Mapping is an ancient practice that has always been a hallmark of human civilization. Maps played a crucial role in opening up the world by enabling people to traverse geographical boundaries looking for resources and opportunities.
Today, mapping methods have changed. Thanks to technological advances have brought new generation maps with them. Still, ancients maps are preserved by different societies that take pride in their past. These maps, also known as historical maps, have great value even though they are not used for directions anymore.
Defining Historical Maps
These maps were created in the early days of mapping. Generally, maps from the first half of the 20th Century and earlier are considered historical. They were constructed using old drawing methods which pale in comparison compared to what we have today. Hence, they may not be of great navigational value today.
Still, they can serve a significant role in teaching history. For instance, these maps show the different migration routes used by societies of old. They are used to trace the migration patterns and possible reasons for migrations in various communities. Some historians also use them to figure out factors that led to prosperity (or lack of it) in some regions.
These maps can also be used for comparison purposes. For instance, by looking at the land area that was occupied at the time of drawing the map and current occupation patterns, one can make an informed judgment about development in the area of study.
Where to Find Historical Maps
Most nations have their historical maps stored in museums, regarded as artifacts, and stored as archives. Copies of the same can be found in major libraries. Today, digital preservation of maps has become popular. Most of the custodian bodies of historical maps are creating online versions that the public can access remotely.