Where is Moqor or Mazar-e Sharif?

By Kathleen Maclay, Public Affairs


07 November 2001 | There’s nothing like the soothing markings of a map to help you feel at home in the world, and few cartography stashes are as extensive as the campus’s Earth Sciences and Map Library.

Boasting the largest map collection in Northern California and one of the largest university map collections in the country — approximately 375,000 “sheets” of maps in all — the library tucked cocoon-like into McCone Hall’s basement has experienced a flurry of inquiries immediately after Sept. 11, as students, researchers, authors and community members have gone for answers.

“There was a rush of people who came in and wanted to know exactly where Afghanistan is, and where all this commotion was coming from,” said Michelle Robinson-Goode, operations manager at the library. “They wanted to see maps (of Afghanistan) and if it is all mountains or desert.”

Library and geography department staff experienced another surge of visitors during the library’s annual map sale last Saturday, when all manner of outdated and duplicate maps — flat, topographic, satellite, thematic, nautical and classroom-friendly — went on sale for an average of 50 cents apiece.

The library contains a treasure chest of maps, including many confiscated from Japan and Germany, a new 3,000-map set of Vietnam, and maps of the San Francisco Bay Area prepared by Russians and containing Russian versions of the region’s cities.

It also contains online maps of Azerbaijan and the popular Sanborn maps, which chart U.S. communities’ growth and development from 1849 to 1970, illustrated down to the level of blocks and building numbers and a scale of 50 feet to an inch.

Other popular maps include a digital collection of 350 topographical maps of the Bay Area, dating back to the 1800s. That collection was produced by the campus in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey.

The library is open Monday through Saturday. See the library Web site — library Web site — for library hours and information.


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