Friday, July 17, 2015

The Historical Maps of Helsinki

There are a number of websites which allow you to explore large collections of vintage maps from around the world. However I'm still fond of the smaller dedicated websites which concentrate on providing access to vintage maps of a single city or town. Historical Helsinki is a great example of a vintage map collection of one specific location.

Historical Helsinki may only have a few vintage maps for you to explore but the site is very well designed. The map interface includes a transparency tool which allows you to make a direct comparison between the vintage maps on show and the modern day (OpenStreetMap) map of Helsinki.

I particularly like the little introduction to each vintage map in the map sidebar. This introduction not only gives a little historical context to each maps' creation but also points out some of the interesting detail contained in each map.

Helsinki Ennen is another collection of beautiful historical maps of the Finnish capital. This one also contains a number of geo-tagged vintage photographs of the city as well.

A time-line runs along the bottom of the map. Select a decade from the time-line and you can view vintage photographs of Helsinki from that decade overlaid on a map dating from the same era. Many of the photographs are also displayed side-by-side with the same view as it is seen today, using Google Maps Street View. This allows you to see how the city changed over the course of the Twentieth Century.

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