Friday, May 14, 2021

Sydney's Historic Estate Maps

Subplot is a new and experimental interactive map which allows you to find and view vintage estate maps owned by the State Library of New South Wales in Australia. Estate maps, also known as subdivision plans, were created by estate agents to promote and advertise new subdivisions and land for sale in Sydney and New South Wales. The library owns around 40,000 of these subdivision plans, dating from 1860 through to the 1930's. 

The library's estate maps provide a fascinating insight into the development of Sydney's suburbs & regional areas, how properties were valued, and how land was subdivided. The Subplot map presents the library's vintage subdivision plans overlaid on top of a modern map of New South Wales. The map includes a timeline feature which allows you to see when the estate maps were printed. This timeline also allows you to use Subplot to search the plans by both location and by date. 

If you click on one of the vintage subdivision plans you can apparently view the plan in its own maximum resolution zoomable interface. However for some reason clicking on individual subdivision maps didn't achieve anything for me when I was exploring the map. I suspect this is mainly because my aging laptop struggles with displaying WebGL content. 

You can learn more about how Subplot utilizes WebGL, turf.js and DeckGL on this Making Sub Plot article by DX Lab.

(keep an eye out for the 3D models of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House on the Subplot map)

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