|Jaime Martindale, map and geospatial data librarian at the Arthur A. Robinson Map Library. Image: Bryce Richter, Journal Sentinal|
The USDA photos she used were a big part of my early work in geography. They were taken from the bottom of aircraft that would cris-cross the country for the purpose, flying in parallel paths over few years to make photographs for soil surveys. Active farming areas got photographed more often. The photographs overlapped by 60 percent so that any one place was photographed twice from different angles -- allowing for stereo pairs that could allow 3-D viewing.
I used them in my master's thesis research to map land uses in my study area and to measure ponds. I used them in environmental consulting to help build timelines of the properties we were researching -- many city and town sites were included because it was simplest just to keep the paths continuous. The photos continue to be archived in depository libraries such as the Robinson collection and are now available through a USDA web site.
|Robinson Projection. Image: Robinson Collection.|
My favorite librarian and I are currently reading a book about another kind of library hero -- The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu. Watch this space for our commentaries on the book. Timbuktu is a real place, and its librarians are worthy of the book's title!