Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A Wealth of Online Viewers
Since I started my "Maps: Finding Our Place in the World" entry I've spent probably a week or two researching the Chicago Festival of Maps exhibits. The compulsion that drove me along so many branching investigative paths was unsettling, but both the process and the product of all that digging gave me joy. It also made me aware of the staggering amount of work that's been done to bring old maps and manuscripts to the internet. Check out the new "Viewers" list at the top of my links on the right edge of the screen. I'm delighted with the content of each, and in awe of the amount of work and creativity that went into most.
My favorite viewer is the University of Oregon's tribute to Nolli's Grand Plan of Rome. I especially like exploring the map icons layer, but overall I appreciate how the map engine can overlay political regions, natural features, human-made artifacts and satellite images in a visually digestible way.
Coming in a close second is the British Library's Online Library. Check out the Lindisfarne Gospels or the Golf Book and tell me you didn't gasp. Then, if the multiple layers in the Nolli map weren't enough for you, take a look at the Gough Map. Zoom in to see the woodcut imprints on the Rom Weg Map and the multifarious threats to mariners portrayed in the 1562 Map of the Americas. Lose yourself in the detail that three generations of Cassinis put into their Carte de France. And don't forget that nifty new viewer for the 1659 Blaeu Atlas!