Check Out These 38,000 Old Maps

May 3, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

Ooh, maps, magical old maps. They whisk us away to far off lands, to times of adventure and mystery, when there were no satellites or planes and we weren’t all a bunch of jaded google-it-alls. They’re also just really cool looking.

The Digital Public Library of America just hit the jackpot, acquiring over 38,000 antiquated maps and other historical documents from map collector extraordinaire David Rumsey. He’s been collecting rare maps for over three decades, and after finally digitizing all the relevant metadata, he made them available to the public today. Possibly the best part is the interactive element — the maps can be used to accompany or contextualize other documents from the DPLA archives.

“By bringing them together, I think we’re also in a sense making those collections much more usable,” DPLA director Dan Cohen said. “[Now, people] won’t have to go to hundreds or thousands of websites to find this amazing, unique scanned content from America’s heritage and, indeed, from the world’s.”