If you’re a fan of James Bond, you’re probably going to love this. While Bond was defined by his somewhat outlandish gadgets, one of the most important tools for a real-life spy is fairly boring — a map. They have been used for centuries, and the Central Intelligence Agency has a ton on file.
They’d use maps to gather information or plan an attack. They’re an integral part of espionage. To celebrate 75 years of serious cartography, the CIA has declassified once-secret maps and put them online.
The Cartography Center
The Cartography Center of the CIA started in October of 1941 with merely hand-drawn maps that plotted geographic data of World War II. It’s barely recognizable today, as they’re no longer using some of the cartography devices you’re going to see in this article. Instead, they use advanced digital technologies.
While they might not be marking up maps anymore, the Cartography Center still has the same goal, which is to convey intelligence to a broader audience.