A wrench was thrown into the gears of our maps digitization and GIS teams on March 16, 2020 when the shelter-in-place order was announced, and we entered the period of great uncertainty. Without access to the physical maps and digitization lab, our intense commitment to digitizing any map out of copyright was brought to a standstill, and our focus shifted to optimizing the remote experience for working, teaching, and learning.
As a nation, we came to learn just how frustratingly unprepared we were for a global pandemic, but our maps digitization team had one small comfort amongst the confusion: we were gloriously prepared with a significant amount of digitized cartographic content.
With a seemingly endless stream of maps to be carefully digitized by a limited staff, we experience love at first sight day in and day out only to never have enough time to really bask in those feelings. But with routine standing still, we suddenly found ourselves with time. Time to lose ourselves in the details of the maps we had been so diligently digitizing for years. Time to figure out how we could share our privilege with the world in a way that spoke to our interests.
The maps viewable in this exhibit are personal favorites, and the symbologies highlighted are those that made our hearts skip a beat. They are not only inspiration for our own personal creative endeavors but also for the creators that came before us and our contemporaries, and we now share this with you in hopes that you also fall deeply into these details and find yourself inspired.