Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The World at your Fingertrips - FREE!

I love maps!  And the older the better.

I like looking at how the world has changed, or being reminded of places I've visited.

In my office I have a 1930's map showing the "Voyages of Discovery" with dashed lines and little galleon icons indicating the trips of Columbus, Vaso de Gama, and Magellan, a visual text sparking images of pirates, sea monsters, and exotic ports of call.

In my kitchen I have a very art deco map of "Europe in 1932" with pink and teal countries whose borders are very different than the world today. Whenever company comes and congregates in the kitchen it always sparks a conversation about places we'd love to visit.  Rome, Paris, Athens, Florence, London, Alexandria, Constantinople all great cities a world away.

Now some of these antiques are available to everyone thanks to the New York Public Library. The library has been scanning maps for about 15 years and now has "1,100 maps of the Mid-Atlantic United States and cities from the 16th to 19th centuries . . .  more than 700 topographic maps of the Austro-Hungarian empire created between 1877 and 1914 . . . an incredibly diverse collection of more than 1,000 maps of New York City, its boroughs and neighborhoods, dating from 1660 to 1922" among many other maps.

Do you like to read maps?  How has your world changed?  Where do you want to go?

23 comments:

  1. I like to look at maps of what people believed the known world to look like in the 16th century when they did not even know the Americas existed. But when I look at your topography of Central Park I am deeply saddened. The beauty of this country which John Muir and many others tried so hard to preserve has been tarnished by construction and deforestation. Older maps of our country such as the ones Lewis and Clark created on their expedition across the West remind me of the heritage that our Founding Fathers built this nation on. I wonder if our Founding Fathers would be happy with the modernization which has swept over our country.

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  2. We need to "throwback" maps. When I first started driving I learned and explored the environment I lived in (the Bay Area) and began to get a feel for the lay of the land and how to maneuver through this great place. Suddenly, smartphones dropped, and my geographic education was over; now I just drive wherever Siri tells me to go. Often I look at a Google map, in it's awkward interface, and wonder where are the sea monsters at? Maps used to be a big deal and people spent their lives exploring, mapping, adding sea monsters and vikings; the good ol' days. I learn so much just looking at a real map, it's time to delete the Google maps app and throw it way back. I want to feel like a pirate when I navigate.

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  3. Just as the narrator, I enjoy looking at maps just the same. I believe that when one uses maps to navigate around the area that they are in, they then become much more aware of their surroundings. The greatest thing about having a tangible map is just that. its tangible. Therefore it thus becomes a piece of artifact of an area that may or may not change some time in the future. Looking back on my history it is clear that the world has changed so much over time, it is so interesting to notice how continents used to be in totally different shapes and seizes before the affects of continental drift. Looking at the globe of our world today, there are many places that i want to go. Italy, Australia, Africa, the islands. I want to experience the nature and the cultures of other worlds and see how other people live and hopefully seeing that will help enlighten me as a person. I suggest that all people travel at some point in your life because it is an eye opening experience as well as a character changing one.

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  4. I have always thought that old fashion maps were interesting. Nowadays everyone uses some sort of GPS and just listens to whatever the voice says. I remember the first time I looked at a big map of California with my cousin, and we figured out our exact position. I love to figure things out on my own, so every time I am going somewhere new, I don't even think about using a GPS. Its so fascinating to look at a map and figure out where everything is. It allows me to learn several new things and see different areas of land that I never knew about before.

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  5. I'm not really a fan of using maps. I actually still get mad at my grandma whenever she pulls over and pulls out a map to figure out where we are. I do love looking at maps though. When I was younger the way the rivers and lakes looked like veins reminded me that the earth is a living thing.

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  6. Personally, I enjoy reading maps and seeing how the world has changed! Looking at maps reminds me of the past and how much history has happened. Some maps show boundaries of countries and what territories are owned by which groups. Others show the first thirteen colonies and later the fifty states that make up the United States of America. I remember when I was little, my mom would look at maps to get where we needed to go because things like GPS and having your phone tell you exactly where to go was crazy talk. If my mom were to still pull out an old physical map, I would most likely get frustrated because using a map is so hard compared to get turn by turn directions. Map are so out dated, but they are still fun to look at. This article has not changed my “world” since reading it, but it has made me think about the times and how they have changed. Using physical maps nowadays are nearly never seen, and using Siri on the Iphone to direct you where to go is the new map of this time. If I had to pick places to visit in my lifetime, I would choose Croatia and Nicaragua. I am half Croatian and half Nicaraguan so it is my dream to visit where my ancestors came from. If I looked at a map from long ago of either Croatia or Nicaragua, I can guarantee that it would be completely different compared to today. I wish that maps showed the beauty of countries, but sadly it would only show the shape and leave the rest for you to experience on your own!

