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Don’t you just love maps?

January 27, 2012

I follow messages in a state GIS (Geographic Information System) list-serve and in a conversation today followed the link from the message titled “Greatest Paper Map of the United States?” to this site: and subsequently to the source of the map they were discussing — quite a beauty!

I love maps – a passion with its roots springing from my early Boy Scouting days, to extensive training in the Hudson Highlands surrounding the US Military Academy, to extended field use as a Forward Observer with the US Army Field Artillery.  I love the maps for their beauty, but also for the functionality and key information that can be derived from good ones – like the kind of topographic 1:50,000 scale maps I lived by while navigating the countryside and Artillery ranges in West Germany several decades ago.  Not only were the maps key, but the now fading requirement to be expert with an Army issue lensatic compass was a carefully honed skill.  I own one today and take it with me on any bike ride or hiking adventure — and a good compass is an essential part of my car’s emergency kit as well.  While these tools have virtually been replaced with ever less expensive GPS devices, the enhanced geographic awareness one attains after achieving some mastery of compass and map, or nautical charts and compass navigation, is worth pursuing, not to mention enjoying the special beauty found in using or displaying a map or chart. 


From → Navigation, Sailing

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