"Like Google for old maps"
March 5, 2012 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Recently went live: A central repository of maps held by institutions across the globe. Over 60,000 maps. oldmapsonline.org
posted by cashman (25 comments total) 100 users marked this as a favorite
Mapgasm. Thank you.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 1:14 PM on March 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

Dang I love the old maps.
posted by aught at 1:18 PM on March 5, 2012

My God. It's full of maps.
posted by swift at 1:19 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a stack of worldwide 1940s-1960s aeronautical maps literally 2 feet high that I've been wanting to scan for years and put on a free site somewhere, but the costs for large format scanners (36") are stupidly insane, even on eBay. I wrote Perry-Castaneda (University of Texas) who has that awesome website, but they never wrote back. Hopefully those maps don't end up in the dumpster 30 years from now.
posted by crapmatic at 1:24 PM on March 5, 2012

Great resource. My other favorites are:

Big Map Blog
Strange Maps
Flowing Data
David Rumsey Map Collection

Any others I should add to my list of favorites?
posted by namewithhe1d at 1:37 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Crapmatic - You should try emailing the guy at Big Map Blog. He's been helpful to me before..
posted by namewithhe1d at 1:38 PM on March 5, 2012

> Crapmatic - You should try emailing the guy at Big Map Blog. He's been helpful to me before.
(The guy from the Big Map Blog, here. Ready and willing to help. Shoot me a MeMail.)
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 1:49 PM on March 5, 2012 [11 favorites]

The first random map I looked at turned out to be a close-up of Westphalia, 1570.

Do I win a prize?
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 2:25 PM on March 5, 2012

Love this. Speed Dialed it. Thanks.
posted by jwhite1979 at 2:36 PM on March 5, 2012

dang! ok, memail on the way...
posted by crapmatic at 3:00 PM on March 5, 2012

A bit of self-linking which may be of interest: some 17th & 18th century maps I did conservation work on a couple years ago.


And a bit about the conservation process from that series:


All these maps are part of the Special Collections at the University of Missouri - Columbia.
posted by Shadan7 at 3:23 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Fine, YOU can call my boss tomorrow and explain why I'm late because I was up all night looking at maps.
posted by desjardins at 4:29 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

god seriously this is the coolest thing ever
posted by desjardins at 4:31 PM on March 5, 2012

Thanks cashman. I will see you all next week sometime.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:42 PM on March 5, 2012

I can see my house from here.
posted by Kinbote at 4:58 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Fantastic, thanks for posting!
posted by carter at 5:16 PM on March 5, 2012

When I was a kid, I met a man who papered his study in old maps. That was the beginning of my fascination with them. This is a treasure trove.
posted by notashroom at 6:59 PM on March 5, 2012

Fabulous! It consolidates about a dozen bookmarks for me. When I was a kid my mom papered the bathroom in old maps from Nat'l Geo. The boys saw 'Railroad lines of New Jersey (circa 1928)'; the girls saw India.
posted by TDIpod at 7:45 PM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

One of the ways I entertain myself is to find old maps of midwestern cities and trace the rail lines out as a separate image. For some of the smaller cities I've used the U of C map archives, which are somewhat limited. You've just given me years of enjoyment to come... thank you so much.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:14 PM on March 5, 2012

This is great (Hello, new desktop background!) but when you export a map it comes as a zip file... with a folder inside... with a .jpg inside the folder. Wtf?
posted by Scientist at 8:58 PM on March 5, 2012

posted by LobsterMitten at 9:20 PM on March 5, 2012

I am a computer literate person and for the life of me I can't understand the interface. How do I look at an old map? I see a timeline, but I can't slide it. I see a map of my location, but its current. Instant search results remain blank.

What am I missing?
posted by disclaimer at 12:49 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah i don't get the point of bringing up the "antiqued" google map front and center. The actual old maps are listed on the right hand side. I just clicked one of those to get started.
posted by BinGregory at 7:12 PM on March 6, 2012

Well, that's the thing. I don't have anything listed there. No matter what I put in, nothing.

I must presume there are no old maps for the US. Or something else?

I will contact them, it makes no sense to me...
posted by disclaimer at 9:42 AM on March 7, 2012

disclaimer - your screenshot doesn't have an orange box over the map, so I'm guessing it doesn't know where you are. Could it be a browser issue? Do you have flashblock or adblock? It works fine for me in Chrome. This is what you should be seeing, and when you drag the orange box it should turn blue until you let go. Check your address bar - it should have bounding box coordinates (see screenshot). If not, I dunno :(
posted by desjardins at 10:40 AM on March 7, 2012

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