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  7. I really do enjoying reading maps, especially when it is practical and needed in order to get somewhere. We read maps all the time, whether it be on Google Maps, a paper one, or even a map of the BART lines onboard a train or at the station. I took a couple of Geology classes and I learned the proper way to read them with regards to lines of contour, degrees, minutes, etc. Also, you get a better sense of direction if you can read maps. Thankfully, as technology advance, we can better navigate in the real world. For example, if we need to get somewhere when driving, rarely will we pull out a map and find out how to get to a specific place. Rather, we would pull out our IPhone GPS navigator and enter a final destination. My world has changed by my understand of how vast and large our planet is. When I was young, I did not understand how truly big it is and how many countries exist. Now, I know that there are so many places to visit and hopefully in the future I can travel more. I also know that as time passes by, places may not be the same as they once were. I would like to go to Hawaii, Greece, Australia, and Alaska as well (just to name a few).

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  8. I personally don't like to read maps because I don't understand the concept of it; we have phones that already have built in GPS. Our world is evolving very quickly and in this present era we don't use maps anymore. Everything in this century is done electronically. Where I'd like to visit is Europe or some where in Asia because I like to see whats on the other side of the world. Trying new foods, learning others culture and seeing the attractions is one of the things enjoy.

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  9. I have always had an interest in reading maps because of the difficulty and challenge paper maps reflect, and looking at how complex a world is whether it is a traditional paper map or google maps. How my world change can go in many directions, but it all revolves around growing up. Firstly, the older I get, the more I explore my horizons instead of being at home all the time. When I was young, all I wanted to do was stay at home and watch television or go outside and play in my front yard. Nowadays, I take every opportunity to get out of the house and try and go to new places. Another way my world has changed is the older I get, I’m figuring myself out more of what I want to do in the future and how I want my life to be lived. Where I want to go badly is Japan because I want to experience their culture and view their car culture, but anywhere outside of the Bay Area is fine with me.

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  10. Reading maps is not something that I would go out to do on my free time, but I do enjoy to look at them. I think it is so cool to be able to have a whole world right at your fingertips. Being able to see how close or how far some places are from one another is very amusing to me. Now a days with smartphones and GPS systems we often don't use maps because its so much easier to get around with technology. My dad actually really enjoys to look at maps because he says that reminds him of how big the world really is and how many places he wants to visit. Unfortunately my family and I have not been able to travel outside of the United States other than to Mexico, once. I throughly enjoyed the trip and all the sightseeing that we were able to do. Traveling and seeing a little bit more of the world has changed my world. I am now itching to go travel again. When I graduate from college I plan to travel most of Europe and some of Southern America. To be specific, I would really want to travel to Greece, Russia, and Costa Rica. Traveling to me has always been one of my dreams because I know the world has a lot to offer and I don't want to be stuck in one area my whole life.

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  11. Reading maps is very essential and necessary, it does not only let u know about the whole world, it also teaches you where they are specifically located. I really enjoy looking at maps it reminds me of how the big the world is. it is so amazing that you don't need to print out the map from your computer, technology has made so easy by creating the GPS, which enables us to travel or move from one place top another. going out to new places would definitely be fun. one thing that is interesting about maps is that it is really cool to know how big a continent is

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  12. When I took history in my country , we talked about the European Expansion and my teacher told us to draw a map and demonstrate the places that they stopped and colonized. Since that time , I was enjoying maps and that's how learn the capital of several countries , the language that they speak ,and it was fun for me . I took lots of geography which was fun and very interesting. Nowadays, people do not read maps or draw maps because of the technologies but I advice people to spend a bit of time reading maps because you can learn a lot .However , I want to go to lots places , but my top 5 is Cape Verde , Thailand, Rio de Janeiro , Japan and Dubai.

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  13. I found this article pretty interesting. Simply because it focuses on the world as a whole rather than just individual countries. The notion the author made about keeping a map that tracks the record of his personally travels is quite neat. Today I would strongly want to visit Europe as well because of all of the cool historical landmarks.

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  14. Reading maps is very essential and necessary, it does not only let u know about the whole world, it also teaches you where they are specifically located. I really enjoy looking at maps it reminds me of how the big the world is. it is so amazing that you don't need to print out the map from your computer, technology has made so easy by creating the GPS,which is available on smartphones.this enables us to travel or move from one place top another. going out to new places would definitely be fun. one thing that is interesting about maps is that it is really cool to know. when i was younger, i wasn't quite sure of how many continents are. my teacher, showed me a map, i wa happy to see one, i had not seen how a map was created or made. i was happy because i learnt not only by looking at the map, but also knowing that we live in a round world. would like to explore some part of it later on.

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  15. I personally love to read maps. In my room I have a map of the united states on the wall with little tacks placed in all the cities that I've been to. I also keep an antique globe on my shelf (partly for decoration, partly for reference).
    I would like to one day visit all 50 states because I feel like it is important to know the country that you live in. As well as visiting all the states, I hope to travel abroad. I would like to see all the famous artwork from the Renaissance, the Catacombs of Paris, the African safaris, as well as the big, industrialized cities in Japan.

