You’re going to think I had the most boring childhood. When I was in elementary and middle schools, my dad and I spent hours (literally hours) perusing the place name indexes in our atlases. We were on a mission to find the weirdest town names, and we laughed as we announced them for each other to enjoy. Truth and Consequences, New Mexico is one that I vividly remember chuckling over.
I think these hours spent poring over the atlas led to my ongoing obsession with maps of all kinds. The day I found out about Google Maps with satellite view was a glorious day indeed. I have wasted many hours since then looking at all the places I’ve lived in my life, and was ecstatic when I saw my car parked on the street when I lived in Pittsburgh. (Yes, I saw my car every day, but never from above before.)
In my reference class in grad school, our professor shared the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection with us. It’s a treasure trove of historical maps, contemporary maps, and maps relating to current events. Have you been wondering what North America looked like before 1675? Wonder no more!
The United States Geological Survey Maps are particularly wonderful for Western North Carolina and its topography. You can check them out online using the USGS’s map locator. However, if you’re stuck without a speedy Internet connection, you can always stop by the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library and relax with our paper copies of the Cashiers/Glenville-area 7.5 minute maps that have all the National Forest data imposed on them.
A coworker recently informed me about a blog called Strange Maps. If the idea of the secret caves of lizard people or a comparative look at how large Australia really is intrigues you, then this site is for you.
- The Atlas of the Civil War. Published by National Geographic last year, this atlas shows the terrain and battles of the Civil War.
- North Carolina Atlas and Gazetteer.
- The Atlas of Shipwrecks & Treasure – which you could use if you head to the Outer Banks.
- The Atlas of Medieval Europe.
- And many, many more.
Finally, if you’re having trouble figuring out how to get to a local library, maybe this important map will be helpful.