A Magnificent Map Collection Online
One of the largest historical map archives online exists at http://www.davidrumsey.com. The David Rumsey Collection contains over 150,000 physical maps, globes, puzzles, and atlases; 6,500 of these pieces have been scanned, digitized, and indexed, and are currently available for viewing.
The collection is accessed through a Java-based image browser. While the interface takes a little time to get used to, the browser toolbar can be minimized to decrease administrative space. Data from and a thumbnail view of the image are available in the left frame of the browser, which has an elegant look about it.
In addition, Mr. Rumsey has added geographic information system (GIS) capability to the collection. Using historic maps, satellite imagery, aerial photos, and other sources, Mr. Rumsey and his associates have created a GIS applet that can layer different views of San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C. one on top of the other, and then allow the user to manipulate the images and print out custom maps.
This is a magnificent addition to the art and science of cartography. I was introduced to this website through an article in Geospatial Solutions magazine. The article is available online at the Geospatial Solutions website.
San Jose, CA
-- Mike Reardon (email)