|Old Maps of the U.S.A.
(21 Oct 2002 at 23:34)
|Here's a cool site that lets you browse old (somtimes centuries!) maps of the US. It's courtesy of the library of congress. Check out these maps of Pittsburgh, for instance: Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh.|
|You know maps, like old maps, and the politics of maps, are pretty interesting. You might never guess that cartography would be a contraversial thing, but a lot of politically/nationalistically motivated bias has made its way into various common (and uncommon) maps. Like for example, have you ever seen a map of the globe that is rendered in proportion to the actual sizes and shapes of the countries and continents? It looks nothing like what you're used to seeing in classrooms and whatnot. The southern continents look a lot taller, but more than that, they are WAY bigger than the northern ones. More specifically, South America and Africa are actually 2 or 3 or 4 times larger (sorry, haven't seen a map recently to be more specific) than North America and Europe. But what most of us are used to seeing is what's called the Mercator map, which is VERY Eurocentric. It's kind of pathetic, actually, that there are some folks (I don't know, the cartography 3l33t?) feel so insecure or pompous or something that they need to look bigger than other continents that are actually way bigger. Anyway, if you're curious, the actual-sizes map is called tehe Peters Projection map. At least the flat version, and actually that's another area of debate, some folks think that no global maps should be flat because they stretch at the bottom and top ends (obviously).
And also, why is north always on top? It has been always like that in recent years, but through older times maps were oriented in all sorts of ways (again, folks claim that's Eurocentric cartography).
Even more pathetic: When evidence was discovered that human life may have originated in Egypt, there were actually people who just couldn't handle the thought that human life began in Africa and started making maps were Egypt was cut off from Africa and more a part of the Middle East (not that the Middle East is all that popular with Anglo folks).
I remember also, when I was in Puerto Rico last Spring, I went to the national museum in San Juan and the featured exhibit at the time was an exhibit of maps of Puerto Rico. There were hundreds of them, and all kinds of krazee-ass representations of the island, names for it (from misspellings to very different names), etc. Some of that was incopetence or lack of information, but often there were political or cultural reasons (the person who put together the exhibit was there and talked to me about a lot of the maps).
|I hate you!!! Meanies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!|