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New York Public Library Releases Over 20,000 Hi-Res Maps 25

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the everyone-loves-maps dept.
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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New York Public Library Releases Over 20,000 Hi-Res Maps

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

  • by Anonymous Coward

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

    • by Yaur (1069446)
      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.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        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?

    • 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.

  • '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.

  • 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?
  • by Dahan (130247) <khym@azeotrope.org> on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:46PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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!

  • See also (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @07:50AM (#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.

  • by Luthair (847766) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @10:21AM (#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 versions of the maps are fifty dollars each. No kidding. I thought we could trust our libraries at least not to gouge too much...

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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