Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Maps of Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure Available from Ball State University Libraries



Lost at Sea:  Maps of Shipwrecks Available from Ball State University Libraries

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the sinking of the luxury cruise ship, SS Andrea Doria.  The Italian ship was traveling on a nine-day cruise from Italy to New York City when it collided with another ocean liner off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, on July 25, 1956, sinking the next day.  Over 1,600 passengers and crew were rescued, but 46 people died in one of the worst American maritime disasters.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) has a unique collection of maps of shipwrecks and other disasters at sea.  Marine Disasters of Cape Cod is a map (above, click to enlarge) published by Peter J. Closson identifying many of the shipwrecks around this area near Boston. 

According to the National Park Service, the 50 miles of sea and hidden sandbars off the coast between Chatham and Provincetown, Massachusetts, have been called “an ocean graveyard.”  In just the area between Truro and Wellfleet, “there have been more than 1,000 wrecks.”  One of the wrecks in particular shown on the above map is of the pirate ship of Samuel Bellamy, the Widah.

The GRMC also has maps of shipwrecks in the Florida Keys, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina during the Civil War.  Dive charts of the Great Lakes also include locations of shipwrecks on Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, and Lake Ontario.  And National Geographic published Titanic: Reference Map of the World’s Most Famous Shipwreck in 2012 for its 100th anniversary and the map, Treasures of the World, Lost and Found, in 2001, which identifies sunken treasure around the world.

Maps from the GRMC may be circulated for two weeks or longer.  Special extensions are given to teachers wishing to use maps in the classroom for exhibits or lessons.


For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Monday, July 25, 2016

France, Germany, Philadelphia, and Turkey Maps Available from Ball State University Libraries

Nice, France 1971

Germany Railroads and Highways
United States Office of Strategic Services, 1944

Ottoman Empire including Turkey, 1877


Places in the News:  Turkey, Germany, Philadelphia, and Nice, France

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library includes over 140,000 maps, charts, atlases, and other cartographic resources available for research and learning.  The Collection includes maps of cities and countries around the world, and many of the historic maps have been included in the Libraries’ Digital Media Repository (links above).

For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Mapping Technology of Pokemon GO



The Maps of Pokemon GO

The wildly popular Pokemon GO app game has users possibly learning more about the geography of their surroundings.  This augmented reality game allows players to use their smartphones to catch virtual Pokemon characters found in real world locations using GIS mapping technology.

ESRI, the world’s largest publisher of GIS software, has even included Pokemon GO content to ArcGIS Online.  “The map is intended for user-ran gyms, headquarters, hideouts, and anything Pokemon GO as far as poke locations, etc.”

Mapping enthusiasts and GIS users have been publishing articles about the exact mapping technology used by the games creator, Niantic.  “Pokemon GO and GIS” begins the discussion with some of the staff of ESRI.  Mapbox features an article related to augmented reality mapping by Saman Bemel Benrud, “The Playful Design of Pokemon GO Maps.”  And Spatineo researched whether the developers of the game used OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.  And Forbes considers whether augmented reality gaming could be used to engage the public in preservation in the field of archaeology.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) consolidates one-on-one research assistance from the GIS Specialist with the GIS Research Area, which offers access to ESRI GIS software and online tutorials, datasets, online mapping applications, and in-house GIS data.  GIS software is also available throughout Bracken Library, the Architecture Library, and in the Science-Health Science Library.


For more information about using GIS software, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Using Maps in the Elementary Classroom to Teach History with Literature





Plots and Plats:  Mapping Children’s Literature Books

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) is creating maps based on children’s books.  The GRMC is collaborating with Dr. Dorshell Stewart’s social studies elementary teaching methods classes this summer to create unique maps based on popular children’s books.  The maps can enhance the stories and teach more about the places and events related to the books.

Students in the Social Science 397 class select a youth book, many available in the Educational Technology and Resources Collection in the lower level of Bracken Library.  The students create lesson plans based on the book, and part of the lesson must incorporate the use of a map.  The staff of the GRMC assist students creating unique maps related to the book.

One student created a map based on the book When Marian Sang by Brian Selznick and Pam Munoz Ryan.  The map identifies the cities where Marian Anderson sang, with the highlight concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939.  Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris Jordan is another book selected for the project.  A simple map was created of the United States marking the locations of Chicago, Illinois, and North Carolina. 

Large copies of the maps can be printed using the plotter in the GRMC on the second floor of Bracken Library.  Then the students can use the maps in their classrooms when they become teachers.

The GRMC is creating maps for the project and adding the maps to the Libraries’ Collection.  The latest map (above, click to enlarge) created by the GRMC for the series is based on the book Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey.  The book tells the story of the “Green Books” used by African-American travelers during the time of segregation.  The Negro Travelers’ Green Book was published by Victor Green beginning in 1936 and ending in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act.  These guide books listed restaurants, hotels, and other services that were available for Blacks when traveling across the country during the era of Jim Crow laws.

 The New York Public Library has a collection of the books available from their Digital Collections.  And the University of South Carolina has an interactive online map based on the establishments listed in the 1956 book.  The GRMC used this edition of the book to create a map marking the locations of the cities that had at least one restaurant, hotel, or other business listed in the Green Book, a little known part of Indiana and Black history.  And photographs from the Digital Media Repository were included on the map.

The map is available in digital format from the Ball State University Libraries’ Cardinal Scholar, and the original paper map may be circulated from the GRMC.  (The digital map includes hyperlinks to the New York Public Library Digital Collections set of Green Books and to the University of South Carolina online interactive map of the 1956 Green Book).

