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[Detail] Bird's eye view of Anniston, Ala. 1888.

Historical Research Capabilities

View of Baltimore City, Md., from the North lith. & print by E. Sachse & Co.

View of Baltimore City, Maryland from the North, E. Sachse & Co., Publisher, 1862.

Historical inquiry depends on the ability to formulate interesting questions and define topics worthy of investigation. Panoramic Maps, 1847-1929, provides materials that challenge us to do just that. The collection suggests questions such as:

  • To what extent does the mapmaker help to shape history?
  • Did panoramic mapmakers actually help to populate the urban centers that they depicted as vibrant and growing?
  • Is the goal of the panoramic mapmaker vastly different from that of any other mapmaker -- a military cartographer, for example?

Place a panoramic map alongside a military map and examine the different ways in which they present similar data. Here are two maps of the Baltimore, Maryland area. What are the similarities and differences between the military map on the left, from the collection Civil War Maps, and the panoramic map on the right?

The following collections will provide useful examples of military maps that may be compared to typical panoramic maps.

Military map, Baltimore Co., Md. Compiled from the best authorities and corrected by actual survey under the direction of Col. W. F. Raynolds A.D.C., Chief Eng. 8th Army Corps. Drawn and lithographed in the office of the Chief Eng., 8th Army Corps, by Geo. Kaiser, Pvt. 10th N.Y. Vols.

Military Map, Baltimore County, Maryland, Pvt. Geo. Kaiser, Mapmaker, 1863.

There are only a few panoramic maps that depict nineteenth-century military encampments. See, for example, a bird's-eye view of Camp Chase near Columbus, Ohio; Fort Collins in Colorado; or Fort Reno in Oklahoma Territory.