I came across this nice map of Vietnam in 1890 that the Library of Congress (LOC) has digitized. This then made me think about all of the wonderful old Vietnamese maps that have not been digitized.

Over a half century ago, when the French were making their departure from Vietnam, some members of the École française d’Extrême-Orient microfilmed some maps that were in their library.

Microfilm was “cutting edge” technology at that time, and we can now digitize microfilm images, but the results are nowhere near as good as when the original texts are scanned, as the LOC did with the map above.

It would therefore be wonderful to be able to look at high-quality scanned versions of maps like the following (I’m listing below the maps the names of the texts that they appear in, and the catalog numbers of those texts):

A 2716

Giao Châu dư địa đồ (A. 2716)

A 2959

Đại Nam toàn đồ (A. 2959)

A 68

Đại Nam nhất thống dư đồ (A. 68)

A 1600

Đại Nam nhất thống dư đồ (A. 1600)

A 3142

Đại Nam nhất thống dư đồ (A. 3142)

A 1106

Bản quốc dư đồ (A. 1106)

A 1603

Đại Nam bản đồ (A. 1603)

dnnttd

Đại Nam nhất thống toàn đồ (????) – I keep seeing images of this map online and in publications, but I have no idea where it comes from. What is the catalog number (ký hiệu) for this map?

The way I look at it is that we human beings are all in this world together. Whatever we have created in the past, we should share with our fellow humans to celebrate our achievements.

Google is doing this by digitizing millions of old books.  I wish maps like these could be digitized in the same way that the LOC digitized the map of Vietnam that it has in its collection.