The Library of Congress has put Howard County on the map.
Or, more accurately, Howard County has put maps in the Library of Congress.
The library, the country's largest, has requested maps made by two county cartographers for the permanent collection at its Geography and Mapping Unit.
One map, which Department of Planning and Zoning cartographer Carrie Grosch created for the county's new General Plan, shows land-use policies in effect around the county.
The other, by planning and zoning cartographer Michael White, shows the community and environmental features of a section of the U.S. 1 corridor.
It was created for use in the county's U.S. 1 revitalization effort.
A library official discovered the maps last month after they won first prizes at the 14th Annual Geographic Information Sciences Conference in Towson.
The maps will be stored in acid-free books at the library, where they will be made available to those doing research on Howard County or on mapmaking in general.
"It's very exciting to have the department both winning the competition and having the maps requested, to have it be recognized on that level, that these are maps of national and historic caliber," said Grosch, who has worked for the county for five years.
The cartographers credited their planning and zoning colleagues with helping assemble the information displayed on the maps, which they said were time-consuming to produce.
"I'm proud, and it's kind of humbling, but at the same time, there's a bit of mixture of emotions - I'm getting the credit, but the maps are the result of the input of so many people," said White, who has been with the department for 24 years.
White's map, which won the prize for the most "communicative" map, shows environmental features, such as forest covers, streams and stream buffers, flood plains, erodable soils and watersheds, in the central part of the U.S. 1 corridor.
It also shows locations of churches, historic sites, shopping centers, libraries and schools.
Grosch's map, which won for best use of color, shows, among other things, the divide between the county's rural west and its more developed east; the scattered boundaries of the "new town" of Columbia; and the locations of existing and planned mixed-use communities.
The complexities of land-use policy in fast-growing Howard give cartographers much material to work with, Grosch said.
"There's a lot going on in the county and a lot to show," she said.
The Library of Congress has invited White and Grosch to see their maps, and take a general tour of the library, which neither has visited.
"I've always had this mental image of it being this enormous kind of warehouse," said White.