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Interactive Historical Map Viewer

The Interactive Historical Map Viewer (http://maps.usm.edu/historic/) lets you experience the University of Southern Mississippi’s Maps Digital Collection in a whole new way. Born from a partnership between Southern Miss’ Special Collections and Geography department, the web application gives users the ability to see historical maps in a modern geographic environment.

The viewer contains a selection of historical maps from the Map Collection that have been georeferenced and layered over a current basemap. The transparency of the historical map can be manipulated to compare the two layers. The viewer includes information relating to the title, description and format for each historical map which is displayed alongside the selection. The result is a tool that offers a unique way to visualize differences between past and modern mapped landscapes.

Perhaps one of the most noticeable differences between historical and contemporary maps is the change in cartographic aesthetic. The contemporary, minimalistic approach to geographic representation is a stark contrast to the detailed and intricately illustrated maps of the past.

Currently, twelve maps are included in the viewer with represented areas including Mississippi, Louisiana, the eastern United States, and Central and South America. The original images and metadata can be found in the Maps Digital Collection at http://digilib.usm.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/maps.

If you have questions about the web viewer, please contact Nicole Lawrence at nicole.lawrence@usm.edu or 601.266.6864.

Text by Nicole Lawrence, Mississippi Digital Library Specialist