Michigan State University Map Library

Categories: Atlases & Maps, Featured, FeaturedPage, FeaturedSingle, Web Archives: Links To & Samples From Other Internet Collections
Written By: John

Most Libraries have map collections of one sort or another. Some, such as the Library of Congress (LOC), have digitized such a vast number that it seems as though you could never browse through them all. The LOC is also so big as to be unwieldy at times, and they archive their images in an assortment of formats which are sometimes cumbersome to download and convert in to a more easily readable form.

Smaller collections such as Michigan State University’s are often more focussed, and when you are lucky they even offer good sized images. I say “smaller” when in fact, to quote their website:

“The Map Library houses a collection of general and thematic maps and atlases for every area of the world. The collection consists of approximately 212,000 sheet maps, 14,000 folded geologic maps, and 4,000 atlases, gazetteers and other reference aids including wall maps, globes, CDs and Internet-accessible resources. The collection is especially strong in Michigan, United States, Canada, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, though all areas are collected at some level. Specialized collections include 19th-21st century Michigan county atlases and plat books; a small Braille map and atlas collection of U.S. states and continents; and Michigan Flood Insurance Rate Maps. The sheet map collection includes maps from the 17th to 21st centuries. A major portion of the sheet map collection consists of United States Geological Survey and U.S. Department of Defense products received through government depository programs. Many foreign topographic maps series are also collected, acquired by purchase and through Library of Congress map exchange programs. Other maps include foreign and domestic city and road maps, and maps from magazine subscriptions such as Petroleum Economist and National Geographic. Most supplementary maps from books in the Main Library are also housed in the Map Library.”

Too frequently when you discover a good archive all you can see are small thumbnails, or zoomable images which cannot be downloaded. Here though, although only a miniscule portion is digitized, those maps that are available are great quality and offered as a quick download in JPEG format as a link on the zoomable Zoomify Viewer page. This is the kind of user friendly map page that I wish more collections would offer.

I came across their Online Map Collection when I was cataloging and uploading my own African maps from various atlases. Following are some samples from their African collection. I have somewhat smaller images here, but on their site you can get them at their full scale.

Map of Africa, Mitchell 1867

Map of Africa, Mitchell 1867

Africa, J. H. Colton 1876

Africa, J. H. Colton 1876

Afrique, Lamirault 1886

Afrique (Africa), Lamirault 1886

Afrika Politische Übersicht, Meyers 1892

Afrika Politische Übersicht (Africa - Political Overview), Meyers 1892

Aquatorial-Afrika (Equatorial Africa), Meyers 1892

Aquatorial-Afrika (Equatorial Africa), Meyers 1892

Ober-Guinea und West-Sudan (Upper Guinea and Wester Sudan)

Ober-Guinea und West-Sudan (Upper Guinea and Wester Sudan), Meyers 1892

Algerien, Marokko und Tunis (Algeria, Morocco and Tunis - Tunisia)

Algerien, Marokko und Tunis (Algeria, Morocco and Tunis - Tunisia), Meyers 1892

Agyptenin Darfur und Abessinien (Egypt Darfur and Abyssinia), Meyers 1892

Agyptenin Darfur und Abessinien (Egypt Darfur and Abyssinia), Meyers 1892

Map of Africa, I. F. Andreevskago 1890

Map of Africa, I. F. Andreevskago 1890

Map of Africa, I. F. Andreevskago 1890

Map of Africa, I. F. Andreevskago 1890

Africa Population, J. G. Bartholomew 1913 / J. M. Dent & Sons

Africa Population, J. G. Bartholomew 1913 / J. M. Dent & Sons

Africa Religions & Missions, J. G. Bartholomew 1913 / J. M. Dent & Sons

Africa Religions & Missions, J. G. Bartholomew 1913 / J. M. Dent & Sons

Africa - Political, J. G. Bartholomew / Meiklejohn 1922

Africa - Political, J. G. Bartholomew / Meiklejohn 1922

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