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David Rumsey Internet GIS Service expands with addition of 18th and 19th century Boston

Interactively visualizing Boston, MA, from the mid-1700s to the late 1800s, is the latest addition to the David Rumsey Internet GIS Service (https://www.davidrumsey.com/gis), a revolutionary web browser-based mapping and visualization service that combines centuries-old maps with contemporary geospatial data. Boston is the second city made available through this freely accessible Internet GIS Service that provides display and analysis capabilities to support a series of GIS and image visualization processes.

First launched with historical and contemporary maps of San Francisco Bay, CA, the service now includes 18 different historical maps of Boston’s downtown and metro-area, dating from 1776 to 1897. Modern data include true and false color infrared Landsat satellite imagery, shaded relief data, digital orthophotos and a statewide mosaic of 7.5′ quads from the state of Massachusetts, plus detailed streets, lakes and parks data from StreetMap (ESRI, Inc., Redlands, CA).

“The addition of the Boston data set extends the Internet GIS service’s geographic coverage, and further demonstrates the importance of historical maps to our understanding of history and the geographical changes that have taken place across time,” said David Rumsey, president of Cartography Associates.

One of the older maps in the collection, Thomas Jefferys’ pre-revolutionary work titled “The Provinces of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire,” shows a plan for the “town of Boston” dated to 1776. Another, “Plan of Boston,” published in 1835 by Boston publisher George G. Smith, is a rare wall map of the city created during a time of rapid change. A very decorative map, F. G. Sidney’s 1852 “Map of the City and Vicinity of Boston” includes inset views of Faneuil Hall and the State House mounted on linen and bordered by green silk.

Rumsey’s Internet GIS service, part of the award-winning David Rumsey Historical Map collection, an Internet site featuring over 6,500 high-resolution digital images from one of the largest private map collections in the U. S., will soon include 3-D flythroughs and historical maps of Washington, D.C., New York City, NY, Los Angeles, CA Chicago, IL, and ultimately, regions, states and continents.