It’s now time for cartography geeks to triumph! Why? The David Rumsey Map Center has been unveiled by the Green Library of Stanford University. It’s actually an accumulation of more than 150000 globes, atlases, maps and other historical treasures given by asenior real estate developer. You can surely find a map illustration that fits your research needs.
The geospatial librarian of the New York Public Library, Matt Knutzen tells National Geographic Greg Miller, “It’s actually one of the largest map collections around. What makes it more appealing is having the collection accessible for public use.”
It has always been Rumsey’s reason to collect maps since the mid-1980s. He used to be a real estate developer for the Atlantic Philanthropies for 20 years, and made sufficient collections just enough to retire at age 50. By 1999, he realized that his map collections have not only grown bigger, but was also full of uncommon pictures which many can be interested in. He chose to digitize the collection and upload the images online. It was about a time when dial-up connection was still common. However, many users online found the access to the maps quite difficult. To challenge himself, Rumsey founded a new company named Luna Imaging. It developed a software to offer a new way to display huge images, which is currently utilized in many museums and libraries around the world.
Rumsey preserved his map illustration digitally to DavidRumsey.com, which now hosts around 67000 images. At age 71 however, he planned to turn over the actual and digital collection of the images to Stanford.
Physical copies of the donated globes and maps are currently featured in the center. Nick Stockton tells the Wired that Its largest attraction is the innovated giant touch screen display, which many researchers can zoom in the digitized maps.
Other institutions and universities have also housed world-class map collections. But the curator and director of the David Rumsey Map Center, G. Salim Muhammed, points out that Stanford is the very first to integrate map centers with modern technology for research applications.
How students and researchers can utilize the sophisticated map illustration collection remain to be seen; however, Rumsey is very positive. He tells Miller that the future should determine its place.