Map collecting is a popular hobby and maps are collected for all sorts of reasons. Depending on their scale or origins, maps can reflect the history of the world or the history of a small town. Maps can be collected for their their aesthetic qualities, and many antique maps were finely hand colored and decorated. Their are numerous major types of maps available. Nautical charts are used by sailors, atlases are useful educational tools, topographic maps convey important information about the surface of the land, and road maps help travelers get from one place to another.
Types of Road Maps
There are several basic types of road maps you are likely to come across. First there are city street map directories. These are detailed maps showing every known street in a community, often with a matching index and grid system to locate any street in a city. These maps were especially useful for businesses in the community. These maps stretch back to the 1800s and earlier for larger cities, but were commonplace by the 1920s for all medium size cities.
Another common road map you can find are the State Highway Department tourism maps. These "Official" highway maps were often place at tourist centers on major highways to promote local attractions and the spending of tourist dollars. They also provided plenty of space for Governors to promote their accomplishments for their next election. These maps were most common during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.
Finally the automobile associations produced maps for their members, but these are not commonly found until the 1940s. The American Automobile Association (AAA) maps are the most frequently encountered, and are especially abundant after 1970.