is a digital collection of historical maps of Iceland put online in high quality pdf-files and jpegs by the National Library of Iceland. Here are a few of my favorites: 1
. You can either browse a timeline of all the maps or browse categories such as first maps of Iceland
, Iceland on sea charts in the 17th and 18th centuries
and other maps
, which includes maps of Frisland (1
), a phantom island that bedeviled cartographers for centuries
Forty maps that explain the Middle East.
Includes sections on Middle East history, the region today, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and oil, Iraq and Libya, and "points of light." [more inside]
Africa Might Not Look Like You Think It Does
There is no such thing as an objective map. This was true of cave paintings, Roman tapestries, and colonialists' charts of Africa. It is also true of Google Maps.
The New York Public Library has released more than 20,000 high resolution cartographic works (maps!) for free
, to view and download. "We believe these maps have no known US copyright restrictions." All can be viewed through the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections page
and downloaded through their Map Warper
. (Via) [more inside]
How the north ended up on top of the map
is an article by Nick Danforth, author/curator of (The/Mid) Afternoon Map blog
, detailing how the north-up orientation came to be the default orientation, looking beyond Eurocentrism to Byzantine monks and Majorcan Jews who set the path for modern cartography. If you want more information, you might enjoy the Wikipedia article on the history of cartography
, or you can really dig deep with the three-volume text, The History of Cartography
, which is available in full from the University of Chicago Press online, split into individual PDFs for each chapter. [more inside]
Here you will find one of the greatest historical atlases: Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright's Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932. This digital edition reproduces all of the atlas's nearly 700 maps. Many of these beautiful maps are enhanced here in ways impossible in print, animated to show change over time or made clickable to view the underlying data—remarkable maps produced eight decades ago with the functionality of the twenty-first century
of maps of America. Includes killing frost dates
from 1911, Hog production circa 1860
of Western Exploration and many more.
Springsteen in the USA: 40 years of Touring as a Study in Spatial Diffusion
"As a geographer, 1500+ shows over 40 years is an opportunity to map...how phenomenons such as innovation, fashion, or disease spread geographically. Except in this case the contagion is rock ‘n roll."
Free PDFs of The History of Cartography
, vol. 1 and 2, from University of Chicago Press.
MAP OF THE SQUARE AND STATIONARY EARTH. Send 25 Cents to the Author, Prof. Orlando Ferguson,
for a book explaining this Square and Stationary Earth. It Knocks the Globe Theory Clean Out. It will Teach You How to Foretell Eclipses. It is Worth Its Weight in Gold.
was a scholar of the 17th Century who produced one of the most famous cosmological atlases of all time, Harmonia Macrocosmica, featuring 29 beautiful plates
(large, high-quality scans), illustrating various aspects of the Universe as understood by the Western science of his time. It's impossible to pick favorites among them, but here are three examples: Phases of the Moon
, Sizes of the Celestial Bodies
and Stars and Constellations of the Northern Sky
contains a surprisingly large database of aerial photography dating back to the dawn of aviation, with a Google-Maps-like interface. [more inside]
Mapping the Republic of Letters
is a cartographic tool designed by students and professors at Stanford that seeks to represent the Enlightenment era Republic of Letters, the network of correspondence between the finest thinkers of the day, such as Voltaire, Leibniz, Rousseau, Newton, Diderot, Linnaeus, Franklin and countless others. Patricia Cohen wrote an article about Mapping the Republic of Letters as well as other datamining digital humanities projects
in The New York Times. The mapping tool is fun to play with but I recommend you read the blogpost where Cohen explains how to use Mapping the Republic of Letters
is a blog by Ben Breen, a graduate student of early modern history, which styles itself "a compendium of obscure things." Indeed, even the asides are full of wonder, such as the one about Boy, the famous Royalist war poodle of the English Civil War, which is but a short addendum to a post about witches' familiars
. Here are some of my favorite posts, Pirate Surgeon in Panama
(and a related post about 18th Century Jamaica
), vanished civilizations
, asemic pseudo-Arabic and -Hebrew writing in Renaissance art
, and a series of posts about the way the Chinese and Japanese understood the world outside Asia in the early modern period (Europeans as 'Other'
, Europeans as 'Other,' Redux
and Early Chinese World Maps
The Atlas of True Names
reveals the etymological roots, or original meanings, of the familiar terms on today's maps of the World, Europe, the British Isles and the United States. For example, Britain = Great Land of the Tattooed, New Jersey = New Island of Spears, and Chicago = Stink Onion. There's now an iPhone app
. However, at least one linguistic historian takes issue
with some of their methodology. Mefi's own languagehat responds
is an interactive map system for the bible, which is great for visualising where certain biblical events are said to have occured. It's also great for people who don't subscribe to any kind of organised religion but do like looking at maps (like me!).
