Mapping No. 104. Texas

In flipping through random maps in the David Rumsey Collection, I was surprised to see the wide range of topics maps were being used to illustrate. Maps can measure historic territory, wars, topography, sailing routes, climate, religion, and so much more. I ultimately georectified a map of Texas (No. 104. Texas), published by Carl Flemming in 1859, because I was curious to see how close the familiar shape of Texas could be from 1859 to present day. As a lot of Texas’s border lies on rivers and other bodies of water, the overlay stage raised questions as to whether the inconsistencies could be attributed to human error or evolving landscapes. 

Side by side edit view of No. 104. Texas

Georectifying maps can have a lot of valuable applications. If I lived in Texas, I would love to be able to view historical points inside the same map of my current town or neighborhood to give me more context to local history or landmarks. It would make local history significantly more interesting and give valuable context to historical monuments. That being said, this map did not contain historical information—it actually focused a lot more on bodies of water and landscapes. This did not pair particularly well with the modern map being used, which focuses more on landmarks, cities, and roads rather than topography or smaller rivers. This map could be very useful to earth scientists to study changes in rivers and other water, but maybe less useful without more information to historians.


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