New York Public Library Opens Access to Historic Map Archive

NYPL will allow free downloads of tens of thousands of historic maps

Central Park, 1863. John Bachmann, publisher. From The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library.

Central Park, 1863. John Bachmann, Publisher. From The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library.

The New York Public Library has just made over 20,000 maps and other cartographic materials available to the public for high-resolution viewing via their digital collections portal.

The collection, which is presented by The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division, includes many historic maps of the New York metropolitan area as well as a wide range of periods and localities. Specimens include historical maps of the Mid-Atlantic states and topographical maps of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

The maps may also be downloaded through NYPL’s Map Warper software. Map Warper is an amazing tool that allows any map to be reconciled with its exact placement on Earth’s surface via Google Maps or OpenStreetMap. The only cost to the user is the time it takes to open a free Map Warper account.

The maps are shared through a Creative Commons  CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, and NYPL states that they hope these maps will, along with their other collections, “inspire all kinds of creativity, innovation and discovery.”

For more information, see the New York Public Library blog.