Earth, Wind, and Maps


Back in the 90s, when I was writing Kings in the North: The House of Percy in British History, which was a biography of about a dozen generations of the Percy dynasty between 1066 and 1489, I used a tenth-hand, 1974-edition motoring atlas of the United Kingdom (purchased for 60p) to mark important places like the territorial extent of the Danelaw, the various Percy holdings at the time of the Domesday Book, and a slew of battles. Hey, it was cheap and it worked, though it did leave the book a smudged, inky mess.

Google Earth would have been a fantastic resource, of course, but it hadn’t yet been invented. Now that it has, thank goodness, one can find amazingly detailed maps of pretty much anything (such as the location of all known Russian ICBM bases). These have been voluntarily collated by members of the “Google Earth Community” and many are quite fascinating. A particularly good one traces the route taken by the Lewis and Clark Expedition between 1804 and 1806; another fine effort tracks Alexander the Great’s battles during his World Conquest Tour; and there’s also one highlighting the career of Hannibal. For me, the map of every battle during the Wars of the Roses would have come in most useful . . . 

P.S. If you’d like to look at these maps, you’ll first have to download the Google Earth app. (Free, works with Macs and PCs). 



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