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Old Maps Online

For any newbies out there, I love a good map. I buy maps. I like the smell of old maps. I especially like using technology with maps.

And I think that as social studies teachers we sometimes forget the power of maps. We have “too much to cover” and “don’t have time for geography.” But we do our students a disservice when we ignore the fascination and appeal of maps.

Miles Harvey, author of The Island of Lost Maps, understands what a good map can do:

Sometimes a map speaks in terms of physical geography, but just as often it muses on the jagged terrain of the heart, the distant vistas of memory or the fantastic landscape of dreams.

A recent addition to the interwebs is right up my alley.

Called Old Maps Online, it lets you search for online digital historical maps across numerous different collections via a geographical search. Search by typing a place-name or by clicking in the map window, and narrow by date. The search results provide a direct link to the map image on the website of the host institution.

The difference between Old Maps Online and other online map sites is that OMO is a portal, not a collection. It basically uses a Google Map interface and a slider timeline feature to help you narrow down time and place – it then uses its access to the online collections of five institutions to give you a set of maps from which to choose.

Pretty sweet.

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