Sunday, June 28, 2020

An Easy Way to Overlay Historical Maps on Google Earth

Last fall I published a video about how to find historical maps and overlay them on Google Earth. That method works for any historical map that you have the rights to re-use whether because it's in the public domain or because of Creative Commons licensing. There is another method that you can use. That method is built into the Rumsey Historical Maps layer in Google Earth.

In Google Earth Pro (the free desktop version of Google Earth) you will find the Rumsey Historical Maps collection listed in the gallery of layers on the left hand side of your screen. When you turn on that layer you'll see map icons appear all over the map. Zoom-in and click on those icons to view the historical maps and see them layered over current Google Earth imagery. Watch my short video below to see how this process works.

Applications for Education
Layering historical maps over current imagery is one of my favorite uses of Google Earth. Doing this gives students a better view and understanding of how the geography of a city or a geographic area has changed over time.