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Alaskan Cartography Influenced by Native Mapmakers 

Two Native mapmakers, a generation apart, provided the Coast Survey with information on thousands of miles of river and coastline. The Tlingit Kohklux, better-known as Shotridge, and the Inupiat Joe Kokaryuk. Their stories have some parallels, so to speak.In 1867 George Davidson ran the Coast Survey on the west coast out of an office in San Francisco. If you compare the map his agency produced for the transfer of Alaska in 1867, against the map made by the same office only two years later, the new detail in the northern panhandle is extraordinary. John Cloud says the cartographers of the Coast Survey were scientists first and foremost, and that they often sought out indigenous sources to fill in critical detail in their maps.
The Tlingit, however, are characterized by a rich protocol surrounding intellectual property rights. The kind of information Davidson needed was really not available for the asking – but it could be exchanged. By coincidence, Davidson learned that a solar eclipse would be visible in Southeast Alaska in 1869, with the track of the full eclipse plotted right through Klukwan. Davidson steamed north to await the eclipse, and observed it through a modified telescope with Shotridge. This was the breakthrough that cartographers were waiting for.

click through for the rest of the article

Alaskan Cartography Influenced by Native Mapmakers 

Two Native mapmakers, a generation apart, provided the Coast Survey with information on thousands of miles of river and coastline. The Tlingit Kohklux, better-known as Shotridge, and the Inupiat Joe Kokaryuk. Their stories have some parallels, so to speak.
In 1867 George Davidson ran the Coast Survey on the west coast out of an office in San Francisco. If you compare the map his agency produced for the transfer of Alaska in 1867, against the map made by the same office only two years later, the new detail in the northern panhandle is extraordinary. John Cloud says the cartographers of the Coast Survey were scientists first and foremost, and that they often sought out indigenous sources to fill in critical detail in their maps.

The Tlingit, however, are characterized by a rich protocol surrounding intellectual property rights. The kind of information Davidson needed was really not available for the asking – but it could be exchanged. By coincidence, Davidson learned that a solar eclipse would be visible in Southeast Alaska in 1869, with the track of the full eclipse plotted right through Klukwan. Davidson steamed north to await the eclipse, and observed it through a modified telescope with Shotridge. This was the breakthrough that cartographers were waiting for.

click through for the rest of the article

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