Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Vintage Maps in 3D

Yesterday Mapbox released version 2 of the Mapbox GL JS mapping library. Among the new features included in version 2 is the ability to view the world's terrain in 3D. One consequence of this is that we can now overlay vintage / historical maps on top of a 3D terrain. 

I've set up a little demo map which shows an 1833 map of Vesuvius draped over the terrain of Mount Vesuvius in Italy. Vintage Mapper allows you to view the map "Vesuvius Showing the Direction of the Streams of Lava in the Eruptions from 1631 AD. to 1831 A.D." on top of a 3D map of the volcano. This vintage map was taken from the David Rumsey Map Collection.

86 Mount Fuji, Japan. The David Rumsey Map Collection

I've published my Vintage Mapper demo on Glitch so if you want to clone the map then you can do so on its Glitch page. All you have to do to adapt the map is add a new vintage map layer and change the Vintage Mapper's starting latitude and longitude. If you click on the 'Georeference' button on a vintage map in the David Rumsey Map Collection you can grab the URL for that map's map tiles. Once the map opens in the Georeferencer you need to sign-in and then click on the 'This Map' link. Then you need to click on the 'Get links' button to copy the URL for the map tiles.

If you open up Vintage Mapper on its Glitch page you will see that I have commented the code to show where the vintage map tiles URL should go. Just delete the URL for the Vesuvius map and paste in your own URL. All you need to do then is to change the latitude and longitude to center the map on your new vintage map tiles.

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