Monday, November 23, 2015

The 3D Historical Map of New York


Old School New York is an historical 3D map of a few blocks of Lower East Side in New York City. The building footprint data for this map comes from the New York Public Library's Building Inspector API. The NYPL's Building Inspector tool is being used to extract, correct and analyze data from historical maps of New York.

The building footprints from this crowd-sourced effort are available from the API. The building footprints on this Old School New York map come from sheet numbers 174, 176, 177, 178 and 179.

The building footprints from the NYPL's Building Inspector API are returned in the GeoJSON format. This means it is a simple task to add the footprints to OSM Buidings. However the building footprint data from Building Inspector does not have any height data attached. Therefore for this map I made all the buildings 12 meters high. This is a wild guess on my part and almost definitely inaccurate.

In order to make the map I used Webkid's brilliant tutorial, Interactive 3D Maps With OSMBuildings. I also stole most of his code.

In summary - this 3D map has inaccurate building heights. The date for the map is also unknown. However, these major quibbles aside, I think the map does demonstrate how the NYPL's Building Inspector data can be used to make 3D maps of New York from the library's historical maps.
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