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Of Maps and Data

There is no rule saying that maps need to be flat. Or on paper. Maps can be just about anything. They can take any shape, size, or form. They can be drawn, printed, carved, built, traced, tattooed, remotely sensed, or exist completely in your head. They can be a snapshot of a moment in time or continuously updated.

Among the very first items acquired when the Library of Congress was founded in 1800, maps and atlases have always been an integral part of the Library’s collections. Growing from just three maps and one atlas to over six million maps and countless other cartographic formats, the Geography and Map Division now has the single largest (and most comprehensive) cartographic collection in the entire world.

With this blog, we invite you to broaden your conception of what a map is. We will highlight cartographic objects from our collections that sometimes go beyond what usually ends up in exhibits and in textbooks and bring to the forefront uncataloged objects that have never before been placed online. As our collections continue to grow and encompass new formats, such as GIS data and new digital mapping tools, we want share our latest finds and acquisitions with you.

Please join us as we explore the past, present, and future of mapping.

天下圖 (Map of all under heaven). Recto. Manuscript Map, Geography & Map Division, Library of Congress.

天下圖 (Map of all under heaven). Recto. Manuscript map, Geography & Map Division, Library of Congress.

6 Comments

  1. steffan christman
    November 5, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    why are all the maps for the most part hidden??? why is that ? 🙂 Thanks

  2. JJ Harbster
    November 5, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    I have a feeling that this is going to be my new favorite blog. So excited to learn and read more about maps, atlases, and the like. Cheers to the G&M team!

  3. Ian McKay
    November 6, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Glad to be here. I have already asked the Congressional Libraian about maps for the four fortified spaces in the area if the swamplands around Savannah, Ga.:

    >>Battery on Turner’s Rocks;
    >>Fort Lee;
    >>Battery on Causten’s Bluff;
    >>Bastion on the line of defense across Whitemarsh Island.

    I want to draw these four plans for my Topograpghical Civil War Unit.

  4. Francine
    December 3, 2015 at 1:12 am

    Hey – if you made this maps blog something that we could “follow” on facebook, a bunch of us map geeks would read, share, etc. It would be great for you and LoC as well. Please?

  5. Giuseppe Civitarese
    December 3, 2015 at 2:28 am

    A warm welcome from an appassionate LoC maps downloader (band paper globe designer)

  6. Teri
    January 13, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Francine, you can follow this blog using the RSS link (//blogs.loc.gov/maps/2015/11/of-maps-and-data/#locshare/subscribe) and then share posts as desired using the Share/Save button at the top.

    For more info on how to follow RSS feeds with your browser, visit http://feed.mikle.com/support/get-rss-feed-links-for-feedwind-from-your-browser/

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