Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Maps that Changed the World

The Library of Congress has thousands of world maps in its collection. If you browse the collection in chronological order you can explore the history of cartography and, at the same time, gain an insight into how the world has been perceived throughout history. The Library of Congress' World Maps is a small presentation of some of the library's most important world maps.

I'd like to take all the credit for selecting the world maps in this short presentation. But I can't. These maps all come from a story map created by the Library of Congress itself. Maps That Changed Our World is an interesting interactive tour of some of the most important maps owned by the Library of Congress. Starting with the world atlas from Ptolemy's Geography published in 150 AD this story map takes a chronological tour of world maps through history.

The world maps chosen for this story map each represent an interesting shift in how the world was visualized. The maps start with Ptolomy's Geography and progress through important maps from the Middle Ages, the 17th and 18th centuries, and right up to our modern digital maps.

The Library of Congress' story map includes information about each of the maps which helps to place them within their historical context. However all the featured maps presented in Maps That Changed Our World are presented as still images. This is why I put together my own short presentation of the Library of Congress' World Maps. My map presentation allows you to explore all but one of the maps as interactive maps. So you can explore the maps in detail in my presentation and learn more about their creation using the library's story map.

The only map missing in my presentation is the world atlas from Ptolemy's Geography. This is because I couldn't find the individual iiif manifest for the map on the Library of Congress website.

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