Thursday, January 11, 2007

Historical Maps on the Web

Making History on Desktops

Several historical resources are now available on the Internet, matching historic maps and charts with modern technology:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has made available 21,000 maps and charts dating from 1655 to 2001. This site includes downloadable images of aeronautical charts, base maps, city plans, Civil War maps, fishing/bathymetric charts, topographic maps, plat maps, nautical charts, and even sketch maps. Maps can be located through a keyword search or by type, year, or region. (The map shown is a map of the battlefield at Antietam). This site is located at

Another useful site lists over 1,200 historic map images available on the Internet: Map History/History of Cartography: The Gateway to the Subject: This site is "the only comprehensive listing of its kind...and is updated at least every two months." The listing of maps is organized by continent and has a separate section of thematic maps. This site is located at

Another historical resource was added in November 2006 to commemorate Geography Awareness Week. Sixteen maps from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection were uploaded to the featured content layer of Google Earth. Users can view the historical maps overlay and compare the old maps to the modern world. More information about the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection is available at

The Geospatial Center & Map Collection and the Archives & Special Collections Research Center in Bracken Library contain historic maps and atlases of various places dating back to the 19th century. Please contact the Center for more information about using these historic resources in research.

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