David Rumsey Map Collection - Cartography Associates

About the historical maps in Google Maps and Google Earth

The over 120 historical maps in the Google Maps and Google Earth Rumsey Historical Maps sites have been selected by David Rumsey from his collection of more than 150,000 historical maps; in addition, there are a few maps from collections with which he collaborates. These maps can also be seen in the Gallery layer of Google Earth, Rumsey Historical Maps layer.

All the maps contain rich information about the past and represent a sampling of time periods (1680 to 1930), scales, and cartographic art, resulting in visual history stories that only old maps can tell. Each map has been georeferenced, thus creating unique digital map images that allow the old maps to appear in their correct places on the modern globe.

Some of the maps fit perfectly in their modern spaces, while others (generally earlier period maps) reveal interesting geographical misconceptions of their time and therefore have to be more distorted to fit properly in Google Maps and Earth. Cultural features on the maps can be compared to the modern satellite views using the slider bars to adjust transparency.

The original historical maps are first made into digital images by scanning them with high resolution digital cameras. Then these digital images are transformed in a process called georeferencing, which makes them display in their correct geographical spaces in Google Maps and Earth. Georeferencing is done using a GIS program, which takes points on the old maps (cities, coast lines, rivers, streets) and connects them to the same points on a modern satellite map image or a modern street map or a modern map showing boundaries of countries and states. The GIS program then takes all these points (as many as 200 are made for very large maps) and uses them to recreate the digital image so it will fit into its modern geographical space. Often the image has to be curved a bit for this to be accomplished.

The result is an exploration of time as well as space, a marriage of historic cartographic masterpieces with innovative contemporary software tools.

The David Rumsey Map Collection was formed by David Rumsey over the last 30 years. Rumsey has scanned more than 17,000 of the maps since 1999 and put them online in a free public map library at www.davidrumsey.com. Rumsey believes in free public access to his maps, so visitors can not only look at the maps in full high resolution (some of the digital map images are 2 GB) but they can also download them for personal use.

List of Maps in Google Maps and Google Earth:

World Globe 1790
World Globe 1812
Celestial Globe 1792

North America:
North America 1733
North America 1786
United States 1833
Lewis and Clark 1814
Mississippi River 1775
Western U.S. 1846
Alaska 1867
Hawaii Oahu 1899
Yosemite Valley 1883

U.S. Cities:
Chicago 1857
Denver 1879
Los Angeles 1880
New York 1836
New York 1851
New York 1852
San Francisco 1853
San Francisco 1859
San Francisco 1915
Seattle 1890
Washington DC 1851
Washington DC 1861

Canada 1815
Montreal 1758
Montreal 1815
Quebec 1759
Quebec 1815

Mexico 1809
Mexico City 1883

West Indies:
Cuba 1775
Martinique 1775
St. Vincent 1775
St. Lucia 1775

South America:
South America 1787

Argentina 1867
Buenos Aires 1892

Brazil 1842
Colombia 1840

Peru 1865
Lima, Peru 1865

Europe 1787

United Kingdom:
England and Wales 1790
Scotland 1790
London Environs 1832
London 1843

Ireland 1790

France 1750
France 1790
Paris 1716
Paris 1834

Rhein-Province 1846
Oldenburg 1851
Der Harz 1852
Nassau 1851
Wurtemberg 1856
Hanover 1851
Sachsen 1860
Sachsen North 1852
Hessen 1844
Brandenburg 1846
Prussia 1847
Pommern 1845
Schleswig 1852
Possen 1844
Bayern 1860
Berlin 1860

Scandanavia 1794
Switzerland 1799

Spain 1701
Madrid 1831

Portugal 1780

Italy 1800
Rome 1830
Ancient Rome 1830

Ancient Greece 1708

Russia 1706
Russia 1776
Russia 1794
Moscow 1745
Moscow 1836
St. Petersburg 1753

Asia 1710
Asia 1787

Japan 1694
Japan 1891
Kyoto 1709
Osaka 1806
Tokyo 1680
Tokyo 1799
Tokyo 1858
Tokyo 1892

China 1801
China 1875
Beijing 1930

India 1804
North India 1794
Bengal 1800
Calcutta 1858

East Indies 1801

Middle East:
Middle East 1861
Egypt Palestine 1818
Palestine 1861
Palestine 1922
Arabia 1843
Asia Minor 1922
Persia 1922

Africa 1787
Congo 1708
West Africa 1789
Northwest Africa 1842
South Africa 1842

Egypt Nile Delta 1818
Egypt Mid Nile 1818
Egypt Upper Nile 1818

Australia and Pacific:
Australia 1842
Australia Southeast 1844
Maritime Australia 1840
Western Australia 1843

New Zealand 1843


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