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  16. When it comes to reading maps or getting directions im the guy you want togo to. I really enjoy reading maps, i like seeing how the world used to be. What i also like is seeing all the countries boarders, and think to myself how accurate are those boarders. The world has changed a lot, different maps show the world in different ways. To get a better look on how our world is, is to check our smart phones integrated map application. I usually like doing that to get a clear picture. I have many places that i want to travel to, i would really like to travel to Europe and south-america.

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  17. Wow, reading your blog made me think back when I was stationed in Europe before the GPS was in style. I too used to read maps when I traveled all over Europe. It was kind of easy for me since we were trained to do that in the military. Knowing how to read maps have saved me a million times while traveling. Just a little background on how the European highway works; if you miss your exit, unlike here where you can easily exit on the next turn and go back to the freeway, but in Europe you have to drive miles before you can see another exit, and by that time you exit, you have to find another way to go back to the freeway. There is no easy turnaround. You have to look at a map to find another way to go back to where you were going. Now with the invention of GPS, travel has been made easy and accessible. The only down side of the GPS system is sometimes you won’t get any satellite signal or it freezes up which happened to me on one of trips. Good thing I had a map handy in my glove compartment. Now I always carry a map whenever I travel. I plan to travel all over the United States. I would like to see all the historical monuments or sites that each States has to offer. Hopefully one day I can make this happen.

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  18. Actually, reading map is kind of interesting because it lets me know about the world and location. Also, it gives me the imagination to image how the world looks like, and I am telling you it is is fantastic.
    As a foreigner, Google map also helps me a lot because it is so convenient that you want to go somewhere but you don't know the way. Only thing you need to do just entering the address and it will show you the directions.We should thank technology because it really changed our life. I enjoy read the map in internet, specially for some remote places on the earth.Now days, they even have real-time visual in internet, which mean we can see how the street, people,building and everything look like.It feels like you are taking a trip to each corner of the world.

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  19. I think it is important to know what this world looks like, whether looking at paper maps or maps like Google maps, or a GPS, it's still good to see around. I actually recently started to get into looking at maps as well, I really would love to travel the world and I thought maybe it would be a great idea to first know what's out there. I personally really enjoy Google maps because of all the different maps they have, it makes me want to visit the place I am looking at more since I'm actually looking to see how it looks.
    Even though I don't really look into older maps, it sounds like an interesting thing to do.

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  20. Maps are an important part in the study of theology, and being that the subject is of tremendous interest to me I have looked at several maps of the region which is called “Asia Minor” in the bible, but is now Turkey. I have also seen pre-civil war maps of the United States, and I am always amazed by the borders which separated the states then, and how they have changed now. I always have a difficult time understanding maps because geography has been a subject I have not studied in me academic career, so I always find myself reading commentaries on the maps I observe. I want to visit Istanbul because of the city’s history, and I would like to stand where Constantine considered the best city to name after him. I have lived in Oakland, and San Pablo, but as I have continued to grow I find myself going to places like Hayward, San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oregon, and Florida. The boundaries that make up my world have expanded, and if I were to draw a map of my geographic adventures, I am sure it would be as shocking thirty years from now as a 1776 United States map is shocking now.

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  21. I love maps,I remember when going into a bookstore I would go straight to the maps section to see the different maps of different countries. What was really fascinating to me was how a long time ago they were able to draw maps that were very similar to the maps today. Back then they didn't have satellite like we did. So them being able to draw a similar map was always impressive to me. As well as seeing as what they thought lied beyond what they knew.

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  22. I personally do not like maps because it is hard for me to read them. The different colors and the boarders that are drawn on maps are very confusing for me. It is very incredible how much the world has changed and how countries have grown. I think having maps of the world from different eras can get really interesting. I do like to look at maps, especially at all the different countries and sometimes I start to chose which ones I would like to visit. The main countries I would like to visit are France, Spain and Australia. Those are the main countries I would like to visit but I also have others in mind just in case I am not able to visit my top choices.

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  23. This is so cool! I am a little familiar with maps because my father is a truck driver for a delivery company. As a little girl I always found that fascinating and would always want to go with him, of course he wouldn't always take me because after all it was a man's job but when he did he would use the paper maps before. I remember him giving me a piece of gum and putting the map on my legs and pointing out where i had to get him to. I would always feel like the pilot, he would tell me "follow these lines, you are the piece of gum, guide it through the shortest way". Things have changed so much since then, we now have GPS devices, then there was GPS on your cellular devices , and now in cars, there is no way you can get lost anymore. I like old maps because it reminds me of my father's adventures. I want to go to Dubai and explore, i want to go to Europe and experience another world.

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