Monday, November 22, 2021

Viewing Vintage Maps in 3D

Palestine 3D allows you to explore 150 vintage maps overlaid on top of modern day elevation data. The maps date from the 1940's and were downloaded from Palestine Open Maps, which allows you to browse and search a detailed set of historic maps of Palestine dating from the period of the British Mandate of Palestine.

The Palestine 3D interactive map allows you to view historical maps of Palestine side-by-side with modern satellite imagery of Palestine. The map includes a height multiplier control which allows you to exaggerate the underlying elevation data to give you a clearer (although exaggerated) idea of the terrain. 

Palestine 3D uses to overlay the vintage maps on top of the modern elevation data. You can explore (& fork) the code on the Palestine 3D GitHub page. 

You can also use Mapbox GL to overlay vintage / historical maps on top of a 3D terrain. Last year I created 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.

I've published my Vintage Mapper demo on Glitch. 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. When the selected map opens in Georeferencer you need to sign-in and then click on the 'This Map' link. You can then 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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