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19th Century Colonization and Slavery in Charles Minard’s Flow Maps

Flow maps are characterized by representing direction and amount of movement between an origin and a destination – and Charles Joseph Minard is widely regarded as the first cartographer who mastered the art of the flow map.  He is best known for his flow map of Napolean’s 1812 invasion of Russia titled “Carte figurative des […]

From Telegrams to Weather Apps: A Brief History of Wind Mapping

Today it’s easy to check the weather without even leaving the house: hourly predictions for rain, wind, temperature, and humidity are available to most of us through our phones at the touch of a button. Warnings for severe weather flash across our screens to help keep us safe – but how did we get here? […]

New Fire Insurance Map Research Guide Available

The most heavily used collection in the Geography and Map Division are the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, a collection of large-scale, building level maps, dating from 1867 to the present which depict the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of some 12,000 cities and towns in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Sanborn collection includes about […]

Getting A Bird’s Eye View

This is a guest post by Robert Morris, Acquisitions Specialist in the Geography and Map Division. The Geography and Map Division’s (G&M) collection of panoramic maps portray U.S. and Canadian cities and towns as if viewed from a few thousand feet above at an oblique angle. Bird’s-eye views, perspective maps, and aerial views are other […]

Cartography of Contagion

Originally published in 1874, these maps of the eastern half of the United States were designed to show the distribution of diseases including typhoid, malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and rheumatism that affected the US population. The maps were published by L.H. Carney, M.D., but we find no biographical data on the author.  Medical data (in the […]

A Rare Russian Plan of Dalian

In 1898 Tsarist Russia wrested from China a long-term lease for Port Arthur (Lushun), its new-found warm-water port on the east coast restricted to use by the Russian navy.  Under pressure from Great Britain and Germany, two other European powers with concessions in China, Russia agreed to establish an open port on the southern tip […]