The Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress recently mounted the 10,000th map on its Web site at www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/. This milestone comes 10 years after the division started digitizing maps in 1996.
The map is Samuel de Champlain's 1607 chart on vellum of the North American coast from Nova Scotia to Massachusetts, pictured below. The unique document, originally intended for presentation to Henry IV, King of France, was compiled by Champlain (1567–1635), founder of New France (Canada). The map provides the first thorough delineation of the Canadian and New England coast from Cape Sable to Cape Cod.
"I am pleased to announce the posting of our 10,000th cartographic object on the Web. This achievement recognizes the great strides that the Geography and Map Division has made in the past 10 years to share digital images of its analog collection globally," said John Hébert, chief of the Geography and Maps Division.
"The geographic variety of cartographic treasures that have been chosen to appear on the Web site, from 16th century portolan charts of the Mediterranean world to contemporary maps of places in the news, and from city and county plans to detailed topographical maps and nautical charts, I believe, fosters increased use of maps in research and serves to advance our collective knowledge and appreciation of maps as primary sources," said Hébert.
Champlain's 1607 chart has been frequently described and reproduced in articles and books for many years. It came to the Library of Congress in 1915 with the bequest of Henry Harrisse (1829–1910), the distinguished lawyer, historian, bibliographer and author of "The Discovery of North America," "Bibliotheca Americana Vetustissima" and other scholarly works. It had been owned earlier by Gabriel Marcel. The papers and maps bequeathed by Harrisse are housed in the Rare Book and Special Collections and the Geography and Map divisions of the Library of Congress.
Champlain's map can be viewed at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3321p.ct001431. This image is in wavelet format, which allows the visitor to zoom in and out of the map. The Geography and Map Division's online catalog can be found at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/gmdhome.html.
The Library's Geography and Map Division serves as a major international center for research relating to cartography and geography. Its collection is the largest in the world, with 5.4 million maps, 75,000 atlases, 500 globes, 3,000 three-dimensional objects and thousands of digital files.