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Our Next Generation

Who are the next generation of cartographers? What draws them to this part science, part artistic expression, part design discipline? Many cartographers of the past and those working today often talk about an early love for maps and how something about their graphic form drew them to the field. Some of the most famous mapmakers, […]

“Full of Bogs and Poisonous Fruits”: Early Maps of Florida

Florida: home to sunshine, oranges, spring breakers, and snowbirds. Or, in the words of the 16th century Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto: “full of bogs and poisonous fruits, barren, and the worst country that is warmed by the sun.” For over a hundred years, between Columbus’ initial contact in the Bahamas (1492) and the English […]

Computing Space 0: From Hypersurfaces to Algorithms: Saving Early Computer Cartography at the Library of Congress

Recently, the Geography and Map Division has undertaken a large scale project to collect manuscripts, technical information,  algorithms, software, and hardware from the earliest days of computer cartography. This project, which is being directed by the author, began as a series of lectures for graduate students that I gave at Johns Hopkins University on the […]

Digitizing 2.5 Million Maps: An Analyst’s View

Today’s guest post is from Mike Schoelen, a Post-Graduate GIS Research Fellow in the Geography and Map Division. This post was inspired by work on the Geographic Hotspot Dynamic Indexing Project and collaboration with Amanda Brioche, Erin Kelly, and Evan Neuwirth. Mike is a born and raised Marylander. After completing his undergraduate degree at Frostburg […]

James Wilson: America’s First Globemaker

At the age of 33, James Wilson (1763-1855) moved out of the log cabin he had built by hand, sold all the stock he possessed on his 100 acre farm, and managed to scrape together $130 in rural eighteenth century New Hampshire. And for what purpose? Wilson wanted to purchase all thirteen volumes of the […]

Mr. Dürer Comes to Washington

In  the cool summer of 1901,  a Jesuit priest named Joseph Fischer was searching through the small libraries found in the country houses and ancient castles of the old noble families that dot the German hinterlands. One day, in the tower of one of those castles, tucked deep into the forest outside the tiny village of Wolfegg, he happened upon a book that […]