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New York Public Library Releases Over 20,000 Hi-Res Maps

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the everyone-loves-maps dept.

Media 25

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Finally, you don't have to raise your voice over a group of whisperers in the New York Public Library to get a better view of its map collection. Actually, you don't even need to visit the place at all. Over 20,000 maps and cartographic works from the NYPL's Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division have been uploaded and made downloadable for the public.

'We believe these maps have no known U.S. copyright restrictions,' explains a blog post announcing the wholesale release of the library's map collection. 'It means you can have the maps, all of them if you want, for free, in high resolution. We've scanned them to enable their use in the broadest possible ways by the largest number of people.' The NYPL is distributing the maps under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, which means you can do whatever you want with the maps."

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25 comments

These are excellent maps (2, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 4 months ago | (#46626709)

I've already used some of them to locate Pokemon in my new job as a Pokemon collector.

And thus starts the lamest day of the year (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46626747)

I'm going offline for 24 hours to let the barrage of poor jokes wash over. This is April Fools, isn't it?

Re:And thus starts the lamest day of the year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46626857)

FTFA:
Open Access Maps at NYPL
by Matt Knutzen, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Map Division
March 28, 2014

I think March 28th is a little early to be releasing April Fools jokes.

Re:And thus starts the lamest day of the year (1)

Yaur (1069446) | about 4 months ago | (#46626925)

Doesn't look like it. Looks like a bunch of historical NYC area maps that were previously only available from commercial resellers. Nice to see this sort of thing being made easily available even if it does only have a niche relevance.

Re:And thus starts the lamest day of the year (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46627247)

Doesn't look like it. Looks like a bunch of historical NYC area maps that were previously only available from commercial resellers. Nice to see this sort of thing being made easily available even if it does only have a niche relevance.

Do they show dragons at the end of the world?

Re:And thus starts the lamest day of the year (1)

William Baric (256345) | about 4 months ago | (#46628297)

We are now so used to the concept of "intellectual property" that when we see something we might find interesting without someone trying to use it as a source of free income, we immediately think it's an April fools' day joke.

Our world is very, very sad.

Arriving on the Wikimedia Commons in 3..2..1... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46626865)

... 20,000 maps under the sea [wikimedia.org] .

These copyrights (1)

eyepeepackets (33477) | about 4 months ago | (#46626923)

'We believe these maps have no known U.S. copyright restrictions,'

And here is the thing that will be our ruin. Knowledge is derivative and to lock it up with such restrictions is to dam the river of knowledge. Such incredible foolishness.

Re:These copyrights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46628001)

Copyright doesn't prevent knowledge.

Re:These copyrights (1)

ausrob (864993) | about 4 months ago | (#46628695)

Not outright, but in many cases it might as well be. When you can't reproduce a map in a text book or online without paying (in some cases a hefty royalty payment), then the knowledge contained in the map (or anything else) isn't spread to others since the copyrighted work isn't distributed freely. By way of an example? People trying to make text books for art classes - to individually license reproductions of some of the finest works of art in history - is economically unviable. The textbooks would have to be sold for thousands of dollars.

Information wants to be owned!! (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 4 months ago | (#46626987)

Don't these commies see that information is only valuable if you lock it away and charge people to use it? How can something be precious if everybody can get to it?

The horror, the horror. (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about 4 months ago | (#46627693)

I feel your pain.

University of Texas another good source (2)

Dahan (130247) | about 4 months ago | (#46627385)

The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection [utexas.edu] at the University of Texas at Austin is another good source for map scans; most are in the public domain. According to their FAQ, out of the ~250,000 maps they have, 54,751 are scanned and online.

Awesome (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46627553)

This represents a lot of work and historical information, and the decision to make high quality scans freely avaiable makes them a resource for the ages.

Bravo!

Suitable as wall art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46627713)

Anyone see any high-resolution old maps that are suitable for wall art?

At a print size of several feet?

Re:Suitable as wall art? (1)

jason8 (917879) | about 4 months ago | (#46627991)

I downloaded a map of the section of Manhattan where I live, and it's a massive .png file -- 73MB, about 12000x8000, and looks very frameable.

Torrent of the whole thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46628035)

Torrent of the whole thing?

See also (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46628983)

www.oldmapsonline.org/

Is an online graphical index of various 'free' map collections - uses a google maps frontend. Anyone with any Scottish interest should check the awesome National Library of Scotland collection http://maps.nls.uk/ - there are many others providing historic map imagary online, mostly but not all public and state archives and libraries. David Rumsey has published a collection with worldwide scope http://www.davidrumsey.com

It's easy to forget that there much of the world is not made up of 'money grubbing scum' - however they are generally the ones who pay for the adverts..

Finally some GOOD NEWS regarding intellectual prop (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629099)

PUBLIC LIBRARIES are an institution that benefits society overall by enhancing its citizens. People sharing knowledge, ideas, or information is a responsibility of the human race . This will always serve humanity beyond all of the royalties of copyright law. Nobody can really claim exclusive ownership of ideas that are shared and built upon the souls that precede us. Frankly, lobbyists in Washington have accomplished less for most Americans than the New York Public Library has accomplished in this one principled act of public policy Carnegie and Rockefeller and other barons of industry may have started these institutions because they understood that a rich culture is as valuable a resource to society as all the oil and steel.

Re:Finally some GOOD NEWS regarding intellectual p (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 4 months ago | (#46629121)

I like them Big Apples.

Derivative Work (2)

Luthair (847766) | about 4 months ago | (#46630083)

Scans of maps are quite blatantly a derivative work I don't see how NYPL feels they have a right to assign any license to them, if the copyrights have expired then they're already public domain.

Hi-Res Not Free! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630205)

Big whoopdy doo!?? SO what if low-res scans are available when it costs at least $50 for anything you can actually read the legend/key on!

salomen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630663)

mesothelioma lawsuit [mesothelio...awsuit.net]

Don't get too excited (1)

Leon Malinofsky (2916259) | about 4 months ago | (#46631171)

Hi-res versions of the maps are fifty dollars each. No kidding. I thought we could trust our libraries at least not to gouge too much...
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