August 20, 2008
By Elisabeth Grant
The Internet has transformed (like so many other things) the way we see and use maps. Google Maps has become ubiquitous, not only providing simple routes to destinations, but also showing satellite views, terrain representations, and more. But whether it’s the use of a new map, or the reinterpretation of an old one, it’s the interactive nature of these online maps that is so fascinating (and fun).
AHA Today has featured a number of interactive maps in the past. Just a month ago we mentioned the Map of Early Modern London, which allows users to explore locations and events in London during the 16th and 17th century. And before that we showcased two Google related projects: the incorporation of Rumsey Historical Maps on Google Earth and the editable Wikimapia. We’ve also had the chance to point to the Library of Congress’s Geography & Map Reading Room when they posted their 10,000th map online.
National Geographic offers a number of map resources (many of which have been incorporated into EDSITEment lesson plans). But in this post we’ll focus on their Map of the Day, which allows visitors to “browse through history using…daily maps of historical news events and milestones.” Though the majority of the maps of the day are traditional maps, the site sometimes use the term map more broadly, including things like a diagram of the 1903 patent for the Wright brothers’ “flying machine,” the plan for the U.S.S. Monitor, and a 17th-century Qing Dynasty woodblock print. Each day the selected map is presented with a few paragraphs of background information and a quiz question.
The Wanderlust site, from GOOD magazine, “maps out history’s greatest journeys, from Magellan to Kerouac,” and incorporates images and more information. Follow the route of the Pequod (from Moby-Dick), travel across North America with Lewis and Clark, or discover the old Silk Road.