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Google Maps Gallery: Interactive digital atlas

Google just keeps coming up with more cool stuff. And for all you map nerds, and history teachers, their new Maps Gallery is just the ticket.

Maps Gallery works like an interactive, digital atlas that lets you search for and find powerful, compelling maps. It’s much like the Gallery of tours you can find via the Google Earth tool. One of the biggest differences is that the Google Maps Gallery contains maps created by a variety of organizations, both public and private, and so you can find all sorts of maps, many mostly inaccessible to the public before now.

The collection is full of historical maps placed over modern Google Maps, giving users a glimpse of Tokyo in 1860, the United States during the Civil War, and biblical landmarks in the Middle East.

I really like the transparency slider that provides perspective on where in today’s modern American West Lewis and Clark traveled or watch San Francisco grow in size. And an entire lesson is waiting for someone to create using the Earth at Night 2012 map centered on Korea.

korea at night

So . . . it’s okay, map nerds. Bookmark the site, share it with your kids, and be sure to have fun.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lisa #

    Cool! This reminds me of

    March 1, 2014
    • glennw #


      Whoa! Awesome. I have not seen this before! Next blog post with you getting all the credit.



      March 4, 2014
      • Lisa #

        It’s one of my favorites. I keep hoping that they will add a search feature so that you can look for photos related to specific events. For now, you have to look through photos of specific places.

        ex: Here is what I found when I typed in “Omaha Beach, France” into the search box:!/ll/49.2971572875977,-0.301752001047134/id/4702/info/sv/zoom/11/
        If you slide the fade button, you can move from 1945 to the present. It’s absolutely uncanny and makes a big impression on students.

        How cool is that?!! Thanks! Lisa

        March 4, 2014
      • glennw #

        It is very cool! I’m loving this. The problem, of course, is that now I got sucked away from Italy and am exploring Normandy. Another hour that I won’t get back.

        Thanks again!

        Do you have a specific way you use it? I’d share it on the post I just finished on the site. (if you do, let me know what/where you teach.)


        March 4, 2014
      • Lisa Scott #

        Hi, Glenn. In all honesty, I don’t personally use things like this in the classroom because I don’t have one of my own anymore. However, sometimes I get to see what other teachers do with the things I find.

        I mentor 1st year secondary Social Studies teachers for our school system and often search for materials when my mentees need them. (That’s the beauty of not having your own classroom–you actually have the time to search for stuff because you’re not mired in planning, grading papers, collecting data…) So, two years ago I ran across this site while searching for WWII materials and got sucked in for a couple of hours.

        The end result being an email to our 9th grade US History teachers with links to pages of WWII photos. By the way, if you follow the link that accompanies this photo:!/ll/49.2971572875977,-0.301752001047134/id/4702/info/sv/zoom/11/ you end up here: Imagine what you could do with that!

        Thanks for posting about What Was There. It’s nice to know that sharing a personal favorite may provide lesson fodder for the many people who follow your site. Your posts have certainly provided resources for many of our teachers, as I have re-posted links on our own conference site many times.

        Thanks! Lisa

        Lisa Cunningham-Scott Secondary Social Studies Mentor

        Howard County Public School System 10910 Route 108 Ellicott City, MD 21042 (410) 313-6622


        March 4, 2014
      • glennw #


        For some reason, this comment ended up in the spam area. Just ran across it as I was cleaning out that folder. Thanks for sharing the June 6 site – some awesome primary sources there! Wow.

        I also shared WhatWasThere at a tech conference last Thursday and wowed everyone with the Normandy photos. Your personal favorite is becoming a favorite of even more people. Thanks again!


        March 9, 2014
  2. Reblogged this on Petros Jordan and commented:
    Per the History Tech blog, full post below, Google is now offering a Maps Gallery featuring hundreds of highly informative maps submitted by government agencies or private organizations. The maps are overload on top of Google Maps, allowing one to digitally explore how historical areas in the map correlate to the present day. For example, you can view a map of Washington, DC, from 1851, when the National Mall just had the Washington Monument and one Smithsonian building, and then toggle to present day DC to see how the Mall has filled up with more buildings and monuments. Pretty cool!

    March 2, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. WhatWasThere: Old pics and new maps | History Tech
  2. Google Maps updates mobile app. It’s a sign your world is changing | History Tech

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