Thursday, June 23, 2016

European Union Maps and Historical Reference



Maps in the News: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

British voters are deciding today whether to leave or remain in the European Union (EU).  Polls are showing that the voters are fairly evenly split on this “Brexit” (British + exit) vote.  The EU is a political and economic union of 28 member states using standardized trade, immigration, and monetary laws.


The European Union was officially established in 1993.  However, Europe has a long history of unions and large empires.  The Washington Post has created this cartographic analysis of the history of the control of Europe, including a map of the current members of the European Union (above, click to enlarge).

Monday, June 20, 2016

Wall Street Journal Interactive Electoral College Map


You Decide the Election:  Interactive Electoral College Map

The Wall Street Journal has created an online interactive Electoral College map for the November 2016 presidential election.  The Web page displays a cartogram with a box for each state’s electoral votes, or users can switch to a geographic map of the states.  (On the map, scroll over each state to see how many electors are available).  The cartogram/map depicts the results from the 2012 election, where President Obama received 332 electoral votes and Mitt Romney received 206 votes (270 electoral votes are needed to win the election).

Users can then click on each state to change the results from Republican to Democrat or vice versa to forecast the results of the 2016 election.  The creators of the map made switching the results of battleground states quick and easy, but changing the results of historically partisan states (like California and Texas) is more difficult to switch.


The page then details some of the historic information involving the Electoral College and the presidential elections.  The results of the 2012 election are described in relation to the ten states considered battleground states.  A chart showing Electoral votes by voting pattern since 2000 is provided with bases interpreted.  A review of the ten states with the narrowest margins of victory is shown, with Florida and North Carolina being the two closest elections.  A review of Republican-targeted “overwhelmingly white states of the industrial Midwest” is detailed, and demographic-targeted states for the Democrats like Georgia and Arizona are also considered.  Finally a map of polling and ratings data is provided.  (Tabs at the top of the page display each map).

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

National Parks Maps Available Online





Happy Campers:  National Parks Maps Available Online


Over 1,000 high-resolution national park maps are now available to view, save, and download for free.  The Web page is not officially affiliated with the National Park Service, but the site offers an organized resource for accessing the maps.

Matt Holly, a ranger at the National Park Service’s Natural Resource Stewardship Science Directorate in Colorado, has been uploading the maps since 2013.  The site includes general park maps, trail maps, topographic maps, camping maps, nautical charts, and guides to local geology and archaeology.  The maps are organized alphabetically and by state.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library is a federal government depository, so it receives national park maps and nautical charts from the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior, the Central Intelligence Agency, and other government map publishers.  The maps in the GRMC are available for circulation for two weeks or longer.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Muhammad Ali Career in Maps



Maps in the News:  GIS Map Gallery of Muhammad Ali’s Boxing Career

ESRI, the world’s leading producer of Geographic Information System (GIS) software, has created a Story Map featuring highlights from the late Muhammad Ali’s boxing career.  The Story Map includes maps, photographs, and videos beginning with the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. 

Maps include the sites of his professional boxing matches, the home countries of Ali’s opponents, and a map depicting the number of rounds for each fight.  The last map features photographs from the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress detailing Ali’s nine most historic moments, including video from his first professional fight.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) consolidates one-on-one research assistance from the GIS Specialist with the GIS Research Area, which offers access to ESRI GIS software and online tutorials, datasets, online mapping applications, and in-house GIS data.  GIS software is also available throughout Bracken Library, the Architecture Library, and in the Science-Health Science Library.

For more information about using GIS software, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Grissom Map Available from Ball State University Libraries



New Gus Grissom Map from Ball State University Libraries Coordinates with Indianapolis Children’s Museum Space Exploration Exhibit

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) has created a new map based on the life of Indiana astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom in honor of the state’s bicentennial anniversary.  The map, First Team: Gus Grissom and the Tragedy of Apollo I, is based on the youth book, Gus Grissom: The Tragedy of Apollo I, by Robert Greenberger (available from the Educational Technology and Resources Collection in the lower level of Bracken Library).

The map includes important locations in the life of Gus Grissom, who was born in Mitchell, Indiana, and attended Purdue University.  Grissom was chosen as an original Mercury Seven astronaut in 1959.  He was the second American to fly in space and the first astronaut to fly in space twice in both the Mercury and Gemini programs.  Grissom was chosen to command the first Apollo mission, but the space module burned during a pre-launch test in January of 1967, killing all three astronauts on the Launchpad in Cape Canaveral (then Cape Kennedy).

The map identifies where Grissom was stationed in the Air Force, where the Mercury Seven astronauts experienced survival training, where Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 space capsule splashed down and sunk off the coast of Florida in 1961, and the locations of the Gus Grissom Memorial and his burial site, Arlington National Cemetery.

