This section reads as would a biblical genealogy of sorts: Alexander von Humboldt (wiki) taught Heinrich Berghaus (short wiki bio)and influenced Alexander Keith Johnston; Berghaus taught August Petermann (wiki); and Petermann collaborated with Berghaus and Johnston. More accurately, it reflects the passing on of the thematic torch lit by Humboldt. There were isolated “ignitions” throughout Europe before him—he, of course, was not the first to construct a thematic map or even to think of how one might do it—but every science needs a founding figure. More than anyone who preceded him, Humboldt provided that role.Landmark Thematic Atlases, from Princeton University Library's Historic Maps Collection website of Landmark Thematic 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]
Maps can help make sense of the world, but they can also distory your sense of reality (Archive.org stream view, page 58 of Elements of Map Projection with Applications to Map and Chart Construction). [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.
Behold, a 1854 Map of the world's tallest mountains and longest rivers (alt. link), as understood at that point in time, when Dhaulagiri was thought to be the tallest mountain in the world. This is taken from the General Atlas Of The World: Containing Upwards Of Seventy Maps, which can be read (awkwardly) on Archive.org as scanned from black and white microform, or go straight for the good stuff and browse the full color maps in David Rumsey's collection of high-resolution scans of historic maps (via Dark Roasted Blend and io9).
"Have you ever dropped a stick in a river and wondered where it might go if it floated all the way downstream? Now you can trace its journey using Streamer." In addition to displaying the distance traveled, difference in elevation, and number of states, counties and cities the stick will pass through before reaching its outlet point, Streamer can do an upstream trace to show you which rivers and smaller streams fed into the spot where the stick was dropped. [more inside]
Atlas for the Blind, 1837: "From the spectacular David Rumsey Map Collection, the 1837 “Atlas of the United States Printed for the Use of the Blind“, embossed heavy paper featuring lines, letters and geographical symbols, destined to help blind children to visualise geography. Here’s the whole book with zoomable pages." [Via: Socks-Studio]
What I've always wanted- an atlas of the world's vulnerability to climate change (downloadable pdf on page).
Digital Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World is a three volume, drill down* cornucopia of information (some sections not published yet - but often with hover over info) for you to get lost in. [more inside]
The Atlas of Early Printing. A visualization of fifteenth-century printing presses in Europe. Click around, look at the book-learnin' blossom!