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

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

1 Comment

  1. […] available to all. That book only showed up in  couple libraries in WorldCat. And then there is my NASA mapbook, which was so rare that NASA’s own history division had never heard of it.Today I’m […]

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