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Remote Map Research at NYPL: Read About and Make Maps

Access to Collections and Services

NYPL Blog Posts

Available on all different subjects, these essays and guides “illuminat[e] collections and services at The New York Public Library.” You can pull up those on particular subjects or from particular divisions of the Library. 

See:  Image of the beginning of an NYPL blog post regarding pre-1900 maps of the United States

Blog Posts from the Map Division

Blog Posts by Subject: Maps, Atlases, Cartography

Blog Posts by Subject: Geography

Digitized Research Books

The Library, in partnership with Google, has digitized more than 400,000 books from its historic collection. These books published before 1925 are in the public domain and can be found here in Google Books. Additional public domain books digitized from NYPL and other research library collections can be found at HathiTrust.  Among these, find books about mapping and the history of cartography, cartobibliographies, and gazetteers to locate places on old maps.  For example:

The History of the Survey of Ireland, by Thomas Aiskew Larcom

Les Anciens Plans de Paris, by Alfred Franklin

Image of the title page of the book, Les Anciens Plan de Paris, which is available remotely via HathiTrust

Image of a page from the book, Les Anciens Plans de Paris, showing part of a map of Paris from 1615 by Mathieu Merian, available remotely via HathiTrust















Courtesy of HathiTrust. Franklin, Alfred. Les Anciens Plans de Paris. Paris : Léon Willem, 1878-1880.

In addition, NYPL has developed Digital Research Books, an early beta test of a new project that collects digital versions of research books from many different sources — including Open Access publications — into one convenient place to search. There are multiple digital versions available for many books (from various editions and sources or in multiple formats), and Digital Research Books makes it easier to understand the differences between them.

E-Books and E-Audiobooks

Among the more than 300,000 e-books and e-audiobooks available for free “borrowing” at NYPL, there are some about maps. Here are a few examples:

The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology, by Simon Winchester

Cover image for the e-book, The Map That Changed the World, which is available for "borrowing"

Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America, by Susan Schulten

Cover image from Susan Schulten's book, Mapping the Nation, illustrated with a 19th century map of the United States

Never Lost Again: The Google Mapping Revolution that Sparked New Industries and Augmented Our Reality, by Bill Kilday (an e-audiobook, also available as an e-book)

Find accessible e-book offerings in the catalog by refining your search with “Format” E-BOOK or E-AUDIOBOOK.  Learn about downloading e-reader apps to your device at E-Book Central.

Online Research Consultations

Map Division librarians and curators are available via email to answer research-specific questions.  One can also make an appointment for a virtual consultation.

Online Research Databases to Find Full-Text Articles, Scholarly Books, Encyclopedic Information, and Mapping Tools

Explore NYPL’s Articles & Databases page. You can limit your search to “available at home with library card.” Or, look for this icon Icon that looks like a small house and designates NYPL's subscription databases that are accessible from home with an NYPL library card and PIN identifying databases that are accessible remotely with a valid NYPL card and PIN.  There are hundreds of resources available from home. To focus on those dealing specifically with maps, go to the “Subjects” dropdown menu, scroll down to “Social Sciences - Geography,” and select “Maps, Atlases, Cartography.” Among the key resources are:

The National Geographic Virtual Library includes, among other things, browsable and searchable issues of the National Geographic Magazine and images of the map supplements published over more than 100 years.


Cover of May 1911 National Geographic Magazine, showing that it includes a map supplement for Mexcio   A topographical map of Mexico, map supplement to National Geographic Magazine of May 1911















Courtesy of HathiTrust.  The National Geographic Magazine, May 1911.

Courtesy of The Library of Congress. Bartholomew, J.G. The National Geographic Magazine Map of Mexico. [Washington : National Geographic Society, 1911]


A freely accessible database (not requiring a library card) that indexes specifically cartographic literature is Bibliographia Cartographica.


It’s always worthwhile to remember that there’s a lot of map-related research and information within the general databases that the Library subscribes to.  You might say that the indexing and full-text of news, general-interest, and scholarly articles and books of the subscription databases that are fairly broad in their subject coverage have buried treasure as far as maps and cartography are concerned. Discovery of cross-disciplinary articles is part of the trove; take, for example, finding a citation to the article, “Progress and Challenges in Infectious Disease Cartography,” in the journal Trends in Parasitology in Academic Search Premier. This database also includes content from such subject-specific journals as Cartographica and Cartographic Perspectives

So, along with Academic Search Premier, here are some key general resources:

Cover image of the book, Map Worlds : A History of Women in Cartography

Project MUSE articles and books from certain university presses are being made freely available during this time (no library card required).  For example:

Trading Paths: Mapping Chickasaw History in the Eighteenth Century, by Wendy St. Jean, in The American Indian Quarterly from the University of Nebraska Press

Though not all of the Project MUSE offerings are freely accessible, with your library card you can view and download university press studies such as this:

 Map Worlds: A History of Women in Cartography, by Will C. van den Hoonaard

In addition, during the time we are temporarily closed, additional critical resources (usually available only onsite at the Library) are available from home with an NYPL card and PIN.  Among them are:

JSTOR provides discovery and full-text for one of the premier journals in the history of cartography, Imago Mundi.


Make Maps

For the creation of maps with demographic, business, and marketing data, NYPL provides remote access for those with library cards to: 

Icon that looks like a small house and designates NYPL's subscription databases that are accessible from home with an NYPL library card and PIN  SimplyAnalytics.