The Fictional Maps That Fill Us With Wonder

From Kerouac to Brontë, Writers Have Imagined Intricate Geographies

“Maps are like good books,” writes historian of exploration Huw Lewis-Jones. They “are transporting: filled with wonder, possibility, adventure. … They allow us to escape to another place whenever we might want to, or need to. Books, like maps, are filled with magic.” His illustrated volume, The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands, celebrates both cartography and fiction by collecting maps featured in or inspired by stories, as well as essays by writers and map illustrators about their work.

Many of the maps are astoundingly intricate, yet leave room for …

Mapping Big Thinkers and Their Ideas

Viewing Clusters Over Time Provides Insights into Networks of Influence

To understand where ideas come from and how they evolve over time, sociologist Randall Collins mapped the networks of 3,000 philosophers and mathematicians, a yeoman project that took him on …

You Never Get One Isolated Great Thinker at a Time

Sociologist Randall Collins on Creativity Clusters and the Importance of Good Questions

Randall Collins’ curiosity about where ideas come from led him to do 25 years of research on the networks that connected thinkers and ideas through history and across continents. Collins, …

Putting Kids on the Map

A Youth Wellbeing Report Card for the State Shows California Barely Makes the Grade

In 2010, faculty and staff affiliated with the UC Davis Center for Regional Change, where we work, set out to build maps showing how California’s youth are doing at the …

The Epic Effort to Map the West

A Brilliant Geographer and Famous Photographer Teamed Up to Tackle the Nearly Impossible Task of Surveying 19th-Century California

We’ll start in the 1840s, when Western North America was almost wholly empty of European-Americans. To prepare the land for settlement, the United States government sent teams of explorers into …

What Disappears When Ancient Documents Get Digitized?

The Osher Map Library’s Online Archive Is Astoundingly Detailed and Inherently Incomplete

The Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine is a treasure trove for the cartographically inclined. Its collection, which contains close to 450,000 items, spans the centuries, covering …