Help us place our digitised maps
Are you interested in local history and old maps? Would you like to explore historic places across the globe? If so, you can help the British Library. You can quickly create an overlay of historic maps on current mapping and compare the past with the present.
Nearly 2800 more maps require identification of their locations! Bear in mind that some places have changed significantly, presenting historical puzzles and highlighting how our landscape has changed – and stayed the same.
Your name will be credited, and your efforts will significantly improve public access to these collections. Contributors will see the results of their work immediately, with the top contributor publicly announced.
Here's how it works...See a video explanation of how to use BL Georeferencer
- By clicking the buttons above, you will be taken to the georeferencer tool, where the historic map will appear on the left, with a modern map on the right.
- Zoom into the old map enough to read it, and then find the corresponding location on the modern map. Use the gazetteer at the top if necessary. Click on the “This map” tab to access the map's title and a description.
- Click on one map to assign a point, then assign a point at the same location on the other map.
- Assign as many points as you can over the entire map, being sure to extend as far to the edges as possible.
- Clip the map (for further information on clipping, see a video demonstration).
- Click the red “Save” button in the upper right when you are finished. The map appears “overlaid” upon modern mapping. Detailed instructions can be downloaded here (PDF format).
If you wish to choose your own map, go to the Online Gallery to search. Two collections are available: British + Irish towns: fire insurance plans and military maps: World War I maps from the Maps of Europe and US Civil War maps.
For questions about the project, or to ensure that you are notified when more maps become available for georeferencing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.