Beautiful Maps of Africa

December 21, 2005

Just discovered a beautiful resource of maps (mostly environmental info, especially soil) for most of the countries of Africa. (Found via Kikuyumoja’s realm.)

This is an incredibly thorough, high-quality resource, with scanned resolutions that will knock any map-lover's socks off. The pages are easy to navigate, with appropriately-sized thumbnails and then really large downloadables.

Suitable for framing. And repurposing with overlaid data.

Here's a bit from their intro:

"Data and information are essential building blocks of science. Many types of data, including extant historical data which have newly appreciated scientific importance for the analysis of changes over time, are not being used for research because they are not available in digital formats" (International Council for Science, 2004).

Maps made in the past remain the backbone for present and future studies. ... Less and less new, fundamental soil data are being produced these days; the older data and information are being pumped around more and more. Therefore it is vital to preserve the older data (in this case maps) as they are building blocks of most current soil information. The user of present-day, derived information should have easy access to the source material, if only to assess the reliability of the derived material.

But, in many countries, soil maps are being lost because of lack of proper attention to storage and retrieval ... This problem is acute in developing and transitional countries where valuable data, currently only available on paper, must be digitized before they are lost forever... The digitization of the African maps will enable the African countries to recover and re-use their soil information.

Translation of soil information from paper maps and reports into digital format is a prerequisite of the next step - the development of a digital information system on soil and terrain that may be drawn upon for manifold applications.

And now you can jump straight to the maps.