GeoCarta Has Moved

Mar 4, 2006

Maps As Art: Bird's Eye View Map Exhibit Open In Fort Worth

In the latter half of the 1800's cartographers made their way across the country, stopping at cities and towns along the way. They would offer the town's business leaders and citizens a deal. If enough people would agree to subscribe, an orthographic, or "bird's-eye" view map of the town would be made.

While little is known about the men who crafted these maps, their work continues to impress mapmakers and others today, and is studied by historians. The Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth recently opened a new exhibit. "Patterns of Progress - Bird's Views of Texas" displays more than fifty bird's-eye view maps and the cities and towns of Texas.

A recent tour of the exhibit left me impressed with the skill of the cartographers in preparing these bird's-eye view maps, maps that were made long before the airplane have even been invented. The exhibit also charts the rapid changes in society at the time. Several cities were mapped years apart, giving the viewer the chance to trace the course of early development of some of the largest metropolitan areas of Texas.

The exhibit will be at the Carter Musuem until May 28. If you can't make it to Fort Worth to see it in person, you can browse the maps online here. You can also purchase reproductions of the maps here and they would make a nice addition to the office of anyone involved in mapping.