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.