Monday, January 04, 2016

Thenmap - The Historical Map Data API

The problem with all these beautiful vintage maps styles that everyone has been creating lately is that while the maps look old school the actual map data is brand spanking new. That's why I created this 1865 Vintage Map of the USA showing the actual state borders from 1865. Now that's real old school.

Actually ignore my 1865 map. What I really want to talk about is a great new repository for historical map borders, called Thenmap. Thenmap is an API and JavaScript library that allows you to create maps with historical map borders.

The Thenmap API currently has map data for:
  • World borders from 1945 
  • Swedish municipalities from 1974 
  • Swedish counties from 1968 
  • Finnish municipalities from 2011 
  • US states from 1865 
  • Municipalities of Greenland from 1979
Using the API you can download historical map borders in a number of formats, including TopoJSON and GeoJSON.

To create my 1865 map of the USA I simply used the API to grab the GeoJSON data for US States in 1865. I then imported the data into Mapbox Studio and styled the map using part of Mapbox's Vintage map style.

A really great mapping project would be to create a timeline map showing the development of US States through history. Thenmap has all the data if you want to make that map!

No comments: