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Jump Back in Time Progressive Era (1890-1913)
Bird's eye view map of Guttenberg, Iowa
One of Ruger's maps: a bird's eye view of Guttenberg, Clayton County, Iowa in 1869

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Panoramic Map Artist Albert Ruger Died
November 12, 1899

Panoramic maps were also called "bird's-eye-view maps" because towns and cities were drawn as if viewed from above at a slanted angle, much like a bird might see from a half mile away as it flew by the town. Panoramic cartographers didn't worry so much about the exact scale of their drawings; they concentrated instead on illustrating street patterns, individual buildings, and major landscape features in perspective. This map of Guttenberg, Iowa, is a good example.

Ruger formed Merchants Lithographing Company with a partner in the late 1860s, producing many of these popular maps. Aerial photographs and earth-orbiting satellite mapping techniques of today have made Ruger's panoramic map-making techniques somewhat outdated, but his panoramic maps can give us a glimpse into the past of America's towns and cities.

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