Because I believe
strongly that well-educated human beings in the modern world should know something
about the physical world we inhabit, and should also know where things happened
in the past, I've collected the following links to help my students locate places
we discuss in class. I'm also quite fond of historical maps and cartography,
because the images themselves are often works of art, so I've included links
to these as well. The bottom portions of the list concern
other kinds of mapping and maps used for non-traditional purposes.
This list is by no means exhaustive. A quick Google search for "history of maps" or "history of mapping" will turn out many more. I've picked the best of the lot, using quality of information and design as criteria.
theory l places l general sites/links pages l other kinds of mapping l literary
and imaginary maps
Theory and History:
"Map views" are not necessarily easy for human beings to conjure
up. In order to understand how we come to make maps and see the world from
different perspectives, see these links:
Fundamentals of Mapping and, in particular, History of Mapping. These informative pages are sponsored by the ICSM: Australia's Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping. Although focused on Australian places, the historical and theoreticall information applies everywhere.
The Harley and Woodward edition of The History of Cartography, Vol. 1 (1987) is available in PDF from the University of Chicago Press.
World Mapping Center. An interdisciplinary research center at
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It includes a free map of the development of the Roman Empire.
Smith's Mapping.com, the purpose of which is to provide "extensive
resources for educators, students, and anyone interested in expanding their
geographic horizons." The site offers several intereting approaches to
thinking about geographical space. I found the following link there.
40 Maps that Explain the World (with a link to 40 more) from the Washington Post. Max Fisher used to host the Post's World Views section. He's a former writer/editor for The Atlantic, and now works on Ezra Klein's Vox media project.
the single most convincing answer I can think of to the question, "why
bother with the internet at all?" And that's in addition to Google
This is a brand-spanking new project (well; I discovered it only recently) that aims
to use new satellite mapping technologies to understand how and why people
ended up where they did. This is just terrific!
Note: access to digital maps today is as near as one's cell phone. When I set this page up, that wasn't the case (the last update before this one was 2009). Of course everybody knows about GPS and Google Maps now, but Google Earth and ArchAtlas are still two of the most comprehensive global mapping sources available.
Ancient Near East and Egypt:
The Oriental Institute
(University of Chicago) Map
Series includes archaeological site maps for places the Institute has excavated: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Levant, Sudan, Syria, Turkey.
Medieval Sourcebook: Maps and Images (especially for maps dealing
with the rise and spread of Islam, and the routes of the Crusaders)
Wikimedia Commons has a page of Old Maps of Egypt ("old" means 70+years). There's one of Old Maps of the Near East as well. Both are linked to numerous sub-categories.
The Mediterranean World (including Crete,
Greece, Turkey, and Rome)
Ancient Mediterranean Index This comprehensive site provides
outline maps, terrain maps, and place-name maps from ancient regions bordering
the Mediterranean Sea.
Historical Atlas of the Mediterranean. This site is a little more commercial than those I usually post, but it has good interactive maps of important historical sites.
Greece.Org has some nice maps in Flash format that allows for zooming
and moving, and different time sequences on the same map: Ancient Greece, Ancient
Age Aegean, Mycenaean
Beginnings of Historic Greece 700-600 B. C. (Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of
Texas. This particular map is from William Shepherd's Historical Atlas, 1923.) The Europe page contains many more maps of ancient Greece and Italy and other ancient European sites of interest. Another gem: Reference
Map of Attica & Plan of Thermopylae 480 B. C. (University
of Texas). Main page: Maps
of Greece from the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection .
maps of Rome (Historic Cities). These offer views of the city
as drawn by a variety of mapmakers since 1493.
route of Alexander the Great (from Hyperhistory)
Historical Atlas of Europe (contains historical maps from about
the time of Christ on)
Maps of Europe (The page from the Perry-Castañeda Library linked above.)
Medieval Sourcebook: Maps and Images. From Fordham University. These maps cover a large
area--roughly any place of importance during the Middle Ages; most maps
are adapted from Muir's Historical Atlas of 1911.
History In Maps: A comprehensive site with maps from the Pleistocene
to the 19th Century, as well as links to historical and literary (myth)
of Ireland and Northern Ireland: A very extensive list of maps
covering every square inch of Ireland and every moment in time since the
formation of the planets (or so it seems). From the CAIN (Conflict Archive
on the Internet) Web Service, affiliated with the University of Ulster.
Stone Map: a clickable map of ancient monuments in Ireland.
The North Atlantic
page to help you decide whether or not the map is a fake, but with additional
useful information. Here's an article from BBC on current scientific discussions
about the map: Scientists
Disagree Over Viking Map. Here's a PBS Nova site (The
Viking Deception), if you need more information or another perspective.
Another page from BBC provides a map that shows where the Vikings came from and where they settled in England.
For serious map geeks: Sedimentation,
Tectonics, and Paleogeography of the North Atlantic Region These maps cover the geological history of the North Atlantic region from
the Early Cambrian to the Miocene. They're from a great page by Dr. Ron
Blakey at Arizona State, Regional
Paleogeographic Views of Earth History from which you can locate evidence
that I'm not exaggerating when I talk about North Africa's "slamming"
into southern Europe at a rapid clip.
