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Remote Map Research at NYPL: Play Games

Access to Collections and Services

Crowdsourcing Tools to Build Map Databases

Supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 2015, the New York Public Library and its partners developed gamified tools to add geographic context to NYPL collections.

Surveyor and OldNYC

 One "game" allows users to add a specific location to the places depicted in historical NYC photographs in the NYPL’s Digital Collections. Once these photographs are geocoded they can be searched on a map base at OldNYC. You can contribute to this effort of geocoding photographs of NYC by “playing” Surveyor.

Image from OldNYC, the map-based online discovery tool for NYC photographs in NYPL's Digital Collections

Building Inspector and the Map Warper

Another crowdsourced mapping “game” is Building Inspector, where among other tasks, you can help by transcribing historical information like addresses from old fire insurance maps of NYC. In addition, you can align historical maps with today’s map through a process called georectification (or georeferencing) with the Map Warper. All of these projects are opportunities for you to contribute your skills and knowledge to enhance the NYPL's map image database for all researchers.

Image for the landing page of the crowdsourcing tool, Building Inspector

Online Research Consultations

Map Division librarians and curators are available via email to answer research-specific questions and provide research consultations.