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From Lewis and Clark to Landsat (12 Jun 2005)
To Rumsey, maps are far more than two-dimensional portrayals of landscape; they have the power to send users on intellectual journeys to distant places and long-ago times. Rumsey believes that by using the latest digital technology, we can learn remarkable things about politics, culture, and science, as seen through the eyes of mapmakers. As the Lewis and Clark composite shows, for example, the Indian tribes whose location, size, and economies Clark described with keen anthropological interest would, within half a century, be cast as enemies and herded onto reservations. Putting one map next to another makes such contrasts leap out at the viewer, says Rumsey. "What excites me is context," he says--meaning the ability, using onscreen tools and the Internet, to juxtapose maps from different periods, or even to examine letters and paintings related to the maps.
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