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The Walker Party, Map 3, Across New Mexico and Arizona Territories and up the Hassayampa River, 1861-1863, Burggraaf, Written History Needs Maps

Written History Needs Maps

By Pieter S. Burggraaf, 2015

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.

– From the pen of Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911)

The telling of history needs illustrative maps. In a rather simple view, history is the movement of people across geography in the past. Henry Walker and Don Bufkin captured this idea in their wonderful reference book Historical Atlas of Arizona. According to these authors, “History is the story of man—his actions, his comings and goings, and his settlements. As most of mankind’s actions and travels and the places” where men and women settled are “controlled by natural settings—terrain, climate, geography, and even geology—an understanding of the land is essential to an understanding of history.”(1)

Unfortunately, in so many books today about historic events, and even many of the classic books of yesterday, the text usually screams for a map to illustrate where events happened and what the people of the times thought they knew about the lay of the land. In many written histories, the maps used seem to have been an afterthought with authors or publishers plugging-in whatever they could find. Many times, the maps used do not provide the details that are necessary to support the text where the maps are called out. Often the maps used are disconnected from the period of history being discussed. Or, large maps are crammed into a small book format rendering them illegible.

When I began writing The Walker Party, The Revised Story my goal was to put equal effort into the many maps that I felt the work needed. It took some time for me to get map-making right—almost six months—but I eventually taught myself some basic cartography and developed techniques that suited my limited skills.

So, I have created each map in this book to fit legibly on a book-size page. Where possible, I have based the background geography and the positions of rivers, towns, and other geographic locations upon a period map. Each of my maps includes notation about its source. In addition, some of the maps in this book include reproductions of the original hachures—the classic symbols for representing geologic relief in cartography—from the source map.

Readers who are familiar with the areas depicted on the maps in this book will undoubtedly find misrepresentations compared to today’s maps. These should not be considered errors as such, but rather indicative of the incomplete knowledge of the territories of New Mexico and Arizona at the time. This will help the reader understand why the people in this story were often off by many miles when describing where they were or where they were going, or in many cases simply had no clue as to their whereabouts.

Finally, I have written extended captions that enable each map to stand alone with its intended information. I believe that you will find the maps that accompany this revised, more expansive story about the Walker party very informative, and I trust that the text will be equally rewarding.

Notes for Written History Needs Maps:
(1) Henry P. Walker, Don Bufkin, Historical Atlas of Arizona, Second Edition (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,1986), iii.

Pieter Burggraaf retired as a writer in the semiconductor manufacturing industry and is an avocational historian. He researches, writes and occasionally teaches about people whose lives and adventures touched historic Maricopa Wells and the Pima and Maricopa villages. This essay is excerpted from his new book, The Walker Party, The Revised Story: Across New Mexico and Arizona Territories and up the Hassayampa River, 1861-1863, available from Amazon.com, used with permission. Read about the book and view some of the maps in the Ortelius Showcase.

Ortl-Odessa

Drawing City-Block Style Maps

City-block style maps (sometimes referred to as “European-style”) are characterized by their use of negative space. Shapes – in the form of city blocks – define the positive space, whereas the road areas are negative space. Ortelius excels at designing modern style road maps, with connectable tracks and built-in symbols, and it also has great tools for creating city-block style maps.

Tutorial Details

Program : Ortelius 1.x+
Difficulty: Intermediate
Topics Covered: Combining Objects
Estimated Completion Time: 45 minutes

Source Map

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In this example, we trace city blocks from this 1892 map of Odessa (Ukraine, formerly Russia), Wagner & Debe. Some cartographic sleuthing: the map is undated, but was possibly produced earlier than 1892, as the Protestant Hospital, completed in 1892, is not shown (source: North Dakota State University Library online).

When setting up our drawing file, the source map is placed on its own layer and a new layer is created, called “Blocks,” to hold our new drawing objects.

Drawing With the Irregular Polygon Tool

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Any of Ortelius’ drawing tools can be used when creating city blocks. Your choice of tool will often depend on the layout and orientation of the blocks you are drawing. The Irregular Polygon tool is an extremely flexible choice when blocks are irregular in shape and orientation. Use the Irregular Polygon tool and a color-filled style to draw individual city blocks, clicking on each corner of the shape. When your final point is placed on top of your first point, the polygon will close automatically. Making sure polygons are closed will assure proper display, particularly if blocks are outlined.

