More than 40 different map dealers from across the globe came to Miami recently to display their antique maps, charts, town plans and atlases.
HistoryMiami Museum’s Miami International Map Fair is the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
The 24th annual Miami International Map Fair exhibited unique antiquities from the 16th century to present day, ranging in price from $25 to more than $250,000.
“The beauty of this fair is its variety. There’s historical maps, political maps, satirical maps, it has a little of everything,” said Jandrice Nacier, 18, a student at Florida International University. “You can walk out of here with three maps for under $150, just like you can walk out of here with one map for a quarter of a million dollars. It’s truly an amazing event.”
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This year’s map fair, Feb. 3-5, hosted several notable dealers, including Philadelphia print shop Cohen & Taliaferro LLC, and New World Maps.
Richard Lan and Robert Augustyn, owners of Martayan Lan Fine Antique Maps, own a map that is especially significant to South Florida residents: the first detailed map of South Florida, which dates back to 1856.
This map was made by military General Joseph C. Ives and used by the U.S. military during the Seminole wars. It was a key advantage for U.S soldiers, essentially guiding them toward victory in the Seminole War.
“Not every map in the world is historically significant, but it’s undeniable that every map holds valuable information,” Lan said.
Every map is different. Some maps may simply guide you with their directions, while others will illustrate the world at a different time. “Seeing how people catalog the world, and how they viewed it during the time the map was made,” said Jose Gonzalez, an FIU history major.
With technology improving every day, some might believe that maps are slowly fading away from society.
The complete opposite has occurred: Rather than technology replacing maps, it has incorporated them.
“GPS technology is the evolution of maps,” HistoryMiami director Jorge Zamarillo said. GPS, declared fully operational in 1995, is today used for navigation apps, climate studies and even mapmaking.
According to the Pew Research Center, 68 percent of Americans own smartphones, all which come with easy to access GPS systems.
“Anyone who owns a smartphone is constantly carrying a map on them.” Zamarillo said.
Next year’s fair
Save the dates for Miami International Map Fair’s 25th anniversary event, which takes place Feb. 2-4, 2018.