Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"A Second Life for Old Maps"

Okay, before we get to the good stuff, dear readers, let me stop and ask you..."How fabulous is this hat!?"

Lovely hat I picked up at BaoBa...

Hee hee.  Now back to our regular programming.  It's been a hectic two weeks since my last post - my laptop keyboard decided to go on strike, I caught a bad cold...meow, meow, complain, complain.  Today, however, I was finally able to escape onto the grid and get back to my bucket list of libraries to visit...and boy, did I pick a good one!

Wall of Maps

The David Rumsey Maps Collection in Second Life is an incredible library featuring old maps exhibited in a new and dynamic way.  David Rumsey (SL Map Darwin) began collecting his historical maps in the earliy eighties and it has grown into one of the largest private map collections in the United States.  In the mid-nineties, he began digitizing his maps so that he could create widespread access for the public.  He now has over 26,000 maps online, which users are free to examine and use for private study or educational purposes.

David Rumsey Maps Welcome Center

The landing point for his sim is the Welcome Center.  Laid out before the entrance is a large world map stuck with bright red push pins - an interactive opportunity for visitors to find their hometown and, in 160 words or less, share something special about it.  On the 2nd floor of the center, a video presentation is available where visitors can learn more about the David Rumsey Map Collection, both in RL & SL, and the fine technical details behind his SL build.

World Globe 1790 & Celestial Globe 1792

 Hanging in the air just across from the center are two globes; one features a world map and the other features a celestial map.  Through the magic of Second Life, not only can you zoom in to examine particular areas of the globes, but you can also fly straight into them to examine them from a whole new perspective!

Perched on the orrey inside the globe

Although the collection features maps from Oceania, Europe, Asia, and Africa, the primary focus is on the Americas from the 18th and 19th centuries.  In Second Life, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite are two such American treasures that have been highlighted in a three-dimensional presentation best experienced within the virtual world environment.

Grand Canyon in 3D splendor

Another highlight is a map of New York in 1836.  It was quite an amazing sensation for me to stride across the map, covering ground between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building in a few mere steps.  Equally exhilarating was the opportunity to interact with the map using the mouseview feature, giving me a chance to explore the map from "street level".

New York 1836

Well, I think that's all for now, dear readers, as I wouldn't want to take all the fun out of exploring David Rumsey Maps for yourself.  Oh, and if you happen to wear a fabulous hat of your own on your fabulous journey there, email it to me - who knows, I might feature you on a future post!

~ 'Til our next adventure,

SLURL:  http://slurl.com/secondlife/Rumsey%20Maps%203/116/75/55/

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