Historic Maps of N.C. Now Available Online

More than 3,200 historic maps of North Carolina are now available online as part of the digital North Carolina Maps project.

Visitors to the site can see the results of a three-year collaborative project to identify and scan nearly every original map of the state published from 1584 to 1923. The collection also contains maps of every N.C. county and maps published by the state through the year 2000.

The North Carolina Collection of UNC Libraries collaborated to produce the new site with the N.C. State Archives and the Outer Banks History Center in Manteo. UNC Libraries and the state archives scanned the maps, and the library hosts and administers the site.

“We’ve heard from K-12 teachers, students, university faculty and genealogists, all of whom are big fans of the project,” said Nick Graham, project manager and coordinator of the N.C. Digital Heritage Center, based at UNC Libraries. “It’s clear this is reaching a wide audience.”

Highlights of the new site include:

  • a 1584 map of the Southeast from the Outer Banks History Center – the oldest map in the online collection;
  • color maps documenting 116 towns in 67 counties show streets and even individual buildings, permitting a detailed look at local history and development over time; and
  • Coast and Geodetic Survey maps from the 19th and 20th centuries, showing detailed surveys of the state’s ever-changing coastline.

North Carolina Maps also contains an interactive option allowing users to lay selected historic maps over current street maps and satellite images. Another feature combines historic maps from the project with a Google Earth 3-D tour.

North Carolina Maps was underwritten by a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, given under provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act and distributed through the State Library of North Carolina.

More online…

  • The Library Makes House Calls: “On View” department feature from the March/April 2010 issue of the Carolina Alumni Review, available online to Carolina Alumni members.

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