Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Historic Map Works Switches to Digital

By Dick Eastman

Charles Carpenter Sr., owner of Historic Map Works, says the company has now digitized millions of maps, atlases and images that previously took up too much space in the company's old location. The project cost $5 million and took five years to complete. The company is hoping to capitalize on the rising interest of genealogy, a multi-billion dollar industry.

Now that Historic Map Works has digitized its entire collection and holds the licenses to those products, Carpenter says the firm is ready to increase paid website subscriptions and will soon launch a Facebook application that will incorporate its search engine, Historic Earth. Carpenter expects both to be available by the end of this year.

The company has more than 2 million images of documents, fine prints, maps and other records online and more than 226,000 images that are geocoded, which means a user can drag an older map of a city or town over a current map to see how various communities have evolved over time. "We have the largest digital collection and online collection in the world," he says. In a room adjacent to Carpenter's office five servers run 240 to 250 terabytes of data, he says. A terabyte is equal to 1,024 gigabytes.

The Historic Earth application, launched last year, allows users to enter a location by city or town in the United States and a few other countries and learn about its evolution from the early 1400s to 2002. The company's website has 15,000 to 20,000 registered users and sees 2,000 site visits per day.

For more information: Click Here.

To visit Historic Map Works: Click Here.

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