The Indianapolis Children’s Museum opens a new exhibit on June 25, Beyond Spaceship EarthThis exhibit tells the story of the American space program beginning with Project Mercury and includes an “Indiana Astronaut Wall of Fame,” celebrating the many astronauts and engineers from the state, including Gus Grissom. 

The new Schaefer Planetarium and Space Object Theater will display Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 capsule on loan from the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center (shown on the map) where the capsule was restored after being recovered in 1999.  The exhibit is included with the cost of admission.

The Grissom map is available in digital format from the Libraries’ Cardinal Scholar repository, and a paper version of the map may be circulated from the GRMC on the second floor of Bracken Library.


For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Friday, June 03, 2016

D-Day Maps Available from Ball State University








D-Day Maps Available from Ball State University Libraries

Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day invasion by Allied Forces on the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6.  Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) includes several original maps and historical reproductions of the D-Day invasion.

One of the D-Day maps in the Collection is a Michelin map published in 1947.  The map features a detailed depiction of the major military actions at Normandy printed in French and English.

The GRMC also houses several maps produced by the Office of Strategic Services (intelligence agency) in 1943 prior to the invasion.  These maps show the locations of roads, railroads, ports, and other locations used for planning the invasion and other fronts of  World War II.  The map of northwest Normandy (above, click to enlarge) identifies roads.

The Army Information Branch in New York published newspaper-type maps during World War II, and the GRMC includes several original “Newsmaps.”  The photographs above from these maps show American and Canadian troops landing on the beaches of Normandy—Canadians with bicycles.  These photographs were included in the “Newsmap” published for the week of June 8, 1944.  The map showing southern Great Britain and the northern coast of France is part of a map included in the same edition of the “Newsmap.”  (Many news readers followed along with the events of the War with these special maps, and this particular map has handwritten dates and locations marked in red pencil).

The GRMC also includes a reproduction map of a reconnaissance aerial photograph (above) of troops landing on Omaha Beach.  Landing craft can be seen along the beach and reinforced German lines are shown at the top.

All maps from the GRMC circulate for two weeks or longer.  For more information, please visit or contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097 from 7:30 to 4:30 pm on the second floor of Bracken Library.

Indiana History Celebrated with Maps



Map of the Month:  Heroes of the American Revolution

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) has a “Map of the Month” exhibit in the windows on the second floor of Bracken Library featuring a unique map from the collection.  For 2016, each map will be related to Indiana history as a celebration of the state’s bicentennial anniversary on December 11.

The “Map of the Month” for June is Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette.  This map was created by the GRMC in collaboration with a social studies teaching methods class.  Students in Dr. Dorshell Stewart’s Social Science 397 class are learning to create maps based on popular children’s books.  This map was created using locations mentioned in the book by the same name by Selena Castrovilla.  (The youth book is available from the Educational Technology and Resources Collection in the lower level of Bracken Library).

The Marquis de Lafayette became a hero during the Revolutionary War.  The native of France volunteered to help Americans fight for independence.  Lafayette returned to the United States in 1824 and visited every state in the new Union.  Hundreds of places are named Lafayette in his honor, including Lafayette, Indiana.  The city was platted and named during the Marquis de Lafayette’s tour, although he never visited the city.

The map is available in digital format from the Ball State University Libraries’ Cardinal Scholar and the original paper map may be circulated from the GRMC.  (Other maps in the children’s book series include maps about Babe Ruth, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Blackwell, the Underground Railroad, and the Japanese internment camps of World War II).


 For more information about using maps in the classroom or in the study of Indiana history, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Hiroshima Maps Available from Ball State University Libraries





Map legend

Maps in the News:  Hiroshima, Japan

Today U.S. President Barack Obama will be the first sitting President to visit the city of Hiroshima following World War II.  The President’s trip coincides with the G7 Summit in Japan.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) includes a large collection of city plans published by the Army Map Service during World War II.  The maps were used for strategic planning during the war, and the GRMC collection includes critical cities throughout Europe, Northern Africa, and Asia.  These maps include the locations of railroads, roads, temples, schools, and topographic contours.

The map above (click to enlarge) is a portion of the Hiroshima Prefecture map published in 1945.  The map indicates the areas of bombing damage with red lines (completely destroyed) and red dots (partially destroyed).  The map includes detailed locations of military buildings, hospitals, factories, and power lines.  The map is based on a 1933 map published by the Japanese Imperial Land Survey with updated military intelligence from 1945. 

The second map is a zoomed area showing the location of the Gembaku Dome—shown on the map as “Commercial Display Hall.”  This was one of the only remaining buildings near the hypocenter of the atomic bomb and was left untouched.  Today the structure is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.  The park was the site of Obama’s address today.


The Army Map Service maps circulate from the GRMC for research and learning.  Maps from the GRMC circulate for two weeks or longer.  For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.