- January 21, 2010
Originally published in 1979, The California Water Atlas, a monument of 20th century cartographic publishing, has been scanned and put online for free public access by the David Rumsey Map Collection. Linda Vida, Director of The Water Resources Center Archives of the University of California asked David Rumsey and Cartography Associates to scan and make available to the public this extraordinary book. The copyright holder, the California Governor's Office of Planning and Research, agreed to allow free public access online.
The book was digitized at very high resolution so the resulting images can be explored, revealing all the amazing detail in the many diagrams, maps, and illustrations that accompany the extensive text. The original work was a collaborative effort involving many individuals in and outside the government of then Governor Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown, Jr., including William L. Kahrl, Project Director and Editor; William A. Bowen, Cartography Team Director; Stewart Brand, Advisory Group Chairman; Marlyn L. Shelton, Research Team Director; David L. Fuller and Donald A. Ryan, Principal Cartographers; and many others who contributed to the project.
The atlas may be viewed in three formats online: in the LUNA Browser of the David Rumsey online collection, in a Flip Book Reader at the Internet Archive, and in three PDF files, low (46MB), medium (72(MB), and high (180MB) resolution (For the PDF's, Firefox or Chrome are recommended since they support PDF progressive download; IE and Safari will download the PDF's but only show them at the end). All files can also be downloaded from the Internet Archive site. When viewing the atlas online, it is best to use as big a screen as possible because the original book is large, 47cm high and 41cm wide (82cm wide when opened to two page view).
Use of the digital files is free for all personal, non-commercial uses, governed by a Creative Commons License. All the scanning, metadata creation, uploading to LUNA and to the Internet Archive was done by David Rumsey and fellow Cartography Associate colleagues Dan Holmes and Kristian McManus.
When the atlas came out in 1979, it got rave reviews from both historians and scientists. Charles Wollenberg, writing in the California Historical Quarterly, called it "a very big and beautiful book...well-written, spectacularly illustrated, and filled with useful information for expert and layman alike...an indispensable sourcebook for decades to come." The Quarterly Review of Biology said it was "a major reference work of interest to applied ecologists concerned with water supply and usage and to ecologists in general in California." Over 30 years old, the atlas is still fresh and germane to today's issues and no doubt will be so for a long time to come.
Below are selected pages from The California Water Atlas:
Below are all the pages of The California Water Atlas - click on any page to open it in a full window.