January 2012 Archives

Mapping of Faiths

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When people express something about their personal faith, it usually involves a path.... So my curiosity wondered to what maps we have about faith and/or religions.  Not necessarily the map of how to live your life, but maps of different religions that strive to answer questions about life.  These will not lead you to Heaven.... Nirvana..... or what you decide to call the time after death.  But they can give you details of others and their path through life. 

Maps in our Library:


Some maps show the population concentration of different religions throughout the world and the diversity in specific locations.

Such as this one of Lebanon: here the colors represent the different religions of the local populations.   Sunni - Yellow; Christian - Blue; Druze - red; Shia - Green.  The size of the circle designates the population size.


Other maps show how a religion moved across a geographic location.  And still another shows the outreach in lands where that religion is not indigenous.  This maps shows the population spread of  Baha'l throughout the world.  Only a portion is pictured here.



City maps sometimes show a list of places to worship included with list of their local cultural spots.  Others display the architecture beauty of the Catholic Cathedrals through mapping their location with illustrations of buildings. This map is about America, I personally enjoy the mixture of architecture, history and artistry displayed in it.  Cathedrals are beautifully illustrated across the country  along with the paths Bishops have taken.

catholic america pa.jpg

Online Resources

History of Religion

Pilgrims Map of Kashi (Varanasi) - Sacred location to the Hindu and Janis faiths

Rituals and Stages of the Hajj,  - one of the pillars of the Muslim Faith

Map of the Crusade Routes - series of religious wars blessed by the Catholic Pope with hope of restoring religious access to sacred sites in Jerusalem.

There are many paths people take through life,

yet how many are map-able?


[Map of the Baha'I faith]. [cartographic material]. New York: C.S. Hammond & Co., [1946?].

Call Number: G3201.E4 1946.C2


Welcome to Hazleton, Conyngham, and Drums, Pennsylvania : [map] : America starts here : where we live with faith ... and plan a prosperous future. [Milton, PA.]: Profiles of Pennsylvania, [1992?].

Call Number:  G3824.H4 1992.P7


Europe; Europe in transition [map]. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2005. 

Call Number:  G5700 2005.N3


Christian mission stations in Africa, 1920's. New York:  American Geographical Society, 1967.

Call Number:  G8201.E424 1929.A4 1967


The Catholic Church in Africa. [cartographic material]. Washington D.C.: African Research and Information Center, 1965.

Call Number:  G8201.E4 1965.A3


Lebanon, population and religious affiliation. [cartographic material]. Washington, D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency, 1985.

Call Number: G7471.E4 1985.U5


Catholic America: a pictorial map portraying the contribution of Catholics in the development of the United States of America 1492 to 1946. [map]. Boston, MA: Chase-O'Connell, 1946.

Call Number:  G5701.E4 1946.C5



Cathedrals and abbies map of the British Isles. [cartographic material].  Edinburgh: John Bartholomew & Son Ltd, [1973?].

Call Number: G5741.E423 1973.B3


Monastic Ireland. [cartographic material]. Dublin: Ordnance Survey Office, 1960.

Call Number: G5781.E423 1960.O6


California Missions. [map]. Saint Julien les Villas, France [actual]; Santa Barbara, CA: distributed by Map Link, 2000.

Call Number: G4361.E424 2000. A3


Italy: ecclesiastical provinces of the roman catholic church. [map]. [Washington, D.C.]: Reproduction Branch, OSS, [1944].

Call Number:  G6711.E423 1944.U5


Slowakische kirchengemeinden in Pennsylvanien. [map]. 1937.

Call Number: G3821.E4 1937.K5


Index to the world

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The first big project I worked on after being hired at the Maps Library was creating index maps as reference guides to our many map sets.  We were preparing to move from the basement of Paterno Library into renovated space in the basement of central Pattee.  Part of the move included selecting and shifting about 40% of the map collection into off-site storage at the Annex, and much of that 40% consisted of map sets.  A large part of our early collection came from donations from the Library of Congress, parsing out the many sets accumulated by the Army Map Service (AMS) during WWII.  A single map set (say, of France) could have several hundred sheets, each sheet covering a small area.  Without an index, it would be difficult to find a particular area of interest.

In some cases, indexes came with (or on) the map sets themselves.  In some cases, they had to be created.  Unfortunately for my predecessor, most of the indexes he had created were superseded by move-related cataloging efforts that resulted in reassigned call numbers.  Some sets were being catalogued for the first time and no index existed.  So, over the next year, I trailed after the catalogers, updating or creating indexes as the sets were cataloged.  By the end of the process, I had created over 500 pdf's, most of them scans of existing indexes, marked to show our holdings, and some drawn in ArcView GIS software, following a complicated process of figuring out grid size and location particular to each set.

Sadly, though I completed the project a couple of years ago, through technical difficulties, we haven't yet been able to reconnect the indexes with their corresponding CAT records.  I am, however, slowly but surely putting them up on our website.  Check them out if you're interested: http://extranet.libraries.psu.edu/psul/maps/indexes.html.  Not the most beautiful of maps ever made, index maps nonetheless offer a window into our collection, and our collection into the world.

Sky Map

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 I love mobile devices.

Sauntering through the neighborhood last month, enjoying the holiday lights, I looked up into the evening sky and saw what I knew was a planet beaming its reflected light to earth.  JupiterUranus.jpgBut which planet was it?  Luckily my son had his Droid X along, and he tapped it into the Google Sky Map app. 

Sure enough, we were able to identify Jupiter and even Uranus and confirmed these on the PBS  website Seeing in the Dark ( right - click for larger image).  The Sky Map app uses Android-powered devices' built-in compass, GPS, and clock to display an annotated Sky Map of the area it is facing. The map adjusts to different areas as you move your phone up and down and back and forth. 

Droid Canis.jpgI pulled my Droid out again last night and pointed it skywards. Sure enough it zeroed into the State College sky and found Canis Major,  just above the horizon at that time, and I took a picture of my Droid screen (left).

With Sky Map, you  can zoom in and out, and switch on and off various layers such as constellations, planets, grids, and deep-sky objects, choosing to make these elements visible or not. You can find planets and stars relative to your own current location with the search function. Inputting the name of a planet or star will direct you toward them, or you can explore manually and move through the sky by touching the screen instead of having it adjust automatically.  iPhone, of course, has comparable capabilities with their Starmap app.)

That's mobile...learning anywhere, any time.

Night Sky Celetial Globe small.jpgYou can always visit the Maps Library to see the three-dimensional, "old-fashioned" globes of Mars, Venus, the Moon, Starship Earth, or the Nightsky Celestial Globe (right), or check out one of our many sky maps.

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