|Few Americans realize how much geography matters,
according to Donna Urschel at the U.S. Library of Congress in
Linking maps to information digitally allows scientists and analysts
to extract patterns and trends,” said Urschel: “In
defense, climate change, land management, business, politics,
and more. In short,” she concluded, “geographic information
systems (GIS) help manage the world.”
Urschel explained that at the Library of Congress, GIS is used
to examine the past, to learn more about the present, and analyze
any phenomenon that can be spatially imagined.
The Geography and Map Division use GIS and other geographic-and-statistical-modeling
software in projects as varied as tracking the Lincoln-Douglas
Debates to studying the origin of medieval sailing charts,” Urschel
said. “The Congressional Cartography Program uses GIS to
provide Congress with geospatial information regarding legislative
and policy issues,” she added.
The Congressional Cartography Program was established in 2002
at the Library of Congress to respond to congressional inquiries
and requests for geospatial information regarding legislative
issues. CCP serves Congress directly and through the Congressional
Research Service and the G&M Reading Room.
As part of its celebration of Geography Awareness Week, the Library
will celebrate GIS Day on Nov. 19 with demonstrations of how
GIS mapping technology applications can be use to resolve conflicts
in historic maps and charts.
Other Library’s GIS exhibitions include:
Maps relating to important events in President Lincoln’s
Demonstrations of a digital process that rectifies historic maps
and georeference them to contemporary state maps.
Demonstrations of software tools available for data analysis
as applied to population, disease, and geospatial statistics.
The Library of Congress has the largest and most comprehensive
collection of maps and atlases in the world, some 4.8 million
cartographic items that date from the 14th century to the present
time. The Library’s map collections contains coverage for
every country and subject, and include the works of all the famous
mapmakers throughout history—Ptolemy, Waldseemüller,
Mercator, Ortelius, and Blaeu.
For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/.
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