To better understand current events and issues, it is always useful to take a look at the past. That is why the Royal Library of Belgium (KBR) has selected ten historical maps of Ukraine from its collection to share on its website and social networks.
The RG 263 CIA Published Maps (also called the CIA Numbered Maps or Numerical Series) is made up of over 22 000 declassified maps. These maps date primarily from the 1940s to the 1970s, cover most areas of the world, and provide a particularly interesting glimpse into the activities and interests of the CIA and US government during the Cold War and Vietnam War. Nearly 3 000 are now available to view and download in the National Archives Catalog.
Learn more on the Unwritten Record blog: RG 263 CIA Published Maps: A Digitization Project In Progress – The Unwritten Record.
We recently learned that Katherine Parker and Barry Ruderman's book Historical Sea Charts. Visions and Voyages through the Ages, which was reviewed in Maps in History No. 70 (French version of the book), has been published in Dutch under the title Historische zeekaarten. Verbeelding en precisie door de eeuwen heen and is now available in bookshops. Barry Ruderman is one of our sponsors.
Issue 112 (Winter 2021) was published in January 2022 and is in distribution to all members of the Washington Map Society.
This issue includes Paul Hughes’s research on Captain William Hilton’s charting of the Cape Fear River area of North Carolina, Joseph W. Grubbs’s investigation of an imagined city in nineteenth-century Virginia, Frederic Shauger’s comparison of modified maps of the Ulm Ptolemy, Andrew Rhodes’s mystery of Lake Alexandra in Africa, Leigh Lockwood’s conversation with Dick Walker about The Living New Deal, and three book reviews.
mapKurator will scan text in 60 000 georeferenced Rumsey maps. The data generated will make the Rumsey Map Collection the first large digitized map collection in the world to be fully searchable via text.
Machines Reading Maps (MRM) is delighted to announce a new 1-year collaboration with the David Rumsey Map Collection. Thanks to a generous donation from David Rumsey himself, the MRM teams (including researchers at The Alan Turing Institute, the University of Minnesota, and the Austrian Institute of Technology) will be able to test and expand its tools and methods working large and diverse collection of 60 000 digitised historical maps.
This research will make the Rumsey Map Collection the first large digitised map collection in the world to be fully searchable via text. For all the place names, we will also infer the semantic types and the links to external knowledge bases like Wikidata. This will make countless features that did not previously appear in the map’s metadata, finally visible and discoverable. At the same time, the enrichment of the maps will enable, for the first time, complex searches across different map series, like finding saloons in nineteenth-century California or all the businesses found within two miles of British railway stations.
Building on top of the ongoing work on collections held at the National Library of Scotland, British Library and Library of Congress, and supported by AHRC and NEH funding, this new collaboration will enable MRM to process a large corpus of georeferenced maps (around 60 000 documents) in the David Rumsey collection with the computer-vision-based machine learning model mapKurator. mapKurator detects and recognises the text on maps, in a wide variety of scripts and styles, and then links those labels (including only partially recognised ones) to external knowledge bases like OpenStreetMap or WikiData.
The first outcomes will be fine tuned through two processes: one computational and one manual. The first one involves the training of artificial intelligence models using real maps from the Rumsey collection and synthetic ones developed by the project team. For the second, the project will extend LUNA, the Rumsey Collection's online map viewer, with annotation functionality. Building on a bespoke annotation system developed in MRM, the new annotation interface will make it possible for the public to help validate and improve the annotations produced automatically via mapKurator.
This collaboration with the Rumsey Collection will sharpen MRM tools, making them more flexible in new contexts. In particular, it allows the researchers to explore solutions for dealing with the challenging scale and variety of this unique collection, which features dozens of different languages and cartographic traditions. The MRM and David Rumsey Map Collection teams also look forward to collaborating with a large and diverse community of users, and to making them co-authors of the maps' enrichment.
This operation will generate an unprecedented amount of free and reusable data, of great historical, geographical, scientific, and anthropological value, as well as precious metadata that will improve the accessibility of the collection, and active engagement with map enthusiasts.
At the end of this collaboration, we will showcase the data and the new functionalities implemented, and discuss next steps in a public event hosted at the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford Libraries.
Source: David Rumsey Map Collection
In January 2022, the Board of directors of Imago Mundi Ltd has elected a new president in succession of Tony Campbell: Wouter Bracke, President of our Circle.
Imago Mundi, Ltd. is a not-for-profit charity.
Imago Mundi produces the bi-annual Imago Mundi: the International Journal for the History of Cartography, published by Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
It is also responsible for coordinating the biennial series of International Conferences in the History of Cartography, founded in 1964, and it produces periodic editions of a Who's Who in the History of Cartography.
In general, its aim is to promote, foster and encourage the study of cartography in all its branches.
It has a website at the address https://www.maphistory.info/imago.html.
The company is registered in the UK under the company number 00693460.
For more information on Imago Mundi see the
Taylor & Francis website or the
JSTOR digital library website or the
UK Register of charities website.
Congratulations, Wouter, for this very prestigious (and challenging!) nomination.
One of the most distinguished cartographic journals in Europe appeared in its last and final issue, Vol. 63, in December 2021. It started 32 years ago as a German-language medium for the dissemination of contributions to the History of Cartography for researchers, map collectors and dealers.
Hans-Uli Feldmann, a cartographer by profession, curated these 63 Volumes plus 24 special editions, with unfailing dedication and authority over those many years. It ceased publication because the framework for the accomplishment of its editorial
mission has undergone substantial change with time.
A full report and appreciation will appear in Maps in History No 73, May 2022.
For those interested, a superbly organized publication index is at https://www.kartengeschichte.ch/, with a summary of each article in English and in French.
(By Wulf Bodenstein)