Old Maps Layered on Google Maps: Where Were You in High School Geography?

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Over the course of history, territories have been redrawn, new places have been discovered, and countries have been named and renamed. But what does Indonesia, for instance, look like now compared to what it was in 1801? The David Rumsey historical map collection gives you that perspective, by layering old maps over the current view of Google Maps.


There are just 120 of the antique docs online now dating between 1680-1930. But Rumsey's library includes more than 150,000, which hopefully means more to come. In the meantime, distract yourself by checking out what North America looked like to Lewis and Clark in 1814. Or see Brazil in 1842, when it included Paraguay and Uruguay. Examine Alaska in one of the earliest maps to show it as part of the U.S., before which it was known as "Russian America." A chance to exercise your geography skills, the maps will remind you of things you maybe haven't thought of since high school. Except there's no test at the end. [BuzzFeed]


Aaron Davis

I'm not surprised that this was done by David Rumsey, I have had a bookmark to the his collection for many years. I'm very happy that he managed to take digital maps to the next level (and making them more useful) by adding this overlay mode.

I used to do something similar to this, using photoshop, but that involved getting screencaps of google maps and then painstakingly resizing/skewing them to fit the historical maps.