Tag Archives: Maps

How the New York Public Library digitizes its vast map collection

“While much of the city’s mapping community is focused on creating something new, a great deal of energy also goes into recovering maps that are quite old. The New York Public Library, the spiritual heart of the city’s mapmaking community, is gradually putting online its vast collection of 435,000 maps. This past January, it received a $380,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to digitize using a software program it calls “Building Inspector.” The project involves more than 1,000 volunteers manually inputting information contained on old maps that computers can’t easily handle, such as street addresses and building footprints. It’s arduous work—only 33,000 of the library’s maps have been digitized—but so far the volunteer army has completed 1.2 million tasks and helps the library to bring old maps online much faster than it could otherwise.” (via Crains)

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UN, Wikimedia New York deliver open, free world maps on GIS Day

“For thousands of years, humans have used maps to define, understand and navigate the world in which we live. From cave drawings to star maps to geospatial navigation, maps have been an ever-improving tool for people everywhere. In today’s increasingly connected world, maps play a critical role in areas like humanitarian response to disasters, understanding the spread of disease, and much more. Like any information resource, however, maps vary in terms of accuracy and accessibility. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) believes that accurate, reliable, and easy-to-understand maps should be available to everyone. That is why they’ve partnered with Wikimedia New York City and ReliefWeb to release a collection of more than 200 freely licensed “country-location” maps that are available on Wikimedia Commons and on the ReliefWeb site. In addition, many maps are also featured on Wikipedia country pages.” (via Wikimedia blog)

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The power of librarians

Marcel Fortin is a man in demand. Fortin, the geographic information systems (GIS) and map librarian at Robarts Map and Data Library, is a master at mapping spatial data, the geographic dimension of information. The popularity of this discipline has skyrocketed during the last 10 years, especially with the advent of Google Maps and Google Earth, he says. “Spatial data means thinking about things in relation to geography. People often haven’t done that before,” says Fortin. “It’s applying spatial patterns to stories and research.”

If you want to see where the 10 best hamburger joints in Toronto are, for example, a map gives you a better understanding than a list. Ditto for the epicentres of the world’s 10 most recent earthquakes or the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada.” (via UToronto)

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Open Access Maps at NYPL

“The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division is very proud to announce the release of more than 20,000 cartographic works as high resolution downloads. We believe these maps have no known US copyright restrictions.* To the extent that some jurisdictions grant NYPL an additional copyright in the digital reproductions of these maps, NYPL is distributing these images under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. The maps can be viewed through the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections page, and downloaded (!), through the Map Warper” (via The New York Public Library)

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New York City’s Turbulent Past Comes to Life in Maps

“Matt Knutzen has a job that any map geek would envy, and a title to match. As the geospatial librarian for the New York Public Library, he oversees one of the largest map collections in the world. The library has 433,000 sheet maps and 20,000 atlases and books on cartography. The oldest maps in the collection date back to the 15th century. Knutzen and his colleagues at NYPL have some very innovative ideas about how to make the library’s map collection more accessible, more interactive, and more relevant in the digital age. I met some of these folks when I visited the library a few weeks ago, and I’ll write more about what they’re doing in a future post.” (via Wired)

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Rarely Seen Maps From San Francisco’s Quirkiest Hidden Library

“Have you ever gone to a place you’ve always wanted to visit and found out it was even more awesome than you thought it would be? That’s how I felt last week when we visited the Prelinger Library, an eclectic collection run by Megan and Rick Prelinger (the folks in the photo below). I spent the rest of the day kicking myself for not getting there earlier, and a fair bit of the next day planning my return. The library shares a building with a carpet store and a dance studio in a slightly ragged patch of San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. There’s no sign, but if you know what you’re looking for, you step inside the lobby and press a button on the intercom to be admitted. It’s like a speakeasy of maps.” (via Wired)

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New Census Bureau Interactive Map Shows Languages Spoken in America

“The U.S. Census Bureau today released an interactive, online map pinpointing the wide array of languages spoken in homes across the nation, along with a detailed report on rates of English proficiency and the growing number of speakers of other languages. The 2011 Language Mapper shows where people speaking specific languages other than English live, with dots representing how many people speak each of 15 different languages. For each language, the mapper shows the concentration of those who report that they speak English less than “very well,” a measure of English proficiency. The tool uses data collected through the American Community Survey from 2007 to 2011.” (via U.S. Census Bureau)

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Princeton Alumnus Henry Wendt and wife Holly donate historic world map collection to Princeton University Library

“An extraordinary collection of world maps, dating from 1472 to 1700, has found a permanent home in the Historic Maps Collection of the Princeton University Library. Collected by Henry Wendt, Class of 1955, and his wife, Holly, the thirty items have been traveling around the country for the past three years as an exhibition, “Envisioning the World: The First Printed Maps, 1472-1700.” Firestone Library’s Leonard L. Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts hosted the show in early 2010.” (via Princeton University)

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“The Digital Data Backbone for the Study of Historical Places”: An Interview with Matt Knutzen of the New York Public Library

“The South By Southwest 2013 conference is coming up quickly and we’re getting excited for the numerous library/archive and museum activities that will be happening (look for an update on this year’s activities soon). One thing we know is happening is the panel we’re moderating on Why Digital Maps Can Reboot Cultural History.  Matthew A. Knutzen, the Geospatial Librarian in the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division at the New York Public Library, will be part of the panel and we couldn’t be happier. In this installment of our Insights interview series, we’re excited to chat with Matt about the work of the Map Division and their innovative approach to developing and utilizing digital geospatial tools and technologies.”

via The Signal: Digital Preservation.

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Watch worldwide book sales, live

LA Times – “The Book Depository is a British-based online bookseller that ships to countries around the world, for free. To bring that point home, it has built a map that shows who bought what, where, just now. The window of the map moves to reach the most recent purchase, zooming back and forth from Germany to Singapore to the United States to Australia to Norway. In each location, the title pops up. It’s hypnotic.”

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