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The Map Collector

Above: Physical map of the Kamchatka Peninsula from Atlas of the USSR, 1980’s

I have always been a bit obsessed with maps.

My dad started his subscription to National Geographic Magazine back in the 50’s and it went on uninterrupted into the new millennium. When I was a kid, the maps and photographs in those magazines infused my small town world with the colors and textures of life around the globe. In elementary school, my class had a 50 states project where one of the assignments was to draw each state’s shape in our journal …little did I know that this would be far from the last time I would draw a map.

Later on in life, I would spend hours on end flipping through road atlases planning hypothetical road trips to places around the continent. The allure of the unknown in a place name, or a mountain range, or a curvy coastal highway, drove my desire to see many of these new places when traveling around the United States and Canada.

In my late 20’s, after several years of sea kayak guiding, painting, and traveling, I knew that there was something missing in my life. I went back to college and immediately knew that I wanted to study geography.  I had heard of a thing call GIS, and for the first time in my life knew that this was the career route that I was meant to take. My former education in art and design combined with my new degree in geography and GIS coalesced into a career as a cartographer.

Maps are a wonderful medium with which to tell stories and convey information. A good map strips away all of the unnecessary noise of the world and focuses the viewer on it’s purpose – to show a route, to reveal change, or to ask a question. All along the way I have collected many of the maps that have inspired my imagination, caught my eye, or simply have shown me the route that I needed to take.  Below are a few of my favorites.

Glaciers of Africa map, 1960’s

National Geographic Map of Iceland, 1950’s

Yellowstone National Park Geothermal Map
A geothermal map of Yellowstone National Park, early 1900’s

Oregon Forest Types Map
Forest type map of Southwestern Oregon, 1940’s

Aerial Photo of the Confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers
Aerial photograph of the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, 1940’s

A map of Arkangelsk (Archangel), USSR, 1940’s