David Rumsey Map Center, cataloging historical works

The David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford houses hundreds of thousands of maps dating back to the 1500s. Andres Picon for San Francisco Chronicle wrote about the collection:

At the heart of that endeavor is the digitization of Rumsey’s vast physical collection, a project he began in the late 1990s when he launched davidrumsey.com, a constantly growing aggregation of about 112,000 digitized historical maps from his personal inventory. Rumsey, 77, is in the process of donating his entire map collection — more than 200,000 physical maps plus the digital ones — to Stanford so that they can be cataloged for the enjoyment of generations to come.

“It’s not only a database; it allows people to get lost inside it, no pun intended,” he said. “If you make it really usable and accessible the way ours is, it just becomes something different.”

For preservation, I wish we saw more of this and less blockchain. Hundreds of years from now, how much visualization work is still viewable?

You can view a large portion of the Rumsey collection here. You can also browse the data visualization tag to see some of the earliest made charts.