Excerpt from GRMC map of the life of Margaret Hamilton
Moonshot: Celebrating an (Overlooked) Apollo Legend on a Map
On this day in 1936, Margaret Heafield was born in Paoli, Indiana. By 1963, Margaret Heafield Hamilton worked as the Director of the Software Engineering Division at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She led a team credited with developing the onboard guidance and navigation software for the Apollo space program. In fact, Hamilton actually coined the term “software engineering.”
Hamilton’s achievement was essentially overlooked by the history books. However, in 2016 President Barack Obama awarded Hamilton the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. Also in 2016, the Lego Group announced the creation of a set of toy figures called “The Women of NASA” that features Margaret Hamilton.
The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) created a set of custom maps celebrating various topics in Indiana history for the state’s bicentennial anniversary in 2016. The set includes maps about the lives of Indiana heroes like Hamilton, Gus Grissom, and Marshall “Major” Taylor. The map featuring events in Hamilton’s life is called Moonshot: The Margaret Hamilton Story. The maps are available for use in classroom teaching or educational exhibits.
For more information about using maps for research, visual aids, or exhibits, please contact the GRMC at765-285-1097.