Thursday, April 23, 2015

Creating Stories from Historical Maps


The NYPL Map Library and the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection provide a great resource for any developers who wish to use historical map layers in their online maps. Last month I created a story map using a historical map and images from the NYPL Digital Collections.

My Gangs of New York story map recounts the famous battle between members of the Dead Rabbits gang and the Bowery Boys in the Five Points district of Lower Manhattan in the mid-Nineteenth Century. The map was created using Leaflet.js, waypoints.js and a historical map and images from the NYPL.

If you want to create your own story map using a vintage map layer then it is probably easier to use one of the existing story map templates, such as Esri's Story Maps or CartoDB's Odyssey.js. Combine either of these story map templates with vintage map layers from the NYPL or David Rumsey and you have a powerful tool to explore and explain historical events.

Stacey Maples has provided a very interesting tutorial, Cartodb/Odyssey.js Tutorial for Making Story Maps, which provides a step-by-step guide explaining how you can create a story map using Odyssey.js with an historical map layer from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

The tutorial takes you through how Stacey created a history map exploring the modern history of tattooing in San Francisco. Before following the tutorial have a look at the finished Tattoo Map of San Francisco.

If Stacey's tutorial inspires you to make your own historical story map then you might want to check out Vintage Maps of San Francisco, which is a little collection of some of the georectified historical map layers of San Francisco available in the David Rumsey collection. The NYC Time Machine provides a similar collection of georectified vintage maps of New York, from the NYPL Map Warper project & the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.
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