South Asia (the Indian subcontinent)
of India. This is an ad-supported history page with a timeline and other information. Skip to the bottom for the maps.
of South Asia: An Organized Collection (Prof. Frances Pritchett,
Columbia University): includes both historical maps and contemporary, as
well as specialized maps--such as relief and terrain maps, and ethnic groups,
etc. This is an unbelievably complete and thorough site.
East Asia (including Southeast Asia)
Cultural Studies: Images: Maps (City University of New York)
Japan and Korea (6th to 19th centuries); this is a bit skimpy,
but provides place names and a good clean map. From Frank Smitha's World
Dynasty and Its Conquests (Frank Smitha)
Rise of Ancient China (also from Frank Smitha--see World History
Library Map Collection: Maps
of Australia and the Pacific
Just to see if any of
you are paying attention, here's the National
Public Toilet mapof Australia.
of Early Maps on the Web: Australia and Oceania (back
to serious business)
clear, easily navigable maps of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia
Geographic Guide's relief
map of Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand)
Information Systems (GIS) maps of Native Lands, Current Places, and History with
links to state-by-state maps, satellite images, land form maps, etc.
of Early Maps on the Web: North America: good source for
historical maps of Canada and the United States, but the US gets its own
and Clark: Mapping the West is a nicely designed page from
the Smithsonian, with segments on the expedition, the process of mapping
and of cartography in general, and what was learned.
of Early Maps on the Web: South and Central America You'd
think cartographers would know better, but Mexico is included here.
American Network Information Center (Lanic) regional maps: links to individual countries as well as the continents.
At the bottom of the page are more general links from international sources.
Sites and/or Links Pages
Earl Hyde Lantern Slide Collection at Case Western Reserve University contains
a section on Human
Paleontology, which includes copies of historical maps that
record perceptions of the world in ancient times; they begin at section
History maps from Frank Smitha. This is a very comprehensive
site that provides straightforward, well-designed, informative maps from
ancient times to the present, often within a narrative context (click on
place names for maps).
Images: a page of links to historical maps from a variety of
sources--some superb. Time spans include ancient to medieval, and there
are additional links to history of cartography sites. Mercator's World magazine (one of my favorites; unfortunately now defunct) liked this
of Ancient maps from the above-mentioned site. Ancient maps do a very nice job of helping
us understand how ancient peoples understood their world.
Geographic Map Machine This site is great, and their blurb
is true: "Find nearly any place on Earth, and view it by population,
climate, and much more. Plus, browse antique maps, find country facts, or
plan your next outdoor adventure with our trail maps." Don't
forget that the Kelley Library possesses the CD ROM compilation of National
Geographic, which has great maps, and some maps created to accompany
specific articles are also accessible through the National
Geographic Society online.
kinds of mapping:
the metaphor of the map is mind-boggling in its ability to help us understand
aspects of human existence other than space. Here are a few applications beyond
what one would expect. Some of these are obvious, some less so.
Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program offers history and background
on the creation of geologic maps.
The gummint's Chromosome
Mapping page, part of the Human Genome Project Information
Map Collection: a collection of maps showing worldwide linguistic
affiliations and language groups, as well as some miscellaneous
map stuff at the end.
page on Mind-mapping is clearer than anything else I could
find on the topic. And here's Wikipedia's
"disambiguation" page that lays out different uses for the word
Geological Maps are a specialized form of physically representing geologial formations on a two-dimensional surface. A couple of good examples can be found here: Utah Geological Survey (click on the PDF map or the simpler postcard map, also PDF); and The California Geological Services page with a link to a Fault Activity Map. My Google search for "geological maps" produced this image page, which shows both recent modern and historical versions.
For the terminally paranoid, here's an article from the Guardian (August 2012) by Oliver Burkeman on "How Google and Apple's Digital Mapping is Mapping Us."
Mapping turns out to be an especially important tool to help get aid to people who need it. Here's a National Geographic Society article by Patrick Meier about "How Crisis Mapping Saved Lies in Haiti."
and imaginary maps
Pinterest's page on Literary Maps. There aren't as many of these as I would have hoped (47 as I type), but if you're interested in this map genre, you'll find fellow travellers here. Or do a Google search on "literary maps," which will turn up thousands.
K. LeGuin's maps of places in her novels: I always appreciate
maps in books because they help readers imagine spaces, distances, locations.
LeGuin's stories are all richly realized, and her maps help draw the reader
into her narrative.
Fantasy maps: Most good writers have an idea of where their stories take place; fantasy and science fiction writers in particular seem to need to "solidify" their imaginary worlds. I mentioned LeGuin above (that link is to maps for many of her works), but here are some more:
How to Make a Fantasy World Map by Isaac Stewart, wrting on Tor.com: quite good advice.
In 2013 io9 ran a story called The Most Incredible Fantasy Maps You've Ever Seen, by Annalee Newitz, which covers most of them, it seems.
I plan to work a great deal harder on maintaining this page, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.