For centuries atlases have provided rich information about the world: maps, charts, and text densely packed into physical volumes. More recently, online mapping sites like Google Maps and MapQuest have made the exploration of geography common place again. The "Atlas of the Historical Geography of the US" from the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond has transformed an actual physical atlas into a multi-faceted digital presentation.
In this re-fashioned atlas, the authors have transformed the static, flat pages of the physical atlas into georectified, interactive maps. You can zoom in on a certain area just as you would in modern online map viewers, and even see underlying geography. Supplementary information -- including a legend, explanatory text, and the atlas' table of contents -- add to the richness of understanding and exploring the maps (and can all be turned on or off to suit your preferences). The authors have also included the nice feature of having the option to view the original plates in their un-georectified form, which can be nice for getting a sense for how the original atlas was presented.
One especially fun feature of this enlivened atlas comes through in certain interactive pages. The creators have worked in data behind the scenes, so that you get additional information by interacting with certain pages, such as a series of maps that show rates of travel to New York City for different years. When you hover over the map, the page returns the time, distance, and travel rate for that location.
Other maps have been enhanced with animations, essentially virtual flipbooks that page through sequential maps for you. The series of maps depicting the location of colonial towns is a good example of this. The expansion of settlements into Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire between 1750 and 1775 becomes incredibly stark (especially when compared to Connecticut).
Every time I open up the atlas I discover something new. From reproductions of historic cartography to maps of the cotton spinning industry and diminishing land holdings of Native Americans, the original, physical atlas held a treasure-trove of information. The team at the University of Richmond has brought these static plates new life in the digital age. Have fun exploring!
As part of the campus winter holiday closure, the Earth Sciences & Map Library will be closed Saturday, December 21, 2013 through Sunday, January 5, 2014. We will reopen on Monday, January 6 with our intersession hours: 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.
Due to system maintenance, OskiCat will be down from approximately midnight-3:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 7.
The Earth Sciences and Maps Library will be open 9am-7pm Monday-Thursday and 9am-5pm Friday during the semester.
Please remember that the Circulation Desk closes 15 minutes before the library does. This means no checkouts or returns after 6:45pm Monday-Thursday and after 4:45pm Fridays.
Holidays this semester include:
Monday, September 2: Closed
Monday, November 11: Closed
Thursday, November 28-Friday, November 29: Closed
We will also close at 5pm on Wednesday, November 27, the day before Thanksgiving. Hope to see you in the library soon!
The USGS has announced its inaugural Best Student Geologic Map Competition for 2013. The competition is open to all university-level students and will be judged at the 125th Annual Geological Society of America Meeting in October 2013. More information about the competition, including the submission process and judging criteria, can be found on the Annual Best Student Geologic Competition website. Students should contact the official U.S. Geological Survey representative by September 6th, 2013 to be considered for the 2013 competition.