Maps and views blog

Cartographic perspectives from our Map Librarians

07 August 2014

Success - maps 100% georeferenced

In just 28 days from release, 3,220 maps have been geo-located online by participants in the BL Georeferencer project.  For this quantity of maps to be completed at such a speed is truly impressive, and testifies to much scrutiny of maps and online research by many people.

Flickr - Charleston2

On behalf of the British Library, I'd like to thank the volunteers that contributed their time and energy over the last four weeks to make this happen (the top 25 are recognised here).  Our two star participants, Maurice Nicholson and Susan Major, have once again shone; both assigned approximately 12,500 control points. Their commitment to this project, for this release and those before, has been remarkable, as has the work of many, many other contributors!

The maps have started to be added to Wikimedia Commons in their own British Library Georeferencer subset, thanks to the efforts of Wikipedia's user Jheald and others, providing another point of access in addition to the original Flickr British Library maps subset. Both contain links to the overlays in BL Georeferencer; the geospatial metadata (world files) are available from within the application. Together, this enables full and free download and use of these public domain images and metadata.

We have come a long way since our very first release of maps via BL Georeferencer in February 2012. One year ago, we could boast "only" 2,236 maps georeferenced maps online; since then 6,000 more have been added. As soon as the public can identify and tag another substantial chunk of maps from amongst the images in Flickr (here) or Wikimedia (here), we'll follow this up with more!

In the meantime, check out the placed maps here, where they can be accessed geographically, until they are reviewed by our expert panel for quality, and then added to the Old Maps Online portal with other collections of online historic maps.