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Introduction: Maps are wonderful abstractions, with uses in many academic ... Digital South Asia Maps “Through the Looking Glass”: The approximately 300 ...

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ONLINE INTERACTIVE SOUTH ASIA MAPS: U.S. ARMY MAP SERVICE 1:250,000 SERIES David G. Dickason and Gregory P. Anderson The W.E. Upjohn Center for the Study of Geographical Change College of Arts & Sciences Western Michigan University

Introduction: Maps are wonderful abstractions, with uses in many academic disciplines, institutions, and businesses. As abstractions maps always seem to omit informational details certain map using constituencies wish to know. If the map is old (therefore, “outdated”) then the situation may appear worse, although not necessarily so. Having a sense of what has changed is important and historic maps are helpful even if not comprehensive in the information they portray. We are surprised regularly, however, by the new insights legacy paper maps give when rendered in digital form. Digital South Asia Maps “Through the Looking Glass”: The approximately 300 digital maps described here come from U.S. Army Map Service 1:250,000 scale U502 map series produced 1955-1962. As such, these maps are simplified versions of much more detailed, larger scale, Survey of India maps that were created before World War II – that is, before the independence of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. They are simplified because of their map scale representing nearly 4 miles on the ground per inch on the map. The maps also benefited from selective information updates derived from aerial photographic surveys after the Survey of India maps were created. This map series is well known and as a U.S. government product is in the public domain (i.e., copyright free). Stored in Western Michigan University’s Map Library, these maps were imaged hyper-accurately using The W.E. Upjohn Center’s proprietary non-destructive scanners. Imaging was carried out at 500 ppi (true optical) using the Center’s flat bed scanners that provided a geometric positional (x-y) accuracy of