Hint: To clip blocks neatly to maps edges, temporarily disable Layer > Clip Objects To Map Layer in the main menu and draw shapes slightly beyond the map border. Enable it again when you are finished drawing your blocks.

Drawing With the Bezier Path Tool

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People are sometimes (quite pleasantly) surprised at how advanced Ortelius’ Bezier Path tool is for drawing shapes with straight lines and curves. Choose the Bezier Path tool and a color-filled style. Although you are drawing a path, it will be represented as a filled object when an area style is applied. Single-click on corner points to trace corners; click and drag curve handles to draw curves; hold the CMND or OPT modifier keys while adjusting the curve handles. Placing your last point on top of the first point automatically ends the path. Optionally, you can formally close the path by choosing Edit > Paths & Tracks > Close from the main menu. Curve handles can be further adjusted as needed.

If you are unfamiliar working with Bezier curves in Ortelius, try your hand with our hands-on exercises.

Hands-on exercise. See Ortelius File > New From Template > Exercises & Demos > 2-Paths Exercise.

Combining Objects

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When faced with situations such as this circle with an internal median area (a classic doughnut!), try drawing the circle using the Oval tool and a line symbol then clipping the area out using the Combine > Difference command. Begin this technique by drawing the positive space (the road) and then subtracting it from the background to create your negative space. This technique is described in detail below.

Draw ‘Positive Space’ In Gridded Areas

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Where city blocks are laid out in a regularly gridded pattern you can quickly create blocks using path outlines and a few Combine operations. Begin by drawing the road grid with Paths or Tracks. Note you can draw roads of varying widths. Next, draw the background shape (shown here in green) and send it backward under the roads by choosing Graphic > Send To Back from the main menu. We draw the background shape last so you can see your source map while tracing the roads ;).

Edit > Paths & Tracks > Outline

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Next, select the roads and choose Edit > Paths & Tracks > Outline from the main menu to turn the roads from lines into polygons.

Combine > Union

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Combine all the new road polygons into a single object by selecting them and choosing Combine > Union from the main menu.

Create ‘Negative Space’ Combine > Difference

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With the background and foreground polygons selected, choose Combine > Difference from the main menu. The roads will be subtracted from the background polygon creating negative space. The blocks are a single object when selected.

Combine > Break Apart

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If further editing is desired, select the blocks object and choose Combine > Break Apart from the main menu. Each block is now its own individual shape object. Optionally, even further refinement is achieved by selecting a block and converting it from a shape to a path (chose Graphic > Convert To Path from the main menu). Each individual corner node can then be moved and edited. Path objects can be converted back to shape objects at any time.

Working with all blocks as a single object is the most efficient way to re-color and symbolize the map. Once you are satisfied with the layout of the blocks, select all and choose Combine > Append to combine all blocks into a single object again.

Add Text

Unlike road features drawn with the Track tool, roads in a city-block style map are not objects – they are negative space. Use the Text Box and Text On Path tools to add label text for roads. To label city blocks and other features, right click the objects and choose Add Label.

Some differences between maps with roads as primary feature vs. blocks as primary feature…
neither “right or wrong” it just depends on the style you’re looking for > both use in large scale (local scale) mapping good for showing neighborhoods, towns, small cities;

some applications of city block style > tourism maps, land use planning maps, location maps, campus maps, pedistrian maps, etc.

Differences (pros/cons)
1. blocks can be easily attributed, e.g., land use/land cover or districts, and new styles applied; can add style components such as shadows to enhance look; because they are negative space and not repersented with objects, street text must be placed with Text tool rather than labeling function associated with point, line, and polygon features;
blocks as focus can result in a more organic looking map with irregular shaped blocks and streets – show nooks and cranies, etc., tends to feature the city blocks as the most prominent feature so good for applications where this is important
2. road maps (with tracks) are more easily labeled using tracks; similar look can be had using cased line styles and connector tracks (show example) though result is more regular spacing; can have background ploygons behind road network to show land use or districts; tends to feature road network as most prominant feature so good for transportation/navigation purposes

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Using the techniques described above, you can create your own fully editable European-style city block map. With Ortelius’ slick style swapping, the look of your map is easily updated to create unique versions of this classic map style.

