February 9, 2007, 10:31 am
By Lisa Agustin
Forget about Google Maps and G.P.S. Here’s one for history and cartography buffs: Strange Maps is a blog covering fictional, hypothetical, and just plain odd maps found online. Image sources run the gamut from the U.S. Library of Congress (for Johananes Vingboons’ “Island of California” map from 1693, below) to the official site of author Stephen King. Besides being a visually-rich collection of approaches to mapmaking, each represents its creator’s view of an alternate reality, whether whimsical (a rendering of the Land of Oz), thought-provoking (the Armed Forces Journal’s re-drawing of the Middle-East), or somewhere in the middle (the world as seen from New York City’s 9th Ave). A bonus: each map comes with a detailed commentary on its background, history, and the occasional factoid for interesting reading.
Today’s Providence Journal (http://www.projo.com/) has an article on the newly catalogued map collection at Brown University. The article describes most of the maps in terms of their historical context, but this caught my attention:
The most impressive Providence maps are those produced for the insurance industry. Between 1889 and 1950, the Sanborn Map Co. of New York City completed a series of incredibly detailed maps of every building in the city for the insurance and real-estate industries. Brown has a complete set of the Sanborn maps on file at the John Hay Library, which houses the universityâ€™s rare and special collections.
â€œThe Sanborn maps covered every building every 10 years,â€ said [Howard] Stone [the Brown map cataloguer].
Now that would make a great animation.
Posted by Henry Woodbury on February 13, 2007 at 11:03 am