My NASA Map Book is Now Available at the Internet Archive

From time to time I've written about the Internet Archive, a non-for-profit organization that is dedicated to digitizing and uploading as much content as they can get their hands on. I've told you about the Braille Playboy they digitized and the 1970's harddisk that was scanned and placed online. Some time back i also posted on the huge donation they received from the SF Public Library.  Today I get to tell you about one of my collection that they've uploaded. It's an old, rare, map book. How rare? I don't know of any map collections that have one (but I'm hoping this post will find one).

This map book was created in 1981 by the Defense Mapping Agency in St. Louis, MO. It was made for NASA, and so far as I can tell it was intended for Space Shuttle astronauts. I don't have specific details on why it was made, but the most noticeable detail in this map book are the many airport runways which have been labeled and oriented correctly. It's my guess that this was an early briefing guide that would have been used if the Space Shuttle had to make an emergency landing somewhere.

The original map book is a loose leaf collection of of about forty 11x17" pages held together by 3 screw together clips. By the time I got it, it had survived 3 moves and 20 years of sitting in my grandparents' study closet.  They had it because one, my grandmother was a packrat, and 2, this is one of the last projects that my grandfather worked on before he retired.

I've always been planning to scan it and post it online, but it is a little outside my abilities. Luckily, I attended a conference at the Internet Archive back in late October and they were kind enough to scan it for me and post in their collection. I kept the original, of course, but they would have been willing to archive that as well in their physical archive.

And this, folks, is why digital content is so important. This map book is an example of why obscurity is a greater danger than piracy. The only reason I can share it with you is that we had the good fortune to have one copy survive, forgotten, in someone's closet. Whenever you hear about the evils of Google scanning all those books, think of this map book before you condemn Google. Ponder the countless books which weren't as lucky as this one, before you reply.

P.S. If anyone knows where other copies can be found, let me know. Or if you know more background details, please share. I'd like to learn more about this book.

Internet Archive

About Nate Hoffelder (11479 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

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