Wednesday, June 27, 2012


One way Ed and I judged a book about the Civil War was by the clarity of its maps ... and ... how much useful information they contained. The best books had removable end-paper maps which could be unfolded into sheets much larger than a normal page. These were treasured.

Even if I were to photocopy the maps in today's books to have on hand for visual reference they would still be too small. We intend to publish an e-book of reasonable size, so the maps will have to have few bytes yet be large enough that zooming and panning show enough detail. The digital maps stored on the website, though, can be quite large and available for printing at the reader's convenience. Files could be brought to a printer and made into posters (18" x 24", for example). We could also print the posters and send them by ground mail to a reader who didn't have a print shop nearby.

As I wrote earlier in April, if you are reading online then you have the option of opening another view. I tried this with my laptop connected via HDMI to a 46" Sony Bravia and the map on view was stunning. Using this method, perhaps there would be no reason to have large, printed maps.

If you are to read the published e-book on your Nook, Kindle, iPad or other device, the screens are too small to hold a battlefield in any detail. Nevertheless, it would help to have some visual to go along with the written. Go to the website and bring up the large map on your big-screen monitor ... or ... print posters or perhaps even an 18" x 24" map that folds up three times to fit your device (6" x 8"). This would be today's technology providing what we treasured 50 years ago.

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