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Search and Destroy – Book Illustrated with Ortelius

It is with much gratitude we offer our congratulations to Richard Brummett, Mapdiva’s very first customer, for the publication of Search and Destroy by Keith W. Nolan and published by Zenith Press. Upon the author’s untimely death, Richard Brummett (Keith’s friend and associate) saw the book through to completion. A large part of that effort included making the four maps, three charts of military vehicle silhouettes, and a page of crests and patches that illustrate the book, which were created with Ortelius cartography software for Mac OS X.

In fact, Richard purchased his license of Ortelius slightly before the official public release in order to work with the demo without the watermark. He worked with the patience of a saint as we flushed out pre-release bugs and continued the final stages of development. Richard’s input was invaluable toward the documentation of Ortelius as he asked questions about (at that time) undocumented features, offered encouragement, and inspired us to keep plowing forward. It is a perfect demonstration of how Ortelius’ development is truly a partnership with our customers.

About Search and Destroy: The Story of an Armored Cavalry Squadron in Việt Nam: 1-1 Cav, 1967-1968” [Hardcover]

The 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, of the 1st Armored Division deployed to Việt Nam from Fort Hood, Texas in August 1967. Search and Destroy covers the 1-1 Cav’s harrowing first year and a half of combat in the war’s toughest area of operations: I Corps. The book takes readers into the savage action at infamous places like Tam Kỳ, the Quế Sơn Valley, the Pineapple Forest, Hill 34, and Cigar Island, chronicling General Westmoreland’s search-and-destroy war of attrition against the Việt Cộng and North Vietnamese Army. Exploring the gray areas of guerrilla war, military historian Keith Nolan details moments of great compassion toward the Vietnamese, but also eruptions of Mỹ Laị-like violence, the grimmer aspects of the 1-1 Cav’s successes. Search and Destroy is a rare account of an exemplary fighting force in action, a dramatic close-up look at the Việt Nam War.

About the Author

Keith W. Nolan studied the Việt Nam War for twenty-five years and has published articles on the subject in Leatherneck, the Marine Corps Gazette, Proceedings, and Vietnam magazine. He is also the author of eleven Việt Nam War combat histories, all of which have been Military Book Club selections. Keith died in February 2009 at age 44 and this will be his twelfth and final book on the Việt Nam War.

Family History Map

Mapping Family History with Ortelius

Maps are tremendous genealogical tools to help build a more comprehensive understanding of what life was like for your ancestors, looking at locations, migration routes, political boundaries, and more. Custom maps let you personalize the historical geography and highlight features relevant to family reports, documents, and photographs.

Here is an example of a family history map made with Ortelius showing the northeast Italian region of Udine (c. 1910). Click here to view a PDF export of the finished map in all its glory.

Tracing Source Maps

Two common techniques for creating custom maps from a source map are 1) to draw over an existing map or aerial photograph highlighting features and adding new information, while leaving the original source map as the background image, and 2) tracing relevant features and then “turning off” the source map, thus resulting in a completely new map.

Remember to consider copyright issues if you intend to publish your finished map and it includes a copyrighted source map.

Finding Source Maps

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Finding source maps for tracing can sometimes be a challenge. Fortunately there are many sources of current and historical maps available online. Our example of Drenchia and Stregna, Italy is made by tracing parts of a 1909 source map from the Third Military Mapping Survey of Austria-Hungary. When looking for source map material, try a Google search of the location and date. Here are a few of our favorite historical map sites, many available for download or online viewing:

 

For more local scale mapping, try your local government agency plat maps and local library collections. In U.S. urban areas, search for Sanborn Fire Insurance maps available at many public and university libraries. Historic railroad and survey maps can also be valuable source material.

Getting Started

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After finding the right source map, decide on your page layout and map size. If you aren’t familiar with using Ortelius’ drawing tools, the Ortelius’ Getting Started With Ortelius guide (PDF version 6.77MB) and Getting Started are a great place to start.

Genealogy maps are a fun and interesting way to incorporate the spirit of place into your family history. Ortelius comes prepackaged with hundreds of styles and symbols, and it is easy to create your own custom maps. If you are making a series of maps, consider using a consistent style of colors and map symbols throughout to give your maps a unified look and feel.

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