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I adore cartography and the minutia that comes with it. The precise clean lines, the overlays of data, the legend/key, the compass rose, and the wealth of knowledge it conveys in pictorial format. It is simply a different way of communicating.

I recently found the computer file that was accumulating information on the 19th century. In it, I rediscovered this JISC site detailing the glorious city of London using interactive maps to overlay data from as far back as the 1700s. It is a delightful site to fiddle with. It also provides links to other historical documents about the London street or building of your choice. Of course, some articles and documents are “locked” and unable to be access, but the available files offer a plethora of information.

I still would love the opportunity to spread out a map on an old wooden table and be allowed to pour over it for days; scrutinizing the images and data. Quite some time has passed since I have done that. The irony is I have the utmost difficulty using maps for practical reasons, such as finding how to arrive from one destination to the next. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who turn the map as I navigate my way through it. So, I prefer historical maps, so I can witness the changes in the topography, landscape, and derive facts from the folds.

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