Cool project: The Map and Government Information Library’s Map of Maps/Map Types

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Cool project: The Map and Government Information Library’s Map of Maps/Map Types

By Meagan Duever

I created a ‘map of maps’ based on the large poster Maps and Charts by Williams & Heintz Map Corporation that depicts the wide variety of maps the company has and is able to print. This poster is a favorite during tours of the library; people like seeing the different map types together in one place. This inspired us to create our own poster with map types specifically held in our collection with the addition of the features typically found on each type. This was also an opportunity to explain the differences between similar map types like bathymetric and nautical charts, planimetric and cadastral maps to both our casual visitors and those visiting for a class.

Maps were chosen, scanned, and enlarged to almost twice their size to show detail. We wanted not to include a whole map, but a representative portion. Images were cropped to 8×10 and arranged in three rows of six. Originally, text about each map type was going to be included below each map, or across the bottom of each. But an additional panel along the side was added instead. Smaller versions were printed for review and the wording was refined. The Facilities Management Division at UGA was able to make a custom frame to display the final version of the map. The final map is about 60×36 inches and is on display in UGA Libraries’ Map and Government Information Library. The smaller version can be viewed at Text on the Poster is provided below.

Library's Map of Maps
Library’s Map of Maps

Meagan Duever
GIS Librarian
University of Georgia Libraries
320 S. Jackson St. 
Athens, GA 30602

Poster Text:

The Map and Government Information Library’s Map of Maps
Showcasing some of the different types of maps in our collection

A) Nautical Chart 
Very detailed; shows main channel, general shape and elevation of the river or lake bottom, safety harbors, hazard areas, and other key symbols that allow a boat pilot to safely navigate through a body of water.

B) Topographic Map 
Show topography using contour lines. Contour lines are curves that connect contiguous points of the same altitude. Also show streams and other bodies of water, forest cover, built-up areas or individual buildings, and points of interest.

C) Political Map
Shows lines defining countries, states, and/or territories; its purpose is specifically to show borders; may include capitols or major cities depending on map scale.

D) County Highway Map
Detailed map of a county’s roads; both paved and unpaved, points of interest, municipal boundaries, streams, and wetlands.

E) Land Cover Map
Tracks how land is being used. Divided into nine broad categories – urban/built up land, agricultural land, rangeland, forest land, water, wetland, barren land, tundra, and perennial snow and ice.

F) Shaded Relief Map
Shows the shape of the terrain in a realistic fashion by depicting how the 3D surface would be illuminated from a point light source, also known as hill-shading. Topographic maps are 2D.

G) Cadastral Map
Displays the boundaries and ownership of land parcels. Some may show details like survey district names, identifying numbers for parcels, location of existing structures, section or lot numbers, street names, and boundary dimensions.

H) Soil Map
Shows the diversity of soil types and/or soil properties (soil pH, textures, organic matter, depths of horizons, etc.) in the area of interest and produced following a soil survey.

I) Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
Detailed maps of U.S. cities and towns in the 19th and 20th centuries. Originally published by The Sanborn Map Company for fire insurance companies. Maps include outlines of each building, street names, house numbers, fire walls, building use, the composition of building materials, locations of fire hydrants, water and gas mains, some building names.