“Mapping Appalachia: A Digital Collection” is a collaborative project by:

Stewart Scales, instructor in the Department of Geography at Virginia Tech, where he teaches Cartography and the Geography of Appalachia.
Emily Satterwhite, associate professor of Appalachian Studies at Virginia Tech.
Abby August, a 2018 graduate of Virginia Tech with a B.A. in geography and a particular interest in women and gender studies.

“Mapping Appalachia” is the title of Eugene McCann’s article about the ways in which maps usually function as tools of power but can fuel egalitarian political projects when constructed from the perspective of local residents (Journal of Appalachian Studies 4:1 [1998]). We borrow McCann’s title with the hope that this collection of institutionally-backed maps can be appropriated for education and activism. For maps made by students of their home communities, see Berea College’s Mappalachia project.

The research we have completed comes in three parts:  an article (soon to be) published in the Journal of Appalachian Studies, and two online mapping components, including this site hosted by the Virginia Tech Department of Geography and an ArcGIS version hosted by ESRI. The article presents a historical overview of major scholarly and political delineations from 1895 to the present. The online components house the published article, descriptions of and scanned original versions of our digitized maps, and links to dynamic reconstructions of Appalachian regional maps created in ArcGIS.

The purpose of the article and the map series is to make available a mapping tool for education and activism, facilitate discussion regarding the meanings of places, and to urge us to embrace the most useful and inclusive definition of Appalachia.