Friday, February 09, 2007

Rotating Monthly Map Display is Popular Feature on Bracken Library’s Second Floor

The Ball State University Libraries’ Geospatial Center and Map Collection (GCMC) is an integrated GIS lab and map collection, which contains a wide range of geospatial materials, including over 145,000 paper maps, atlases, and GIS data. The University Libraries are a depository for maps from the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Defense Mapping Agency, U.S. National Ocean Service, and Indiana Geological Survey.*

Each month, Melissa S. Gentry, Map Collection Assistant, creates a window display by using the large glass wall that encases the GCMC. These monthly rotating displays tie into a special interest feature or a national commemoration. A staple display is “Map of the Month.” These are additional maps featured on a relevant theme or current event. Melissa says people often stop in to compliment the interesting map displays. These rotating displays have introduced many students to the fascinating and interesting world of maps and geospatial media tools.

To visit the GCMC on the Web, view

A sampling of the displays include:

January: The State of the World on January 1, 1000 A.D. This world map displayed the types of food, construction, different religions, and other cultural factors represented at that time.

February: Harlem Renaissance. This map featured authors and artists popular during the Harlem Renaissance. The display commemorated Black History Month. Also displayed in February were maps showing Olympic venues in Torino, Italy and a display of all the maps donated by former Ball State President Richard Burkhardt, which commemorated Presidents’ Day.

March: Travelers’ Map of Ireland. This map celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day. Also shown in March to commemorate Women’s History Month were maps showing the home states of female members of Congress.

April: Titanic Reference Map. This map described the fateful voyage of the British luxury passenger liner Titanic on April 14-15, 1912, and a map marking the birthplaces of all of the Kentucky Derby winners, an event since 1875 held at Churchill Downs in Lexington, Kentucky.

September: World Terrorism Reference Map. This map showed locations of terrorist activity around the world.

November: The Grand Exchange Map. To mark Thanksgiving, this map describing the exchange of products and crops between the Americas and Europe was displayed. For National Geography Awareness Week, the theme was “Celebrate Africa,” so a display featuring several maps of Africa was presented.

For more information, contact Melissa S. Gentry, Ball State University Libraries’ Map Collection Assistant,, (765) 285-1097.

*More about the map collection: The collection of international maps includes Defense Mapping Agency topographic maps, road and tourist maps and city plans, thematic maps from governmental and commercial sources, CIA general reference maps, and national topographic map series of Canada. The collection of world maps includes topographic, aeronautical, and nautical maps, National Geographic Society maps, and historic urban plans for major cities. All of these types of maps are of interest to students who check them out for class presentations about the environment, sports, natural disasters, and other academic or leisure topics.


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