20,000 Free Maps of the World

Thursday August 30, 2018 Written by Naomi

You might have a map of the world readily available on your smartphone, but the digital version never quite compares with old-school cartography. Thankfully the New York Public Library has made over 20,000 cartographic works available online as a series of free, high-res downloads.

Thanks to some serious scanning by the Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division of the Library, a whopping 10,000 historical maps of New York City have been uploaded, along with a couple of other places, should your need for maps of NYC somehow hit a cap. (The Austro-Hungarian empire gets a look-in, for example.)

The treats don’t stop there. The team also dabble in a digital enhancement technology known as “georectification”, or warping (pictured, bottom). This process sees the digital versions of the maps placed onto photos of places they represent – melding the past and present.