Have you ever wondered what New York was like before it was a city? Find out at The Mannahatta Project
, by navigating through the map to discover Manhattan Island and its native wildlife in 1609. [more inside]
John Henry Wilbrandt Stuckenberg
emigrated from Germany to the United States, where he was eventually a Chaplain in the American Civil War. He also really liked maps; in the course of traveling over his lifetime, he collected hundreds of maps
, some dating back to the 16th century. [Most maps in Latin]
Physicist Howard Wiseman has a hobby, history
. On his website he has three history subsites, filled with lots of information: 1) Ruin and Conquest of Britain
2) 18 Centuries of Roman Empire
3) Twenty Centuries of "British" "Empires"
. Especially informative are his many maps. As he says himself: "Drawing historical maps of all sorts has been a hobby of mine since my mid teens. Now I can do it digitally, and inflict it upon the world!"
Canada at scale:
Exploration, colonization and development. And a pop-up menu. Go, eh!
Northwestern University hosts a fine collection of historic East African photographs
, viewable as sample sets
or in their original photo-albums (requires flash)
. But the real prize is their wonderful collection of 113 historic maps of Africa
, which are zoomable to incredible detail
, also 1
For anyone with even a passing interest in Islamic history or cartography, 'The Book of Curiosities of the Sciences and Marvels for the Eyes'
site at Oxford University's Bodleian Library will provide a thoroughly interesting timesink. This recently discovered 13th/14th century copy of an 11th century Egyptian manuscript was partly based on Ptolemy and includes the oldest rectangular map of the world...not to mention the famed human-bearing Waq-Waq
is a skill pretty much taken for granted now, but it wasn't
. Accurate maps were once prized state secrets, laborious efforts that cost a fortune and took years (or even decades) to complete.
How things have changed. (Yours now, $110
) It took almost 500 years to map North America, but it's only taken one tenth of that to map just everything else. In the last 50 years, we've been able to create acurate atlases of two planets
and one moon
(with a second
in the works). Actually, we've done a lot more than that
. We're actually running out of things to map.
of very beautiful Old Japanese Maps
has been put online. Java application Insight(tm) required to view and includes a nifty GIS application to overlay old maps on current maps with 3-D animated fly-throughs. State of the art in online map presentation "The digital images are even better than the originals because you can amplify them, rotate them to look at them from different angles," Mr. Zhou said. "In practical terms, this is a better way of using the material than actually coming here to see the pieces."
Recent events have sent me all over bookstores and the web to look at and learn from maps. This is the best, and one of the least known sites. For current events, try the Middle East
sections, but don't miss the incredibel Historical
The Hereford Mappa Mundi (Map the World) is a remarkably beautiful and rare glimpse into the medieval view the world. It is the largest map its kind (54 x 64 inches) to have survived and dates from around 1295. It still resides at Hereford Cathedral in England just as it has done for the last 700 years.
The map depicts the world as a flat disk with east at the top. It shows all the features the then known world including Africa, India and China. Paradise is depicted somewhere east India. The Holy Land and its important sites expand to fill the middle the map. Jerusalem is placed at the centre the world.
It is a work of cosmology as much as a cartography. That is, it seeks to explain the world as well as merely depict its features. This was a time when the population was uneducated and provincial. In the Hereford map, people could revel in this vision of the outside world, which taught natural history, classical legends, explained the winds and reinforced their religious beliefs.
Here is a simplified sketch
which makes the details and country names easier to identify. Here is the original
and a very good written description