History of Cartography/Maps

Current faculty: Julie Sweetkind-Singer

Description: This course is designed to provide a general overview of the history of maps in the western world as well as their use in modern day teaching and research.  Topics will include the production and use of maps; the rise of the map trade in Europe and America; the role of maps as cultural and social objects; the wide variety and type of maps produced (nautical charts, city views and plans, topographic, land ownership, globes, celestial charts, etc.); the map trade; conservation issues; and the role of museums and libraries as stewards of the content.

The class will also explore how antiquarian maps are used by present day researchers, teachers and students.  The class will visit the collection of David Rumsey, noted Bay Area collector, in an effort to understand the role of the private collector who is deeply engaged in digitization and dissemination of cartographic information.  A day will be spent at Stanford University learning about their map program, which includes a dedicated map scanning lab, a robust system to manage high resolution digital imagery from creation to preservation, and the development of viewing environments specifically for this type of content.  We will also spend time with faculty and students understanding how they use the digital surrogates in their research by incorporating spatial viewing and analysis with geographic information systems and visualization tools such as Google Maps/Earth.

Requirements:  No previous experience necessary.

Years taught: 2013, 2015

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