Monday, April 30, 2007

Maps for research and documentation.

Several folks asked about finding cemetery locations, old homesteads, etc. this week. There are a number of very good mapping websites available at no cost. Here are some of my favorites:

Topozone -- If you are familiar with USGS or topographic maps, you'll love this site

ACME Mapper -- You can easily find the longitude and latitude of a location using ACME ... also note that you can view aerial photos of the area with both a Google maps overlay or with DOQ and NEXTRAD which are aerial photos used by many other mapping sites. ACME also has topo maps available with one click. Unfortunately, you can't search by cemetery name or feature name, but rather by town / city names, but once in the area, you can switch to a topo or street map and usually find the cemetery. Take a few minutes and search for a home or location that you know out of the area. You'll soon be an expert user of ACME.

USGS -- This site is more difficult to use for mapping (surprise - it is 'The' government mapping site)... but you can search for Lat /Long values by Feature Name.... So, if you want to know where the 'Dolittle' cemetery is in Kentucky, search for it as a feature...

National Geographic-- You expect a lot from National Geographic and you get it on this site. Not only can you find the location in question, but if it is in the U.S., you can chose various other themes by pushing a button and see congressional districts, earthquake faults, vegetation types, etc. You need to be patient when you first go to the site... It takes quite a while to load, but it is worth it..

Google Maps -- You are probably a user of this site already, but just in case.... Enjoy!

Multimap -- This site is especially useful for Europe and locations outside the U.S., although it also displays U.S. maps..

Tiger Maps -- This site is owned by the U. S. Census Bureau. It is also a little slow loading, but if you spend a little time working on it and learn the rich feature set, you'll be very happy that it is in your research quiver.

UK Street Map-- If you have ancestral ties in England and Scotland, look at this site first. When you search, push the radio button called "GB Place" and then type in a place name. As an example, if I want to find my ancestral Featherstone Castle, the search is that simple.... Just type in its name...

Terra Server -- more aerial photos

Yahoo Maps and MapQuest ... the old standby's

ZABA- here's a bonus link not related to Maps... This site is spooky in its ability to find living folks... Use the free search features unless you really want to find out about someone and are willing to pay for the results...