The GRMC has included other books and maps related to Indiana in commemoration of the state’s Bicentennial this year.  The GRMC has created maps based on books about Amelia Earhart and her connection to the state, astronaut Gus Grissom, and the Marquis de Lafayette.  And the map, Wheels: Indiana Bicycle Manufacturers, 1889-1900, identifies the Indiana cities with bicycle factories during the time of its popular craze at the turn of the 20th century.  This map is related to the popular children’s book, Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History by Sue Stauffacher.

Other maps in the children’s book series include maps about Babe Ruth, Sojourner Truth, Jesse Owens, Japanese internment camps, First Ladies of the United States, and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

For more information about creating custom maps for education and learning, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ghostbusters Map of New York City

Anthony Petrie's New York City Ghostbusters Service Map






Summer Travel Goals:  Ghostbusters Map of New York City

Tomorrow marks the opening of the new “Ghostbusters” movie.  The 1984 version of the film includes many iconic locations around the city of New York, including the New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center, and Tavern on the Green.  Fans of the movie can now identify exact locations shown in the movie with Curbed New York’s “Ultimate Ghostbusters Map Guide to New York City.”

Users can click on numbered locations on a Google map of the city of New York.  A photograph of the spot from the movie is included and updated information about the location is provided.  For example, Dana (Sigourney Weaver) and Louis (Rick Moranis) live in the building 55 Central Park West.  In the original movie, this location is called “Spook Central” supposedly designed by Ivo Shandor.  However, according to Curbed New York, the building “is shorter and less menacing” and “is surrounded by more buildings” in real life.  (See Google StreetView above).

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library includes a large collection of convenient travel maps of New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other popular summer tourist destinations.  The Collection includes “Popout maps” that are waterproof, laminated maps that fold up to pocket size and “iMaps” that include a working compass for getting bearings in the city (above).  The maps are great for taking along on summer trips or simply for planning a summer getaway.

One of the newest travel additions to the GRMC is a set of Lonely Planet City Trails books.  The GRMC has a copy for New York City, Paris, and London.  The New York version includes colorful illustrations and information about unique places to visit and includes a section on movies taking place in New York (above, click to enlarge).

Maps from the GRMC check out for two weeks or longer.  For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Holiday Hours at Ball State University Libraries

Philadelphia, 1776
Historic Urban Plans, 
Ball State University Libraries'
GIS Research and Map Collection


The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) will be closed on Monday, July 4 for Independence Day.  The GRMC will reopen on Tuesday, July 5 at 7:30 am.

Map of John Dillinger Robberies Available from Ball State University Libraries


Indiana Crime History:  Map of John Dillinger Robberies

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) is commemorating the bicentennial birthday of the state of Indiana with each “Map of the Month” window display.  The “Map of the Month” is featured in the GRMC windows on the second floor of Bracken Library.  The July exhibit features a map of the robberies of Indiana native John Dillinger.

Public Enemies:  Robberies of the John Dillinger Gang (above, click to enlarge) was created by the GRMC in 2009 to commemorate the opening of the Johnny Depp movie, “Public Enemies.”  The movie is based on the book by Bryan Burrough Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-1934 (available in the General Collection of Bracken Library).  The movie focuses on the legendary bank robber John Dillinger, who became America’s first “Public Enemy Number One.”

The map is also based on information from Burrough’s book and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Historic Famous Cases Web page.  The map marks the locations of reported robberies of John Dillinger and his gang beginning with a robbery in Daleville, Indiana, in the summer of 1933.  The map follows Dillinger’s activities through his death the following summer.

A copy of the map is available in PDF-format from the Ball State University Libraries Cardinal Scholar repository.  Two copies of the map are available for circulation from the GRMC and may be used for exhibits or research.  (Maps from the GRMC circulate for two weeks or longer).

For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

European Union Maps and Historical Reference



Maps in the News: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

British voters are deciding today whether to leave or remain in the European Union (EU).  Polls are showing that the voters are fairly evenly split on this “Brexit” (British + exit) vote.  The EU is a political and economic union of 28 member states using standardized trade, immigration, and monetary laws.


The European Union was officially established in 1993.  However, Europe has a long history of unions and large empires.  The Washington Post has created this cartographic analysis of the history of the control of Europe, including a map of the current members of the European Union (above, click to enlarge).

Monday, June 20, 2016

Wall Street Journal Interactive Electoral College Map


You Decide the Election:  Interactive Electoral College Map

The Wall Street Journal has created an online interactive Electoral College map for the November 2016 presidential election.  The Web page displays a cartogram with a box for each state’s electoral votes, or users can switch to a geographic map of the states.  (On the map, scroll over each state to see how many electors are available).  The cartogram/map depicts the results from the 2012 election, where President Obama received 332 electoral votes and Mitt Romney received 206 votes (270 electoral votes are needed to win the election).

Users can then click on each state to change the results from Republican to Democrat or vice versa to forecast the results of the 2016 election.  The creators of the map made switching the results of battleground states quick and easy, but changing the results of historically partisan states (like California and Texas) is more difficult to switch.


The page then details some of the historic information involving the Electoral College and the presidential elections.  The results of the 2012 election are described in relation to the ten states considered battleground states.  A chart showing Electoral votes by voting pattern since 2000 is provided with bases interpreted.  A review of the ten states with the narrowest margins of victory is shown, with Florida and North Carolina being the two closest elections.  A review of Republican-targeted “overwhelmingly white states of the industrial Midwest” is detailed, and demographic-targeted states for the Democrats like Georgia and Arizona are also considered.  Finally a map of polling and ratings data is provided.  (Tabs at the top of the page display each map).