages), mainly of interest to librarians with rare and old maps under their care.

With an increased focus on the security of rare cartographic materials, DCRM(C) addresses the need for a stand-alone set of rules that covers the treatment of atlases, maps, and globes, both printed and manuscript, including the analysis of cartographic works in books or other resources, and can be used by any institution that houses these materials. The creation of a standard eliminates the need for each institution to develop extensive local practices for the treatment of rare cartographic works, and makes it possible for institutions with smaller collections to benefit from both the sophisticated tradition of rare materials cataloging and the awareness of the cartographic community of the particular qualities of our materials.

[via]

Copper Plates Used to Make Topo Maps on Display

msu-copper-plate

The Michigan State University Map Library now has on display three copper plates used to make the 1912 USGS topographic map of the Lansing, Michigan area. “From the 1880s to the 1950s, the U.S. Geological Survey used engraved copper plates in the process of printing topographic and geographic quadrangle maps. Copper alloy engraving plates were inscribed with a mirror image of the points, contour lines, symbols, and text that constitute a topographic map. Each plate was inscribed with details for a single color of ink.” [via]

Maine Reacts to DeLorme’s Acquisition by Garmin

Local Maine media is reacting to the news that Garmin is buying DeLorme, which is based in Yarmouth. Here’s coverage from the Portland Press Herald, which notes that the Maine headquarters will be maintained, but the map store will close. (Eartha will continue to be open to the public.) There is no news about the future of DeLorme’s Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, the paper-based product that started DeLorme off in 1976, which is worrying the Bangor Daily News’s outdoors editor John Holyoke.

The Ordnance Survey’s Map Return Scheme

The Ordnance Survey is currently running a map return scheme, in which customers send in their old maps in return for a voucher up to £15. It runs until March 20, but they’ve already received 9,000 maps so far. (A similar scheme in 2014 yielded 10,000 maps in total.) Some of the maps returned date back to the early 1900s. (I hope the OS makes sure they’ve got a complete set of everything; it wouldn’t do to give away the the last copy of an obscure older edition for an art project. If nothing else there’s an opportunity for a crowdsourced archive here.)