27 July 2014

Old Maps Online

Old Maps Online is a great place to find and view... old maps!

10 July 2014

Is Alaska An Island?

It's easy to make fun of this clip from Facebook. After all, everyone should know that Alaska isn't an island, right?

But looking at this Rand McNally wall map below, it's not hard to imagine. Yes, if you really look at the Alaska inset, you'll see it is attached to Canada -- somewhere. The map offers no context or perspective. This is fairly typical of the maps many of us saw in school.

National Geographic did several important things in the depiction of Alaska on their classic U.S. wall map, below. They show the entire state in one image. Insetting the Aleutians, as above, is not desirable. There's an inset map that demonstrates Alaska's size by overlaying it on an outline map of the lower 48. Without that, you will not understand how huge the state is. Finally, there's the inset in the upper right that shows the continent so you see Alaska completely in context.