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After 165 years things are bound to change, even in the Village. Maps are a great way to see that change, and fortunately The New York Public Library has one of the world's great map collections. Here's a map of lower Manhattan when Edgar Allen Poe roamed the Village:Map of the city of New-York / drawn by D.H. Burr, for "New York as it is, in 1846"., Digital ID 434947, New York Public LibraryFor fun, compare it to my Google map:

For a nice stroll around the Village, visit the locations of each of Poe's homes. I suggest that you start at Waverly and Sixth, go down to W. 3rd Street, over to Carmine and end up at James J. Walker Park where there is just one stone monument left from when this area was St. John's Burial Ground. Poe would wander among the tombstones for a little R & R, but you can play bocce instead, and, of course, stop by and visit us.

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This is great, John! You

This is great, John! You might be interested to know that the NYPL Digital Experience Group is actually working with the Maps Division as we speak on a new mapping tool that will allow you to make these sorts of comparisons <em>directly</em>, that is by literally layering the two maps together through a process called "goerectification." Essentially, you select several "ground control points" — places on the historical map for which you have some sort of contemporary data (i.e. Waverly and Sixth, which is in the same place today as it was in 1846). We then add latitude/longitude data and repeat the whole process with several more locations on the map. Now the computer has what it needs to reorient the historic map to overlay the contemporary one. Suddenly the old map is no longer just a visual artifact, but a usable, interactive object which we can navigate, label, annotate and connect to other resources. Imagine! We're building this tool not in Google Maps but in an open source equivalent called <a href="http://openlayers.org/">Open Layers</a>. Stay tuned for more news this summer!

Sounds very cool!

Sounds very cool!

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