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Spend money on the gifts, not the giftwrap

I always like to say I'm frugal, not cheap.

I absolutely don't mind spending on things that are worthwhile. Items that are long-lasting, high-quality, much-needed or long-desired.

But things that are tossed in the trash almost immediately after buying or using -- not so much.

Things like wrapping paper.

I used to wrap on the cheap by purchasing my giftwrap at 90 percent off clearance after the holidays. That saved me plenty of money, for sure.

But what I really wanted was giftwrap that was easy on the wallet AND easy on the environment.

I thought I'd share a few ideas I've come up with -- in hopes of saving you a few dollars and the planet a few trees.

Mapping the history of the state

Last year, a joint project of UNC's North Carolina Collection, the State Archives and the Outer Banks History Center completed a project to scan and digitize more than 3,000 maps published from the late 1500s to 2000.

North Carolina Maps contains maps from each of the 100 counties, including highways, railroad maps, post office routes, fire insurance maps and geological maps. A 1936 highway map presents a view of the state without any I-40, in fact, without any interstate highways at all. The  Coast and Geodetic Survey shows changes in the state's coastline over time.

Maps are searchable by location, date or subject. The online viewer allows you to zoom in on the map and move around interactively.

In September, this map collection was one of three North Carolina sites to win an Award of Merit for Leadership in History from the American Association for State and Local History.

Get the weather via Google Maps

Google has made planning a trip a bit easier by adding a weather layer. You can read more at Google's Blog or watch the video below.

YouTube link

A massive new map collection at UNC

UNC-Chapel Hill's North Carolina Collection is the home of a massive new collection of digitized maps.

The collection boasts nearly every original map of North Carolina printed from 1584 to 1923, as well as maps of every North Carolina county and every map published by the state until 2000. That's 3,200 maps in all, now in digital form.

The new collection, accessible here, is the result of a three-year collaboration between UNC-CH, the Outer Banks History Center in Manteo, and the N.C. State Archives, each of which contributed their own maps to the collection.

The scanning was done at UNC-CH and the state archives.

(The map you're looking at here is an 1890 map of Orange County.)

A few highlights from the collection include:

* A 1584 map of the Southeast from the Outer Banks History Center, the oldest in the collection.

* Sanborn Fire Insurance maps from the late 19th or early 20th centuries that document 116 towns in 67 counties. These maps show streets and even individual buildings.

* Coastal and Geodetic Survey maps from the 19th and 20th centuries, which gives you a sense of how the coastline has changed over time.

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