In his speech to the US Congress on September 24, Pope Francis stated that “Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.” This common refrain can be heard throughout the current dialogue on the refugee and migrant situation in Europe and elsewhere but, what does it really mean?
Following the Potsdam Agreement, there were approximately 23 million people displaced either by the war’s effect or through the forced expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe. These population movements are reflected in our map from 1952, showing an astounding 13.5 million refugees in Eastern and Western Germany and another 1.5 million refugees throughout Western Europe seven years after WWII.
Map 1: Map projecting the spreading of refugees in western Europe. Beijer, G. published by:M. Nijhoff, The Hague. 1952.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 saw another migration crisis in Western Europe. This event was of a smaller scale than after WWII or the present but was not less contentious. At that time, EU member states tightened their borders and instituted laws refusing entry to refugees entering the EU through a third 'politically safe' country. This policy, concerned with deterring economic migrants from former Soviet Republics, has stirred intense debate and added to the misery of refugees currently traveling through Eastern Europe to seek asylum in Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.
Map 2: Coping with the rising tide of European immigration. Washington, D.C., USA. Central Intelligence Agency. 1993.
Currently, UNHCR estimates that over 800,000 people have fled to Europe by sea, with the majority fleeing the on-going conflict in Syria. However, these numbers represent only a fraction of the 11.7 million displaced Syrians and the greater than 50 million displaced persons around the globe. It is because of these staggering figures that the numerous comparisons to the post-WWII situation are common and warranted.
These maps are on display in the MSU Map Library starting November 16, 2015.
In 1986 MSU cartography student Brenda Mathenia made this map of campus that highlights the 14 library locations and their collections. The back summarizes the collections and services of the libraries at that time. Over the intervening 29 years we've changed drastically both in size and composition. Our collections are larger and our locations are fewer. Our computing and study spaces are vastly enhanced and modernized. One thing hasn't changed one iota though, and that is expressed in the last sentence: "The MSU Libraries are constantly growing and changing, responding to the research and information needs of the academic community."
Participate in a humanitarian mapping project, no GIS experience needed! Bring your laptop to the library and join us in developing map data to aid a humanitarian project. The exact project is to be determined, but likely will involve improving our knowledge of road networks in an African country by looking at satellite images and marking the roads with your mouse. We will supply the refreshments while you save the world, one click at a time. If you plan on joining us, create an OpenStreetMap account and download the browser plugin here: http://hotosm.org/get-involved/disaster-mapping
QGIS is a popular open source Geographic Information System that runs on several operating systems. The introductory workshop on October 19th will focus on introductory topics such as how to acquire and display GIS shapefiles, map a list of addresses, perform a spatial analysis, and create a layout. The second workshop will further build on QGIS skills by working with raster images and data. Participants will learn how to georeference a digitized map (such as a historic map or aerial photo) and create vector data from it for basic analysis. Map Projections and data alignment will also be discussed. Both workshops will be led by Amanda Tickner, GIS Librarian, and Kasey Wilson, GIS Technician for MSU Libraries. Seating is limited, so sign up now!
Link to flyer
For hundreds of years European nations yearned to discover a water route over or through the Americas to reach the Pacific and Asia. In 1775 the unofficial contest became more real when Great Britain offered a £20,000 prize (about £2.2 million today) mainly to beat the Spanish to the discovery.
This map attempts to mark out reports from several expeditions. Two, however, were likely fictitious or at least grossly exaggerated, those of Juan de Fuca and “l’Amiral” De Fonte. The Spanish government archives have no records of such voyages (and in De Fonte’s case, no such person).
The Russians had a good handle on the shape of Eastern Siberia, however the American side isn’t remotely close to reality. Alaska and the Aleutian islands appear as guessed-at blobs. The giant Mer de l’Ouest could be a Colorado-sized San Francisco Bay, or a complete fabrication.
Detail from: “Carte Générale des Découvertes de l’Amiral de Fonte et autres Navigateurs Espagnols, Anglois et Russes pour la recherché du Passage à la Mer du Sud”. Drawn in 1752 but reprinted in: Encyclopâedie Mâethodique, ou Par Ordre de Matiáeres, v. 5 Supplement. By Denis Diderot and Published in Paris by Chez Panckoucke in 1777-1779.
This map is on display in the MSU Map Library beginning July 23, 2015. It was a gift of Ronald Dietz.
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