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New Story Maps Published!

We are excited to announce the launch of two new Library of Congress Story Maps!

At the beginning of May, the Library of Congress launched Story Maps, interactive and immersive web applications that tell the incredible stories of the Library’s collections. Created within a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based software platform created by Esri, Story Maps combine text, images, multimedia, and interactive maps to create engaging online narrative experiences. This new program provides a unique opportunity to pull together materials from all corners of the Library and to give voice to stories within the collections. Adding to the original three applications that were published, two new Story Maps are now available, based on the collections and work of the Geography and Map Division and the Law Library of Congress.

Maps That Changed Our World
Julie Stoner, Rodney Hardy, and Craig Bryant, Geography and Map Division

Alongside Rodney Hardy and Craig Bryant, I was part of the Geography and Map Division’s work to produce “Maps That Changed Our World,” an exploration of world maps through history. I have always been captivated by world maps and seeing how they have changed over the centuries. Starting with the first world map, maps of the world have a tremendous influence on how people and societies view themselves and their place in the world. The map collections at the Library of Congress contain thousands of examples of world maps created over the centuries and each can tell a story. These maps, chosen from the Library’s collection, illustrate specific points when there was a distinct shift in how the world was visualized and which ultimately lead to how we see the world today.

Screenshot of excerpt from “Maps that Changed Our World” Story Map by Julie Stoner, Rodney Hardy and Craig Bryant, Geography and Map Division, 2018. Map in Ptolemy atlas, Cosmographia translated by Jacopo d’Angelo and edited by Nicolaus Germanus, 1482.

The story begins with Greek scholar Claudius Ptolemy’s map of the world, first conceived in 150 AD in his textbook, entitled the Geography. Ptolemy’s book provided a list of over 8,000 locations known to Greco-Roman civilization, centered on the Mediterranean. Later, in the 15th century, maps of his world were recreated using his original text, perhaps most notably including Jacopo D’Angelo and Nicolaus Germanus’s 1482 reproduction, shown here. It continues with a discussion of maps from the Middle Ages, the 17th and 18th centuries, and then concludes with the present day.

Screenshot of excerpt from “Maps that Changed Our World” Story Map by Julie Stoner, Geography and Map Division, 2018. Map is Universalis cosmographia secundum Ptholomaei traditionem et Americi Vespucii alioru[m]que lustrationes, 1507, by Martin Waldseemuller.

Screenshot of excerpt from “Maps that Changed Our World” Story Map by Julie Stoner, Rodney Hardy and Craig Bryant, Geography and Map Division, 2018. Map is Universalis cosmographia secundum Ptholomaei traditionem et Americi Vespucii alioru[m]que lustrationes, 1507, by Martin Waldseemuller.

A Treasure Trove of Trials
Francisco Macías, Law Library of Congress

In his Story Map “A Treasure Trove of Trials,” Francisco Macías, a Senior Legal Information Analyst in the Law Library of Congress, explores the Law Library’s fascinating digitized collection of documents pertaining to piracy trials in the United States and Europe between the late 17th century and the turn of the 20th century. This story showcases colorful highlights of the collection, including dramatic accounts of pirate convictions and the trials of women pirates. An interactive map shows readers where some of these cases were tried and provides links to individual primary sources. The bibliography includes other sources of interest from throughout the Library on the topics of piracy and notable women who took up the male-dominated calling.

Screenshot of excerpt from “A Treasure Trove of Trials” Story Map by Francisco Macias, Law Library of Congress, 2018. Engraving is Blackbeard the pirate, 1725, by B. Cole.

Screenshot of excerpt from “A Treasure Trove of Trials” Story Map by Francisco Macias, Law Library of Congress, 2018. Engraving is Blackbeard the pirate, 1725, by B. Cole.

The versatility of Story Maps to tell a variety of stories will help expand the Library’s mission and vision in the coming years. You can find all Library of Congress Story Maps at loc.gov/storymaps.

The First Isothermic World Maps

The following post is by Mike Klein, a reference specialist in the Geography and Map Division. Called the “father of temperature mapping,” the renowned German naturalist and climatologist, Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) devised the concept of the isotherm, which he described in 1816 as a “curve drawn through points on a globe which receive an […]

Places in Civil War History: Pivotal Virginia Battles, By Land and Sea

This is part of a series of posts from Ed Redmond, Cartographic Specialist in the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, documenting the cartographic history of maps related to the American Civil War, 1861-1865. The posts will appear on a regular basis. One of the most iconic naval battles of the Civil War was […]

The President’s Globe

The following post is by Ryan Moore, a cartographic specialist in the Geography and Map Division. The “President’s Globe” is big — really big and important. Weighing in at a whopping 750 pounds and sized at an impressive 50 inches in diameter, the globe was specially designed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt for use during […]

The Codex Quetzalecatzin comes to the Library of Congress

Writing is a strange invention. One might suppose that its emergence could not fail to bring profound changes in the conditions of human existence…                                                                           –Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques Time and money are spent in collecting the remains […]

The Amphibious Landing Maps of William Bostick

The following guest post is by Ryan Moore, a cartographic specialist in the Geography and Map Division. William A. Bostick was an artist whose talents were utilized in the Second World War to help create chart-maps for the invasions of Sicily and Normandy. After the war, Bostick had a successful career as an artist and […]

Places in Civil War History: Aerial Reconnaissance and Map Marketing

This is part of a series of guest posts from Ed Redmond, Cartographic Specialist in the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, documenting the cartographic history of maps related to the American Civil War, 1861-1865. The posts will appear on a regular basis. Aerial reconnaissance was first used in 1861 by the War Department […]

Grafton Tyler Brown, Trailblazing Cartographer of the American West

Historically, “cartographer” has commonly been a profession wearing many hats: artist, craftsman, communicator, documentarian, entrepreneur, and pioneer (among many others). To celebrate cartographers who embraced these multitudes of roles to achieve success, it is worth remembering their stories. Today, we recognize Grafton Tyler Brown, a trailblazing African American cartographer of the Pacific Northwest. Brown was […]