Friday, December 9, 2011

Pastmapper - Google Maps for San Francisco, Circa 1853

Meet me at Grant and Columbus? (Via Pastmapper)
As a modern Urban Explorer, I use Google Maps all the time - mostly to get from point A to point B asfast as possible - but also to look for business reviews, geo-tagged pictures, or get an idea of what my destination looks like using street view. As a history nerd, I also love browsing David Rumsey's high-quality digital scans of vintage maps and photos to see San Francisco, like a 1938 aerial photo of my neighborhood, or the 1915 version of those tourist maps you get on Fisherman's Wharf. So I was delighted to hear about Brad Thompson's new project: Pastmapper, which uses US Coast Survey maps and other resources from the David Rumsey Map Collection to create a multi-layered Google map that depicts San Francisco in 1853! No Columbus Ave, Grant Street is known by its second of three names (Dupont), and Mission Street turns into plank toll road! The project is far from finished, but will be an amazing resource when it is.

"Today’s release represents a very small part of Pastmapper’s potential. Imagine being able to look back in time at your neighborhood, to see how businesses and landmarks developed. Your local cafe might have been a saloon, or a speakeasy, or a soda fountain – or all three, at different points in time"

To see the fully interactive map, go here. See also Curbed, Mission Mission, and Burrito Justice.

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