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Using maps for your research in University of Reading Library

Maps are not just for geographers - this presentation shows how you can use maps in your research in History and archaeology, Humanities and social science and in Science and environment. Printed maps and online resources are both available.

Judith Fox

on 23 February 2015

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Transcript of Using maps for your research in University of Reading Library

How can maps
help you with
your research?

History & Archaeology
Industrial sites lost beneath
new development can be
rediscovered - this example was made using Digimap and Digimap Historic.
Size of houses and
width of roads can
indicate wealthy/
poor areas.
Gradual encroachment of urban
sprawl into the countryside is
Boundary (and name) changes
can be traced by using
contemporary maps/atlases.
Maps are inherently subjective, and can indicate how things were seen at a particular point in time, and from a particular viewpoint.
Historical atlases summarize
geographical change and movement.
We have many old or reproduction maps which can illustrate change over time and show how things were in the past
Reproductions or facsimiles of
early maps extend our coverage to the 16th Century, and allow access to important maps held elsewhere. The example is from Charles Booth's Descriptive map of London poverty, 1889.
Science &
Humanities & social sciences
The University of Reading Library has a collection of around 70,000 maps and atlases, covering
the whole world.
The collection includes maps of geology, soils, land use, vegetation and climate, as well as topographic maps and plans
Geology and soil maps show what is beneath the surface. They can help reconstruct the geological history of a place and the conditions that existed in the past. Specialist geological maps exist in many forms - they may show hydrogeology, tectonics, geochemistry, geophysics, mineral resources or earthquakes.
Land use maps may show the potential of the land to support different land uses, or capture a moment in time to show what the land was used for then.
Vegetation and climate maps classify the land to indicate bioclimatic zones.
Topographic maps show what is on the land surface. They can be used to locate potential sites for field investigations, to make measurements, and older maps can show features no longer in existence which can explain current anomalies. They can also show how the landscape has changed e.g. glacier retreat can be tracked.
Air photographs and satellite images are not maps, but they do show geographical information and may allow a different interpretation of the information.
Maps may be considered as works of art in their own right, and many artists use maps in their work. The extract is from the San Francisco emotion map by Christian Nold, 2007.
Maps are in a sense the embodiment of graphic communication. Abstract ideas can be given a graphic, practical realisation which can help the understanding of relationships and highlight anomalies. The history of mapping shows how ideas about communicating facts and ideas have changed.
Engravers were highly regarded in the eighteenth century and many maps included artistic embellishments, such as the one below, from John Rocque's Map of Berkshire, 1761.
Early maps often included topographical views. Admiralty charts, produced to aid marine navigation, often included views of the land.
The Library has about 3,000 maps which can be borrowed, with your Campus/Library card. These are 'Field maps' and can be found on the 2nd Floor. They include topographic and geology maps of Britain, and road and tourist maps of Europe and the rest of the world.
Socio-economic data is often shown on maps - new ways of presenting information on maps enhance how we see the data and allow us to visualize it more clearly. The example is a cartogram of world fruit imports.
Detailed plans, such as those supplied by Digimap, can be used to help establish ownership, and also to identify areas for redevelopment.
Demographic maps show population data. They show how populations differ and change across the geographical landscape. The example is of a choropleth map of population density change in Ireland.
Agricultural census data, like population census data, can be mapped in different ways to bring out the aspect of interest.
The example shows the density of sheep bred for meat in Namibia.
What next?
Anything which has a spatial dimension can be mapped. This includes population, economics, language and religion as well as ideas.
©Landmark Information Group Ltd. and Crown copyright 2012. FOR EDUCATIONAL USE ONLY.
©Crown copyright database right 2012. Ordnance Survey/EDINA supplied serive. FOR EDUCATIONAL USE ONLY
Look at the
Maps LibGuide
- http://libguides.reading.ac.uk/maps
See more about
- http://www.reading.ac.uk/library/eresources/databases/lib-digimap.aspx
Find out
how to cite a map
- http://libguides.reading.ac.uk/citing-references
- https://rdg.ent.sirsidynix.net.uk/client/en_GB/main/?
Make an appointment to see
Judith Fox
, the Map Librarian - http://www.reading.ac.uk/library/contact/staff/j.a-fox.aspx
Full transcript